Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Bilawal's Appeal for Personal Privacy

After being named Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party to succeed his high-profile mother Benazir Bhutto, Bilawal's life has suddenly gone from very private to very public. As expected, the tenacious Papparazi and the ruthless tabloid press have found a new subject to pursue relentlessly. Examples of this coverage include the stories in the British tabloids The Sun and The Daily Mail. While clearly distressing for the teenager just starting college, this attention is not unexpected. What is most unfortunate is the fact that poor Bilawal probably did not choose to be in this situation. More than the circumstances, I believe it is Mr. Asif Zardari, the widower of late Benazir Bhutto, who has brought it upon his 19-year old son. As the father of a daughter of the same age as Bilawal, I truly sympathize with his need and appeal for personal privacy that he has made in his news conference in London today. At the same press conference, he has echoed a number of allegations and made demands that have been made by other PPP leaders. Taking very public positions on such issues while at the same time appealing for personal privacy seem incongruent. More than anything else in the world, what this young man needs is advice and support and sincere guidance from his family to survive this difficult period right after the tragic loss of his mother. Such advice and guidance should include a wise counsel to lay low and stop making any public statements to the media. I wish this young man the very best in this difficult time.

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