Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari's son Bilawal, who has quietly stepped in to play a larger role in the affairs of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party as his father recovers from a heart condition, on Thursday said the party will not hesitate to make any sacrifice to protect democracy.
   
A day after he jointly chaired a meeting of the PPP's top leadership with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Bilawal on Thursday received a briefing from the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Raza Rabbani, on plans to review relations with the US.
   
Bilawal also met delegations of the delegations of the PPP’s students, labour and women’s wings and told them the party "will not hesitate to offer any sacrifice for the promotion and prosperity of democracy in the country".
   
Media reports said the 23-year-old Bilawal had adopted a hands-on role in the functioning of the PPP and would have an office at the presidency. However, there was no official word on the development.
   
A statement issued by the Prime Minister's House said Bilawal, who is the Chairman of the PPP, and Gilani had been jointly briefed by the head of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.
   
Rabbani informed the Premier and Bilawal about decisions made by the parliamentary panel "with reference to the preparation of proposals on terms of engagement" for future relations with the US. These proposals will be placed before Parliament, Rabbani said.
   
Rabbani also briefed Gilani about the "cooperation required from various ministries of the federal government" for finalising the proposals.
   
Gilani had asked the parliamentary panel to give recommendations regarding new "terms of engagement" with the US after the cross-border NATO air strike last month that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
   
During his meetings with PPP workers, Bilawal recounted the sacrifices made by the Bhutto family. He said his mother, slain former Premier Benazir Bhutto, had sacrificed her life for the cause of the people.
   
He said his grandfather, former President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had successfully fought for the rights of the masses.
   
Bilawal vowed to make Punjab province the "citadel of the PPP" and said he would soon initiate a "mass contact campaign to disseminate the teachings of his grandfather and mother among the people of Punjab".
   
"The people of Punjab are with the PPP and the party will continue helping them in winning their basic rights," he said.
   
Bilawal asked the people to pray for the speedy recovery of his father.
   
Though Bilawal will not be eligible to contest elections till he turns 25 in September 2013, he has been forced to play a larger role in the affairs of the PPP since President Zardari abruptly travelled to Dubai earlier this week to seek treatment for a heart condition.

Government officials have said the President is stable and needs to undergo more medical
tests.

(Agencies)