Bilawal refuses to return on Benazir anniversary

  • PTI, Lahore
  • Updated: Dec 27, 2014 19:28 IST

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stayed away from Pakistan as his mother and former premier Benazir's death anniversary was observed on Saturday across the country, giving credence to reports that he is having serious differences with his father Asif Ali Zardari.

Although Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Zardari had gone to London to persuade his 'angry' son to return home so that he could attend the anniversary event in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh on Saturday but he did not succeed.

There has been no word from Bilawal about his skipping the anniversary. For the first time since Benazir Bhutto's assassination in 2007, her son preferred to stay out of the country on his mother's death anniversary.

Although the PPP has cited "security concerns" but Bilawal's absence has led to widespread speculation about his differences with his father over party affairs.

"Asif Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto had developed differences over the party's affairs. Bilawal appointed Jehangir Badar and Bashir Riaz as his political adviser and press secretary without consulting Zardari," a PPP leader said.

Although Zardari did not oppose the choice, he told his son that he would be given a free hand to run the party affairs only after he was fully groomed, the leader said.

Zardari had told a group of PPP leaders that the party's relations with the Karachi-based Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had soured because of Bilawal's "indiscreet statements" and that he had advised him to keep himself away from politics for the time being.

Benazir was assassinated in Rawalpindi when she was returning after attending a rally.

Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud had claimed responsibility for her assassination.

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