Monday, August 10, 2009

Will Someone Please Hand Bilawal A Spliff?

Dude needs to chill the fuck out.

Oh bhai, why are you so angry? Your crush de-friend you on Facebook? Got a C in "Readings on the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars"? PIA staff not deferential enough on your flight home? What happened?

At least he gave this speech in Urdu -- Urdu so terrible that it makes his mother sound like Ghalib, but Urdu nonetheless. But for high levels of unintentional comedy, please watch this video of another speech from a couple of weeks ago. He tries to deliver a populist speech in English, which is sort of like showing up to a funeral in a clown suit.

By the way, I sometimes feel a little bit of guilt in my mocking of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. After all, he's younger than me, and what sort of mean-spirited prick makes fun of people younger than him? Also, he lost his mother to a violent and public death, a pain none (or very few) of us will probably ever know.

But then I think: no. The injustice of him being handed, quite literally, the country's largest political party on a platter, while he hasn't even finished college, is a travesty. It is a slap in the face of every PPP stalwart who has put in years of service to the party, and it is a slap in the face to all Pakistanis -- educated and uneducated -- who should expect more from the party that claims to espouse liberal and secular values. What could be more illiberal than nepotism and the casting away of merit as a basis for leadership? The sense of entitlement that pervades the Bhutto family and its literal ownership of the PPP is nauseating.

And so I continue to make fun of him, because it is what he and his party deserve.


Annie said...

If for no other reason, someday, someone will shoot him for that crazy talk ..

So much for oxbridge/ ivy league education..

A, said...

Yaar for all things, lets look at this objectively. You obviously believe that he does not "deserve" to be where he is - chairman of a party and so on. But on the other hand one might ask how you deserved to go to KGS, UChicago and all the opportunities bestowed upon you.

My hunch is that you think this is injustice as others (including You) are much more deserving of becoming head of PPP.

Cut this douche bag some slack!

Just out of curiosity, have you ever taken spliff?

AKS said...

I don't think he needs to chill the fuck out, he needs to shut the fuck up. The Bhutto clan has never tried to hide its nepotistic nature - Benazir early on in her career would go on shouting: "Main Zulfiqar Ki Beti Hoon." Bilawal is no different; I'm sure he believes that he deserves to be a leader and that he would make a better leader because of his ancestry (think thoroughbred horses), in fact I wouldn't be surprised if Bilawal thinks that he has had to sacrifice a 'normal life' for the good of his country.

AKS said...


I agree with A, one could (and should) question how you ended up at UChicago after having "all the opportunities bestowed upon you." Opportunities such as working hard and getting a good GPA, a crazy SAT score, captaining the cricket team (before being dropped, because of politics obviously), etc.


I sort of know what you're saying - i.e. we shouldn't judge people because they have had a more privileged upbringing and/or are presented with more opportunities than us. But surely Bilawal's case is a little different.

Getting into Oxford because your mom is a prominent politician or getting a job through your dad's connection is a little in nature than being made leader of the largest political party in the sixth most populous country of the world at age 19 because your slain mom allegedly willed it.

Moreover, did you know that in Pakistan you are only allowed to 'will' 1/3 of your property - the rest must be divided amongst heirs as per Muslim inheritance laws. So you can't will your bloody house but you can will the leadership of the country.

A. said...


I am not a lawyer but here me out. Every society has certain norms and ways of doing things. We do not have a meritocratic culture and we certainly don't believe in the rule of law. Have you ever heard anybody loosing out because of "only allowed to 'will' 1/3 of your property " law? We simple tweak our papers a bit and walla, we get the results we need.

Since we don't have respect for the law or a meritocratic law in general, why should that not be the case at the top. I mean the poor guy does not have to worry about being thrown out because of merit or the law. Why should elites have to worry about that?

Democracy at its core is majoritarianism and the vast majority of the voters are content with lack of meritocracy and disrespect of the law.

So stop yelling at this particular symptom of our broader culture and values. Further comments welcome.

A. said...

My basic disagreement was this notion that his becoming the Chairman was somehow injustice. I mean come on WTF?

This is a system of government we are talking about here. If the British Queen and her son were to die today, William and then Harry would be the heirs. They would have just about the same powers and stature that Bilawal has right now.

And my ranting about Ahsan going to KGS and so on was meant to illustrate that there is no such thing as deserving or undeserving. Do you deserve to drive in a car on Khayaban Ittehad while some 30 year old laborer is hanging from an over-loaded public bus having just completed 14 hours of construction work?

Hard work is important but so is luck. And just because someone has been tremendously lucky (specifically 1 in 170 million lucky) doesn't mean we should label their luck as injustice. If you despise him that's fine but no need to term it as injustice.

e_scape_artist said...

I wonder why or how this Bilwal bashing session morphed so easily into an Ahsan bashing session..

I think the shoes Bilawal is trying to step into, i.e. his mother's inherited from the big bad Bhutto himself are just too darned big for the pubescent bugger.

