Bilawal Bhutto Zardari takes oath as Pakistan’s foreign minister
President Arif Alvi administered the oath to 33-year-old Bilawal at a simple ceremony at the Aiwan-i-Sadr (President’s House), where Prime Minister Shehbaz, former president Asif Ali Zardari and other officials as well as leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) were present.
It is for the first time when Bilawal has been given a key post in the government and assigned the key portfolio of foreign minister of the country. He was first elected to the National Assembly in 2018.
He became the head of the ministry of foreign affairs at a crucial juncture when Pakistan needed a stable hand to steer the foreign policy through the choppy waters.
Among the main challenges, Bilawal needs to fix strained ties with the US in the wake of conspiracy allegations by former premier Imran Khan and find a way to restart the stalled peace process with neighbouring India.
Bilawal took the oath nearly a week after he met Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif in London last week during which they discussed the “overall political situation” in Pakistan and vowed to work together on issues pertaining to politics and national interest.
PPP is the second largest party in the current coalition government of Prime Minister Sharif who was appointed on April 11.
Prime Minister Shehbaz is the president of PML-N.
Bilawal is son of three-time former premier Benazir Bhutto who was killed in a bomb and gun attack at a political rally in Rawalpindi in 2007. She was daughter of former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
Zulfiqar was deposed in 1977 by the military when General Ziaul Haq imposed martial law. He was tried for conspiracy in a murder case and hanged in 1979. Three of his four children, including Benazir, were violently killed, making the family the most bereaved political dynasty in Pakistan.
Zulfiqar also started his career as foreign minister in the 1960s, making an uncanny resemblance with Bilawal.
Bilawal’s sister Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari had congratulated him earlier in the day for taking oath as the country’s foreign minister.
“Today Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will take oath as Pakistan’s foreign minister in this unity government — decided by [the] PPP CEC (central executive committee) and we couldn’t be more proud of him! Already outshone in parliament and always stuck to his democratic values — excited to witness this path if God wills,” she had tweeted.