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Zardari meets Bilawal in Dubai


Islamabad:  Pakistan’s former president and co-chairman of opposition PPP Asif Ali Zardari has met with his estranged son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in Dubai to end misunderstandings between the two, party officials said today.

Zardari met his son yesterday and a picture of the meeting was also released to media by Pakistan People’s Party.

Bilawal, who became the Chairman of the PPP through a written will of his slain mother and two time premier Benazir Bhutto, left Pakistan last year and settled in London after his father refused to hand over to him full control of the party.

Since last month Bilawal’s sister Bakhtawar has been spotted with Zardari at important occasions, giving air to speculation that the son might be superseded in the war of succession in the typical South Asian dynastic politics.

According to a senior PPP leader, Zardari is trying to mend the fences with his son and trying to convince him to concentrate on studies for a couple of years before rejoining the politics.

Zardari had earlier said that Bilawal needs political training before he can play a major role in politics.

The PPP has tried to play down the reports of rift between the father and his only son but according to the party leader there is no secret about the differences.

“Bilawal wants control over party affairs as he does not want to be a mere rubber stamp chairman,” he said.

Another party leader said that there are also differences between Bilawal and his aunt Faryal Talpur (Zardari’s sister) who controls most of party affairs and also is effectively running the government of PPP in Sindh province.

PPP thrives on the brand name of Bhutto clan due to charismatic leadership of its founding chairman Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who was hanged by military dictator Ziaul Haq in 1979.

The Bhuttos have tragic history as both sons of Zulfiqar were killed in mysterious circumstances after his hanging and his daughter Benazir, the first ever prime minister of a Muslim country, was also killed in a bomb attack in 2007.

Benazir’s widower Zardari is from a different clan but skillfully managed to establish the grip over the party promoting his career in the shadow of his children whom he renamed and added ‘Bhutto’ with their name after death of his wife.

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