Bilawal Bhutto Youngest FM of Pakistan


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Wednesday took oath as the foreign minister, formally joining the federal cabinet of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

President Dr Arif Alvi administered the oath to the PPP chairman at the presidency. On the occasion, the venue echoed with slogans of “Jiye Bhutto” as soon as Mr Bilawal was sworn in as Pakistan’s youngest foreign minister. PM Sharif, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Sanam Bhutto, the sister of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, were also present at the swearing-in ceremony.

Interestingly, President Alvi, who had expressed his inability to administer the oath to the prime minister, later met Bilawal who paid a courtesy call to the president.

The PPP chief assumed charge of the first public office of his political career immediately after being sworn in, and took a briefing on the country’s foreign affairs. He also called on Prime Minister Sharif along with his father, former president Zardari, and expressed his gratitude for including him in the cabinet.

Thirty-three-year-old Bilawal was first elected to the National Assembly in 2018. This is the first time he will be serving as a member of a federal cabinet. Mr Bilawal is the 12th foreign minister of the country.

Three days after his mother’s assassination in December 2007, he had taken over the reins of the PPP. Despite being suddenly pushed to the top political echelons, he initially kept a low profile, focusing instead on finishing his history degree at Oxford University. He returned to Pakistan in 2010, and has since then taken on an increasingly active role as the PPP chairman.

Bilawal’s grandfather, former premier and PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had served as the foreign minister from 1963 to 1966. ZAB had also served as president of the country from 1971 to 1973 and as prime minister from 1973 to 1977.

In a tweet, Bilawal’s sister Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari congratulated him before he took oath.

“Today Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will take oath as Pakistan’s foreign minister in this unity government -- decided by [the] PPP CEC (central executive committee) and we couldn’t be more proud of him! Already outshone in parliament and always stuck to his democratic values -- excited to witness this path if God wills,” she had tweeted.

Soon after assuming charge of his office, the newly inducted foreign minister went straight to the Chinese Embassy where he expressed condolences with the ambassador over the lives of three Chinese nationals lost in a suicide bombing in Karachi on Tuesday.

Bilawal vowed to further strengthen the bilateral relations with China, and stressed the culprits behind the terrorist attack will be punished soon.

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