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Charismatic Aseefa on her way to the top

ISLAMABAD: Charismatic Aseefa Bhutto Zardari is set to ease her way into practical politics which may see her lead the Pakistan Peoples Party one day. The youngest daughter of former premier Benazir Bhutto made a soft entry by casting her first vote in Tando Allahyar in the second phase of Local Governments elections.

Her father Asif Ali Zardari, a former President and co-Chairman of the PPP, has always encouraged her to engage more in the politics. Last month, her older sister Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari was named the party’s social media chief to assist her brother Bilawal Bhutto Zardari –the party chairman. Bakhtawar’s appointment marked the third generation of Bhutto women to join the party’s leadership. Her grandmother Nusrat Bhutto led the PPP after the execution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and her martyred mother Benazir Bhutto was leader from November 1982 to December 2007.

There is plenty of support for Bilawal and Bakhtawar in the PPP but Aseefa enjoys more charisma like her late mother and grandfather Zulfikar Ai Bhutto. ‘Voted,’ she tweeted after casting the ballot for the first time. “@AseefaBZ casts the 1st vote of her life,” said Bakhtawar who accompanied her to Tando Allahyar.

Unlike her elder brother and younger sister, Bakhtawar has not been too enthusiastic about participating in practical politics but PPP workers believe it is her destiny as the heir of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari. Aseefa was born on February 2, 1993 and will attain the age of 25 – mandatory to contest polls – before the 2018 general elections. There are strong signals from the PPP that all the three children of Benazir Bhutto will contest the next national elections.

The young daughter of Benazir Bhutto is famous among the young generation of Pakistan and among the lovers of the PPP. She is completing her education from Dubai and is the ambassador of UNICEF for the treatment of polio in Pakistan. She is famously the first Pakistani baby to be vaccinated against polio after her mother launched a major immunisation drive in 1994 and has since become a national ambassador for the campaign.

A close aide claim Zardari was eager to see Aseefa as the leader of PPP in future and has not been shy to express this desire. A few months earlier, the former President said Aseefa would take part in active politics in next few years. PPP leaders suggest Zardari wanted all his children to take part in politics and co-lead the party while he remains the mentor. When Zardari was the President, between 2008 and 2013, Aseefa was regularly invited to join functions at the President’s House or at the Prime Minister’s House.

Analysts wonder whether she might have more campaigning fire in her belly than her brother Bilawal – roundly criticised for staying away during 2013 general elections – and whether she might ultimately emerge as the keeper of the Bhutto political flame. Zardari himself believes Aseefa has the guts to lead the PPP and carry on her mother’s mission in the years to come. PPP leaders told The Nation, the rise of Aseefa will not mean the fall of Bilawal. “They will lead together as a team,” a party stalwart said. Another PPP leader said most diehard workers see Benazir Bhutto in Aseefa and wanted her to take the top seat.

The Nation