Asifa Bhutto Zardari’s “Jeay Bhutto ”


Naveed Aman Khan

IN Multan notable PDM appearance confidently waving hands, strongly chanting party slogans and making gorgeous victory signs the youngest daughter of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto truly reminded people of her firebrand mother. The concise content of her speech was as important as her aura, which generated the same feel and energy as her mother. At this stage, Asifa Bhutto Zardari’s launch in politics is almost by chance because she was filling in for her Bhutto charisma brother, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who was quarantined because of Coronavirus ailment and could not lead his party in a pre-planned opposition rally. In her maiden political appearance in Punjab charismatic Asifa Bhutto Zardari made victory sign for the welcoming masses. Asifa resembles her mother in physical appearance and political charisma. She has also inherited qualities from both of her maternal grandparents. Chanting of slogan “Jeyey Bhutto” reminded us of her dynamic mother Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Lastly, before her assassination Benazir Bhutto voiced “Jeyey Bhutto” in Liaqat Bagh, Rawalpindi. During Asifa’s appearance in Multan she was flanked by former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani, Faryal Talpur, Maryam Nawaz, Chaudhry Manzoor and Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman who kept standing next to her. Her historic appearance in PDM notable procession will remain memorable. Circumstances have always catapulted key members of the Bhutto family in the churn of the political mainstream in Pakistan. Benazir, Bilawal and now Asifa found the life of politics choosing them, instead of the other way around.
Worst circumstances forced Benazir Bhutto to join politics when her Prime Minister father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was ousted in an unjustified military coup, jailed and executed. She came out to lead the PPP, which her father founded, and became the first female head of government of a Muslim-majority nation. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, his mother’s political heir, was prematurely thrusted on the political stage when Benazir was assassinated in 2007. Bakhtawar and Asifa, mostly stayed on the sidelines, only delving into political commentary on social media. Asifa, who has a master’s degree in ‘Global Health’ from University College London, established herself as a health activist and became United Nation’s Ambassador for polio-eradication while Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari has always shown little interest in pursuing life as a politician. In her childhood, when Asifa wanted to change her school, she would make placards with slogans on them and display them around the house. Asifa’s political debut is continuation of PPP’s dynastic politics. Undoubtedly, Bhuttos are unmatched phenomenal dynasty of Pakistan. Their charisma speaks. People’s Party has this strong rhetoric. The young Bhuttos have the political legacy of Benazir Bhutto and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Bilawal and Asifa will have to focus on the governance of PPP to improve conditions of the Sindh province where it has been ruling for the last more than twelve consecutive years, otherwise they will risk losing the next elections. Now, their political goal should be to save the deserted masses of Sindh province. The civic conditions in Sindh alone are miserable. The innocent Sindhis need food, clean drinking water, health facilities, earning opportunities and security. Life in interior Sindh is quite inhuman. Thar especially is the worst hit region. What to talk about civic conditions of interior Sindh: Larkana the home city of Bhutto titter the truth. Continuity of PPP regime in Sindh onward to 2023 election will only base on the satisfactory performance of Bhuttos.
The opposition, a conglomerate of multiple opposition parties that have joined hands against the government under the umbrella of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), at a time when the government of PTI is struggling. Pakistan is facing gigantic problems on national and international fronts. Both the government and the opposition need to join hands and forget their petty hatchets for the sake of the country and the nation. “PTI government thinks we are scared of getting arrested. They are mistaken. If they arrest our brothers, remember, every woman in the Pakistan People’s Party is ready for battle,” Asifa Bhutto has outclassed the PTI government in her debut speech. Asifa Bhutto Zardari has triggered the accumulated memories of the Bhutto family in a very powerful way. Her presence at party rallies will surely become a necessity if the party wants to harness a kind of forgotten energy that she generates. Pakistan People’s Party has been fortunate to have magnificent towering leadership since its founding day. The party leadership believes in strong democracy and it can’t sustain without sustainability of poor masses. Besides PDM struggle to justify “Jeyey Bhutto” slogan ahead both Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Asifa Bhutto Zardari will have to pull up the socks to address the miseries of Sindhis otherwise mere chanting strong slogan like “Jeay Bhutto” may not keep them in government any longer. If not addressed the miseries of the masses now the PPP rule in Sindh may remain mere a dream in future. Worst level of governance has given way to PTI as alternative ruling party. “Jeay Bhutto” is very popular and strong political slogan to chant but illiteracy and hunger are stronger and bitter realities.
—The writer is book ambassador, columnist, political analyst and author of several books based in Islamabad.