BENAZIR BHUTTO’S 19-year-old son Bilawal will be thrust into a dangerous spotlight today as Pakistan’s most powerful political dynasty prepares to pass the baton to the next generation.
Bilawal, a first-year undergraduate at Oxford University, is the heir to a blood-soaked legacy. He lost his mother to an assassin on Thursday; his uncles both died in suspicious circumstances; and his grandfather, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was hanged in 1979 after being deposed from power.
Last night Britain’s foreign office confirmed that Benazir Bhutto met David Miliband, the foreign secretary, shortly before she returned to Pakistan from exile in October and warned him of a plot against her life. Bhutto and Miliband had spoken regularly on the telephone since that meeting and her concerns about her safety were passed on to the Pakistani authorities.
At 3pm today Pakistan time Bilawal will read out his dead mother’s political testament to leaders of the Pakistan People’s party (PPP), which his grandfather founded and the family has always controlled.
“They have to show his face to reassure the party that there will be another Bhutto leader in the future,” a diplomat said.