Bhutto son cancels speech, will open floods donation point

6th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

The son of the late Benazir Bhutto and Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari Friday cancelled an appearance at a Pakistani event in England which had fuelled talk he was launching his own political career.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said speculation that the presumed heir to the Bhutto political dynasty would use a speech at the event to enter the family political business was "inaccurate".

"I will not even be attending the event," the 21-year-old history graduate from Oxford University declared in a statement, issued through his father's office.

President Zardari is currently in Britain and held talks with Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday.

"Instead I will be opening a donation point at the Pakistani High Commission in London for victims of the terrible floods which have ravaged northern Pakistan," Bhutto Zardari said.

Waheed Rasab, coordinator in Britain of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) -- co-chaired by Zardari and his son -- insisted that the event, expected to be attended by thousands of members of Britain's Pakistani community in Birmingham, central England, on Saturday would still go ahead.

"The meeting is still happening. The president is still coming to the meeting... and the president is to address the meeting," Rasab told AFP.

The coordinator had said earlier this week: "Bilawal will be there... most likely I think he will make a speech."

Speculation continues to swirl around the political future of the young Bhutto Zardari, whose mother Benazir Bhutto, a former Pakistani prime minister, was assassinated in 2007.

His grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto founded the PPP in 1967 and became Pakistan's president before being overthrown in a military coup and hanged in 1979.

Bhutto Zardari was studying at Oxford when his mother was killed and, at the time, those close to him said he should be left to finish his education before moving into politics.

In his statement, he said that his future plans were "to continue my education both academic and political."

He said he was "currently looking into the possibilities of studying law," as his grandfather had done.

"I feel that an understanding of law and an appreciation for the rule of law is important for any politician seeking to strengthen democracy in Pakistan."

© 2010 AFP

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