|Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, born 21 September 1988 is the Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party. He is the only son of President Asif Ali Zardari and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
Early life and education
Bilawal Ali Zardari was born on 21 September 1988. He is the son of Asif Ali Zardari and Benazir Bhutto. He was three months old when his mother first became Prime Minister.
Bilawal was admitted in the prestigious Aitichison College Lahore, but due to some security problems he could not continue. Instead he went to Karachi Grammar School during his mother’s second term in office as Prime Minister. He also attended Froebel’s International School in Islamabad. He left Pakistan with his mother in April 1999. His father was in jail in Pakistan from 1996 to 2004 for corruption.
He spent his childhood in Dubai and London during his family’s self-exile. He later attended Rashid School For Boys in Dubai, where he was Vice President of the student council. He has a black belt in Taekwondo but regrets he could not play cricket because of his family circumstances.
Bilawal matriculated at Christ Church, a constituent college of the University of Oxford, in mid-2007, to study modern history, studying British history before transitioning to general history. Benazir also enrolled him in the Oxford Union debating society. In December 2007, he returned to Pakistan after Benazir was assassinated. He also returned to Pakistan in September 2008 to witness his father sworn in as President of Pakistan. Bilawal completed his studies in June 2010.
Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party
After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Benazir’s political will declared Asif Ali Zardari as Benazir’s successor for party leadership. However, Bilawal became Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party because Zardari favoured Bilawal to represent Bhutto’s legacy in part to avoid division within the party due to Zardari’s own unpopularity. Zardari planned to act as co-chairman of the PPP for at least three years until Bilawal completed his studies overseas.
Bilawal was appointed chairman of the PPP on 30 December 2007. Asif Zardari also announced Bilawal’s name change from “Bilawal Zardari” to “Bilawal Bhutto Zardari”. At that time he was still studying at Oxford. It had been estimated that Bilawal’s security at Oxford may cost at least one million pounds each year.
In 2011 Bilawal returned to Pakistan and became more prominent in politics, notably when his father went for medical care to Dubai in December 2011.
Tumandar of Zardari Baloch tribe
In 2011 it was announced that Bilawal would be the next Tumandar (Chief) of the Zardari tribe of Baloch as his father Asif Ali Zardari passed on the title to Bilawal rather than becoming the Tribal Chief himself after the death of his father Hakim Ali Zardari. A formal ceremony would be held later.
Bilawal has two younger sisters — Bakhtawar and Asifa. His name means “one without equal”. His first language is English, and cannot speak Urdu, the national language of his country.