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Last Updated: Monday, 31 December 2007, 12:10 GMT
Readers react to Bhutto succession
The 19-year-old son of Benazir Bhutto has been installed as co-chairman of her political party (PPP).

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will leave day-to-day control of the party in the hands of his father Asif Ali Zardari until he completes his studies.

Here, readers share their views on the decision to cement the influence of the Bhutto dynasty over Pakistan's largest political party.

AILA HAMEED, 27, MARKETING EXECUTIVE, ISLAMABAD

Aila Hameed
Aila Hameed believes anointing Benazir's son as successor is ridiculous

I think it's all quite ridiculous. He's just a kid. I am not politically inclined but I believe we need to sort out the basic problems in this country. This seems to make a mockery of it all.

At the press conference where his succession was declared, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari looked as if he had been told exactly what to say.

He cited his mother saying that "democracy is the best revenge". How can he say that after he has been appointed leader of this party? It's supposed to be the Pakistan People's Party, not the Bhutto party. It's not particularly democratic, is it?

He knows he is inexperienced and so the party has been left in the hands of his father, Asif Zardari - a man accused of all sorts of terrible things. I feel very uneasy about the future. Bilawal is not up to the task. Even if he does take control, he is going to be dictated to by his father and other party members. It is a family affair. I do not trust any of them.

Islamabad used to be a very nice city when I was growing up. We felt secure but now this country is deteriorating day by day. Life is so uncertain now. It is sad that Benazir Bhutto was killed but so many people die every day.

This is the country that 19-year-old has to understand.

BASMA KHAN, 20, LAHORE, STUDENT

Basma Khan
Basma Khan thinks Bilawal Bhutto has made a brave decision

I am full of admiration for Bilawal Bhutto. It is easy to criticise but think about his position. What does he gain from this?

He has just lost his mother and he is putting his life, career, everything at stake by accepting this task. This is not for personal glory, but for keeping the struggle of the Pakistan People's Party alive.

He could have stepped away to lead a luxurious life but he followed the path of his mother, a path of struggle and hardship.

He is the hope for Pakistan and just what is needed: a fresh beginning to a tragic end. I think it's really courageous.

I believe he has been completely unselfish. He has seen that his family has lost so many lives and yet he has chosen this difficult path.

In Pakistan, people go after the Bhutto name. If a Bhutto personality is in the party, its fortunes are transformed. He is really young now. But in a few years he will be a very good candidate.

We need democracy, we need to rid ourselves of military rule. I have been so disheartened by our current government. Politics needs a fresh face, somebody new who hasn't been charged with corruption.

Bilawal is this person.

SHAH KHAN BAIGAL, 22, STUDENT, RAWALPINDI

Shah Khan Baigal
Shah Khan Baigal believes Bilawal is far too inexperienced to lead his party

I am from the northern areas of Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto's father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, did a lot for us in his time. Our country will never find leaders like him again.

My father is in the army, fighting terrorists in the troubled tribal areas in the Wana district. We are all concerned about him. Such are the problems Pakistan faces. A party such as the PPP needs an experienced leader.

Our good thoughts are with Bilawal but as a politician he is not able to take any position of national leadership. Politics should not be inherited. Bilawal is a student just like me but he cannot decide on national issues. Pakistan is an atomic power - it cannot be ruled by a boy.

I understand that the reality of politics in this country is about inheritance. It is a feudal system.

But there is also the point that he has not spent much of his life in Pakistan. We respect the family - they have made a lot of sacrifices for this country. But Bilawal could not possibly understand such a complex place as Pakistan.

The situation is not much better if the party is left in the hands of his father. He is not considered an honest person in Pakistani society. He has been charged with corruption many times, and has spent many years in jail. He is not trusted. We worry about the fate of the party in his hands.

Right now we are all grieving for Muhtarma Bhutto, but in the future, there will be serious questions about the PPP leadership.

AIJAZ SHAIKH, 33, BANKER, LARKANA/KARACHI

Aijaz Ahmed Shaikh
Aijaz Ahmed Shaikh supports the leadership of Bilawal Bhutto

I am from Larkana, the same city as the Bhutto dynasty. And I support the perpetuation of the Bhutto dynasty. A leader such as Benazir Bhutto will always leave a gap which cannot be filled by any other person.

That family has sacrificed four members of their family for the country and for democracy. So the nomination for a new chairman from within the family does no harm in my view.

Bilawal is still very young and it will be difficult to lead the party. That is why I hope that party colleagues such as Amin Fahim will help guide his hand. But his father, Asif Ali Zardari, should keep a low profile bearing in mind his previous corruption allegations.

We must remember that despite his inexperience, people do not vote for the party so much as for the Bhutto name. People constantly talk about the Bhutto legacy. That legacy will have to continue and when you consider that, Bilawal is the most suitable candidate.

At this moment in time, I believe they have made the right choice.



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