Islamabad: Bilawal Bhutto's political career has been launched but he was "now 'under training' rather than a full-fledged leader of the party", observed a Pakistani daily on Friday.

The event held at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh to mark late former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's fifth death anniversary was essentially an electoral rally, said an editorial in the News International. "This gathering at the Bhutto stronghold was significant in several ways”.

"As predicted, Bilawal Bhutto's political career was launched. His father, however, made it a point to emphasise that the young Bilawal was now 'under training' rather than a full-fledged leader of the party," said the daily.

It observed that this offers "Bilawal a protective cushion during the years ahead when he is likely to take an increasingly central role in party affairs".

The editorial said that in truth it was an all-out launch of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) campaign. "It was one dominated - predictably enough - by Benazir's widower President Asif Ali Zardari and her son, Bilawal Bhutto."

"The tone taken by both was aggressive - setting the starting blocks in place for what will certainly be a close and acrimonious electoral contest. Since it was Zardari's last chance to address a 'political' gathering, he was eager to achieve as much as possible."

The daily noted the presence of former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani at the event. "It is clear that the PPP leadership feels it needs Gilani's influence and political strength as election tactics and strategies are contemplated and thoughts turn to winning seats in key areas. The party then has every intention of putting on its knuckle dusters as the polls approach...," said the editorial.


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