Zardari in London to placate Bilawal

Zardari in London to placate Bilawal

Former President and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari is in London to persuade his "angry" son Bilawal to return to Pakistan to attend events marking the 7th death anniversary of his mother Benazir Bhutto on December 27.

Bilawal left for London a week before the party's foundation day event in Lahore on November 30 after reported differences with his father over the control of party affairs.
It would be the first time in the last seven years if Bilawal does not attend his mother's death anniversary in Pakistan.

Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007 on her way back from a rally in Laiqat Bagh Rawalpindi, some 300 kilometres from Lahore.

Tahreek-i-Taliban Pakistan commander Baitullah Mehsud had claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

"Knowing the fact that it will be very embarrassing for the party if Bilawal Bhutto, the PPP chairman, does not come back and attend the main event in Ghari Khuda Bakhsh, Mr Zardari has rushed to London to persuade him," party sources said.

"Zardari has to meet his son in person after he refused to return to attend Benazir's death anniversary in Pakistan. Hopefully Zardari will placate his concerns and manage to bring him back," they said.

Zardari told a group of PPP leaders in Lahore early this month that the party's relations with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) soured because of Bilawal's "indiscreet statements" and that he has advised his son to temporarily keep himself away from politics.

The differences between the father and the son had reportedly cropped up over the control of party affairs as Bilawal wanted a freehand to run the party but Zardari was keen to groom him before handing over the party's control.

Bilawal's political adviser Jehangir Badr did not confirm his participation in Benazir Bhutto's death anniversary.

"Bilawal sahib is in London and hopefully he will attend the main event of BB's death anniversary in Ghari Khuda Bakhsh where she is buried," Badr told PTI.

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