Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, 33, a descendant of Pakistan’s most influential political dynasty, is one of the world’s youngest foreign ministers.
Pakistani Prime Minister Sheikh Baz Sharif has appointed Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, the son of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, as foreign minister, giving his coalition allies the opportunity to repair their ties with the United States and others. play an important role in tensions with Western countries.
On Wednesday, President Arif Alvi swore an oath to Oxford-educated Bhutto-Zardari, widely regarded as a visionary liberal politician and the country’s Descendants of major political dynasties.
His mother, Benazir, was assassinated at a campaign rally in 2007, and his grandfather, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto – also a former foreign minister and later prime minister – was killed in 1979 Hanged by a military dictator.
Benazir’s killer was never caught, and a UN investigation found that Pakistani authorities failed to protect her or properly investigate her death.
At just 33 years old, Bhutto Zardari became one of the youngest foreign ministers in the world, but inherited a series of diplomatic problems that began before he was born, including relations with arch-rival India.
Pakistan People’s Party chairman Bhutto Zardari tweeted that he was “honoured” and humbled to be sworn in as foreign minister.
He and his party “will play our part in restoring democracy, passing electoral reforms, fighting for a fairer economy and advocating for Pakistan’s position on the world stage,” he wrote.
He was sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the 🇵🇰 Government of National Unity. The PPP, as the second largest party in the coalition, will play our part in restoring democracy, passing electoral reforms, fighting for a fairer economy and advocating for Pakistan’s case on the world stage. pic.twitter.com/vkaIWkSN7x
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) April 27, 2022
Bhutto-Zardari became party leader at the age of 19, while he was studying in Oxford, after his mother was assassinated.
With more than half of Pakistan’s population aged 22 or under, Bhutto’s knowledge of social media is also popular with young people, although he is often ridiculed for his poor command of his native language, Urdu.
Political commentators disagree on Bhutto’s ability — or how long he can maintain good relations with Prime Minister Sharif of the N party of the rival Pakistan Muslim League.
“I believe he is an untested missile,” analyst Hassan Askari Rizvi told AFP.
“It’s too early for a young MP like Bilawal Bhutto…he will have a hard time dealing with the issues facing Pakistan and facing serious challenges on the external front.”
Analyst Farzana Bari disagrees.
“I think Bi Laval is smart enough to hold the fort,” she told AFP, adding that he was “more progressive” than leaders of other parties.
First foreign mission to Riyadh
Bhutto Zardari’s first foreign delegation will accompany Sharif on Thursday to Saudi Arabia, a key trading partner and regular source of relief for Pakistan’s ailing economy.
Sharif announced a 41-member cabinet earlier this month after succeeding outgoing Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Khan claimed that the U.S. backed a conspiracy to overthrow him simply because he rejected Washington’s advice not to visit Russia in February, an accusation Washington has denied.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry, military and civilian leaders also rejected Khan’s allegations.
The trip to Riyadh, a longtime ally, which began on Thursday, was Sharif’s first international visit as prime minister.
A statement from Sharif’s office said he would hold talks with Saudi leaders “with a particular focus on advancing economic, trade and investment relations and creating more opportunities for the Pakistani workforce in Saudi Arabia”.
The two sides will also discuss a series of regional and international issues of mutual concern.
Sharif may seek financial support from Saudi Arabia to help build the country’s foreign exchange reserves, which have fallen to $10.8 billion, not enough to cover two months’ worth of imports.
Sharif’s newly appointed Finance Minister Mifta Ismail said Pakistan faces a widening fiscal and current account deficit, falling foreign exchange reserves and high inflation.