Some things take time
Finally the PPP leadership clarifies Bilawal’s situation. For the time being, at least, it seems Zardari sb will remain solely in charge, and the soonest Bilawal can add value to the party can be around election time. The official line is that he is undergoing training abroad, most likely in politics, which of course doesn’t put the earlier decision to catapult him to the top in very good light. It seems he ruffled a feather too many when given the go-ahead to speak his mind. And among other things, the arrangement with ‘Uncle Altaf’ and his party came under too much strain to keep Karachi in order.
To understand Zardari’s situation properly, though, it is important to understand the situation around the time Bilawal was pushed to the top. PTI and PAT’s dharna and march had the government by the throat. Even some in government worried about a sudden collapse. PPP had just been routed, especially in Punjab. While the party favoured government and democracy, it too worried about the aftermath of a fall. And in case push came to shove, the party seemingly gambled on promoting Bilawal ahead of time, to reinvigorate a beaten party especially in Punjab. It’s a different story, of course, that the young chairman developed views of his own, and some of them did not sit too well with a number of prominent political realities.
However the Bilawal card played out, the PPP is still embroiled in much of the same problems, if not more. It’s still struggling in Punjab, with little or no sign of coming back on track anytime soon. And now there’s also disagreement around Zardari. The Yemen debate was telling. That the chairman took one position and party leaders were passionate about the contrary spoke volumes. The leadership’s options, therefore, are limited. And how Zardari plans to turn things around will test his political acumen to the maximum. For the time, though, it seems there’s some time before young Bilawal can help him with such problems.