Vespa Pajero

I saw this stage drama when I was a kid where Umer Sharif cracked a joke about buying a “Vespa Pajero”. I found the joke very funny, but it makes a lot more sense now with the advent of “Bilawal Bhutto”.

I see more of Benazir in Imran Khan than I do in Bilawal. Zardari Junior does have an uncanny resemblance to his mother but as far as charisma and popularity go, Khan is closer to Bibi than her own son.

I will always remember the evening of 27th December, 2007. I was en route to a corner meeting after attending a Jalsa when I got a call from my mother saying Benazir has been shot. A few moments later I was told that Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated. Despite my reservations with regard to Bibi’s politics and policies, I was depressed at her death. I was contesting the election against Pakistan People’s Party, but my grief was no less than the PPP candidate. Same was the case with several of her political opponents. It’s not that Benazir Bhutto’s regimes were not marred by incompetence and corruption, but her charismatic personality, eloquence, bravery and courage made her stand out in our leader deficient nation. She just couldn’t let the safety of her person come between her and the people.

Although Bilawal is being told to act like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, he is neither. He can scream at the top of his voice but his actions would still be louder. I do not want to comment on his accent or pitch, these are irrelevant. But the celebrated fact that Bilawal wrote his own speech for the 18th October gathering in Karachi says a lot. Basically this was the first time that he spoke to the people. On all previous occasions he was just reading out what was written for him. Pakistan People’s Party realizes that this young kid is their last hope of survival. Playing the Bhutto card without any real Bhutto in the Party may just save them from extinction. He has been given the name, now it is time to teach him to be a Bhutto. But can a cricketer teach me how to play football? or can a soldier teach me art? Makhdooms, Shahs and Zardaris cannot teach Bilawal how to be a Bhutto, because they don’t know what it’s like to be a Bhutto.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir were both highly educated with honors from the top Universities in the world. The immense confidence gained from being the best among the best of students shaped their vibrant personalities. Being well read and well versed made them eloquent speakers. Most of all they weren’t taught how to be a Bhutto, they were one. Bhutto’s motivation behind dressing casually with rolled up sleeves was that he wanted to be perceived as one of the people and not superior. Bilawal’s motivation for rolling up his sleeves is to look more like Bhutto. Bhutto would sometimes shout in his speeches charged with emotions. Bilawal randomly screams because Bhutto screamed.

Nevertheless he may successfully tap in to the Bhutto vote bank for the simple reason that a majority of voters may not remember why they loved Bhutto and his daughter. They are being told that they loved them because their last name was Bhutto, and they should love Bilawal because he too has the same last name. If it sounds absurd to you than you are not an average Pakistani.

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