View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Monday, June 9, 2008

Benazir Bhutto’s Daughter Carries on Mother’s Work

Bakhtawar Bhutto, 17, who goes to school in Dubai, has been made head of the Pakistan Peoples party’s (PPP) women’s wing. In her first television interview since her mother was killed last December, she pledged to carry on Benazir’s work.

Bakhtawar promised to play a prominent role in the campaign for women’s equality and said that she had not ruled out a career in politics.

“I definitely want to help people in Pakistan. I want to continue my mom’s mission in any way I can, whether it’s politics or something else - I haven’t decided yet,” she said.

She and her sister Asifa, 14, were last seen in public mourning at the flower-bedecked graveside of their mother after she was killed by a suicide bomber two weeks before an election that she had been widely expected to win.

Bakhtawar, said: “I am proud to think people see me as a role model. I’m a very confident speaker and I hope all women can do what they want.

“I was given the opportunity. I was privileged, as you know. I was born into the family that I am in, where everything I could have was my right. Everything was equal between me and my brother and there was no discrimination between the sexes.”

Her 19-year-old brother Bilawal, an Oxford undergraduate, was appointed co-chairman of the PPP along with Bhutto’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari, within days of the assassination and is widely seen as a future leader of the party.

Nevertheless, the appointment of Bakhtawar, which was combined with the announcement that her younger sister would lead the party's youth movement, led to speculation that she, rather than her brother, might be the next star of the Bhutto dynasty. Bakhtawar's public reminder that she is Bilawal's equal has also raised memories of the bitter sibling rivalry that divided the Bhuttos after the death of Benazir's father.

Sources: The Post (Pakistan), 9 June 2008; Times Online, 8 June 2008.

Dr. Geoff Pound

Image: “Bakhtawar (right) and her sister Asifa, 14, were last seen publicly in mourning at the flower-bedecked graveside of their mother.” 28 December 2007.

Benazir Bhutto’s biography, Daughters of the East, is reviewed on Reviewing Books and Movies.

Martin Luther King Jnr. and His Influence on Benazir Bhutto, Stories for Speakers and Writers.

Benazir Bhutto on Bitterness, SFSAW.

Benazir Bhutto on Destiny, SFSAW.