Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari wound up a fraught visit to Britain on Friday, winning little by way of British pledges and compelled by fury at home to cancel the launch of his son’s political career.
Zardari was a relieved man after holding an hour’s talks with Prime Minister David Cameron at his residence.
Arriving under the shadow of floods at home and Cameron’s criticism of Pakistan’s “dual role” in the war against terror, Zardari was under intense pressure to turn back.
At the end of the official leg of the visit, the two leaders pulled bilateral elations back from the brink, agreeing to annual summit-level talks and visits to Pakistan by the British home minister, followed by Cameron.
But, in a gesture aimed at mollifying critics, plans for Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to appear alongside his father at a rally in Birmingham on Saturday were suddenly withdrawn on Friday. Instead, said Bilawal, 21, he will stay back in London to open a donation point for flood victims.
“As for my future plans, I intend to continue my education both academic and political,” said Bilawal, who recently graduated from Oxford University and is chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party.
Meanwhile, advisor to the Sindh Chief Minister, Sharmilla Faruqui, said that Benazir Bhutto’s daughter Bakhtawar will enter “practical politics.”