File photo: Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari, right, waves while arriving at the Palam Airfield with his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, left, in New Delhi, India. AFP
Differences between President Asif Ali Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari have surfaced in the media with a report by PTI claiming that Bilawal has left the country after a tiff over how the party is being run.
This PTI report was aired extensively and commented upon by various media outlets on Tuesday as Pakistani news channels speculated that there may be some truth in this report.
On Monday, the ruling Pakistan People's Party had issued a statement that their chairperson, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, would be addressing many public rallies by telephone for security reasons. A party spokesman said that Bilawal Bhutto faced serious security threats. But on Tuesday, a story by the Press Trust of India suggested that Bilawal Bhutto's absence may have to do with differences with his father, Asif Zardari, and his aunt, Faryal Talpur, and less to do with security.
Later that day, the news was contradicted by the secretary general of the party, Latif Khosa, who said that there was no truth in the report. He confirmed that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had gone to Dubai but that he would be back "in the near future" to spearhead the election campaign of the party.
Party watchers say that Bilawal Bhutto has indeed left for Dubai in a huff and is upset with the way his decisions are being ignored by his aunt, Faryal Talpur, who holds considerable power within the party. Talpur is Zardari's sister and has been managing party affairs at his behest.