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PPP rules out father-son rifts

PPP rules out father-son rifts

Bailwal rushes to Dubai; Zardari also in Dubai to woo him

Nazir Siyal

Karachi: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Friday quashed the rumours of differences between the party’s top brass and father-son duo — Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari — after the former foreign minister left for Dubai.

The development came after Zardari’s interview, wherein he called Bilawal “inexperienced”, “not fully trained” in politics, and would “take time” getting up to speed — fuelling rumours of rifts between them — as Bilawal had been asking old politicians to rest and allow the new generation to take the lead.

In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, PPP Central Secretary Information Faisal Karim Kundi said the party chairman’s visit to Dubai, an emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was pre-planned.

“Chairman PPP @BBhuttoZardari has left for Dubai yesterday afternoon according to his schedule after KP visit,” Kundi noted, after media outlets reported that he had left the country “all of a sudden”.

“Rumours regarding differences between Chairman PPP &  Zardari is baseless,” he added.

While talking to journalists moments after his statement, Murad Ali Shah — former Sindh chief minister and a top PPP leader — also said that the visit was routine.

Talking to media, PPP Information Secretary Shazia Atta Marri said that Bilawal has left for Dubai on a “private visit” and noted that he routinely visits the Gulf nation. “There’s no specific reason for this visit.”

She also added that Bilawal was scheduled to leave for Dubai after completing his Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) election tour.

“Bilawal will return to Pakistan on November 30 and address the party’s Foundation Day event,” she clarified.

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman wondered why news channels were panicking, calling his visit “exactly as scheduled”.

There seems to be a difference in the narratives between the two top leaders in the run-up to the polls as Bilawal believes there could be interference in the general elections, while Zardari said he sees transparent polls.

Bilawal has been campaigning across the country and touting his party as the solution to Pakistan’s ills, while also asking “old politicians” to sit back and allow the new generation to lead from the front in the elections slated to take place on February 8 next year.

In his speech in the National Assembly in August, Bilawal had also asked his father and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif to ensure that politics for the next generation was easier, stressing that they shouldn’t suffer the same fate as their elders.

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