Mixed response to Bilawal's nomination | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 02, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 02, 2008

Mixed response to Bilawal's nomination

The city's youth on Monday reacted with mixed emotions to the appointment of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as titular head of the Pakistan People's Party. The Student Action Committee (SAC) Lahore, the city's most vocal student movement in recent months, expressed its disdain at what it termed "the classic sub-continental tradition of considering lineage more important than capabilities or experience."
The students reiterated their call for a boycott of the elections until such time as the judiciary is restored, Musharraf resigns, and a non-partisan electoral commission is instituted.
"They are actually behaving like a monarchy, like those in underdeveloped countries who, when they have no heir, anoint teenagers," said LUMS student Sundas Hurain. "A 19-year-old is far too young. They should have at least taken a democratic route and had candidates contesting."
Halima Mansoor, an arts student at BNU, said Bilawal would be used as a "puppet," while Azad Ali, at City Law College, said the move showed that the PPP was no more than a "family party."
"There were a whole host of good candidates to pick from, including Aitzaz Ahsan and many others, and I don't know why they've reverted to dynastic politics. It's very disheartening," he said.
Zain Ali, a member of the PPP aligned Pakistan Students Federation (PSF), on the other hand, hailed the decision as a "great step" for the future. "Who can be a better leader than Bilawal? Nobody was as beloved as her, and now he's following in her footsteps at Oxford. I'm sure he'll make a fine leader."
Sufyan Arshad, spokesperson for the Committee for Democracy Rule of Law in Pakistan (CDRLP), another pro-democracy umbrella group that sprang up in the wake of the Nov 3 declaration of emergency, and himself an undergraduate student, said: "The PPP has shown it is consistently against the establishment and not on their side. We welcome this move as a positive step in the struggle for democracy and we hope they will be good partners."
The Pakistan Students Association (PSA), a pro-Musharraf student alliance, also backed the decision. Their spokesman Hashim Shafqat said: "The loss of Benazir was a great tragedy for Pakistan. We're glad they've chosen a youthful leader who will have zest and lead with enthusiasm, and placed their trust in the future of Pakistan rather than reverting to the old guard."
Courtesy: Dawn

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