That shows in his ferverous speech, in which he's trying so hard to emulate his grand-daddy's 'roti kapra makaan'/'kaam karo ge? laro ge!? maro ge!?!?' speech..

To his credit he's trying, albeit unsucessfully to work the crowd.. at least he's trying...

though I would wonder what kind of chairperson Ahsan would'v made, had the leadership of the biggest party landed in his lap through some freak accident.. I think Ahsan has fascist tendencies which might get ignighted.

zeyd said...

I'd like to clarify AKS's statement about Ahsan losing the cricket captaincy to politics. That's not true: he lost the captaincy cuz his batting went to shit.

He did, however, lose his place in the team to politics, which I guess is what we're supposed to be talking about.

AKS said...


This is Pakistan, nobody ever gets kicked out of the team because they suck or are out of form, they get always get kicked out because of politics. If Misbah, MoYO or Shoaib Malik are dropped from the next tour, the expert panel on Geo Super will make more than reference to player politics and cliques in the team.

Therefore, Ahsan did not get kicked out because his form sucked and his attempts at swashbuckling strokes only resulted in catches at mid-on, but because there was a conspiracy by you, Aasim and Rocky.

AKS said...

A, in case you've forgotten we don't live under monarchy. Not only is the PPP the biggest POLITICAL party, it is also the party that claims to have the highest regard for democracy. The PPP and this government can't have it both ways.

Of course I readily admit that we must view this proclamation in light of illiberal, nepotistic and feudal nature of Pakistani democracy. Most of our parliamentarians inherit their place in parliament. One could argue that one shouldn't begrudge Bilawal because he is the most privileged of the lot, and his inheritance is greater than theirs.

But, and this is a crucial but, he is 19 friggin years old. His appointment as leader of the party would not be much different than that of say Hina Rabbani Khar as economic adviser to PM, or the growing role of Hamza Shahbaz, if he was at least old enough to be a member of Parliament.

Bilawal is a 19 year-old part-time politician whose main occupation is studying. He has never lived in Pakistan, still doesn't do so, and has absolutely no experience of living or working in Pakistan.

His appointment as leader is more than a mere extension of our nepotistic political system.

In many ways he is similar to Moeenuddin Qureshi, our caretaker PM in 1993, who also had absolutely no experience of Pakistani politics and who had lived away from Pakistan for decades. That's where the similarity ends though, Mr. Qureshi was a distinguished economist working with the World Bank and appointed because he had no political links and could oversee the elections as a neutral arbiter.

I guess what I'm saying is that Bilawal is an idiot undeserving of being leader of the PPP not because he is a beneficiary of legacy politics, but because he is a beneficiary of legacy politics who is too young to lead, has no experience of any kind (did I mention that he's 19?) and has never lived in the country.

Zh. said...

I just feel so bad for him dude. He clearly has no idea what he's doing and why.

Ahsan said...


There's a big difference between structural/social inequality and juridical inequality. By the former, some people are privileged and have opportunities others don't. So I could come to UChicago but a farmer from Jhang could not.

But the latter is worse because it treats people differently *as a matter of law*. In its extreme, it results in apartheid ("you can only live within this township" or "you can only drink from this fountain"). The opportunities Bilawal has had speak to the latter, the opportunities I have had speak to the former.

I was very fortunate to have parents who were willing to sacrifice a lot to ensure I got the best education possible. But then in the midst of that education, I also worked extremely hard.

On the other hand, Bilawal got where he is today not by working hard, but because of who his mother (and grandfather) were. Big difference there.

Also, I think you're wrong in your riposte to AKS. For one thing, voters never had a chance to choose Bilawal. In all likelihood, the PPP *would* have voted for him as chairman if they held internal elections. But we'll never know, will we?

And the Queen in England does not have nearly as much power as Bilawal does. I'm actually disturbed that you made that comparison. There *is* no comparison.

AKS and Zeyd:

So I started playing hardball cricket again after a period of seven years, here in Chicago (they have proper leagues and shit). I'm obviously a little rusty (scores of 6 and 3 to start my new career) but some things never change. Guess how I've gotten out my first two innings?

1. Caught at mid-on, playing a half-drive, half push.

2. Caught at cover, playing a flick through midwicket that got the outside edge.

Good times.

Escape artist:

I too shudder to imagine what sort of chairperson I would make. I have recently come to realize I am the world's slowest decision-maker. I am also quite lazy when it comes to things other than my core interests (and chairmanship of a political party would definitely lie outside my core interests).

But where did the fascism jibe come from?

Anonymous said...

this is actually very uncomfortable to watch. and what is this hooopla about what ppp has done ... what parallel pakistan does he reside in ...
ass !

Jman said...

Sorry, but WTF?
what a cockmunching knobjockey!

Actually now that i think of it im not sorry!

I remember someone at work was making similiar "noise" in the toilet cubicle next to me at work!

Butters said...

And I hope you continue in your fun-making. It is right and just to do so :P

Anonymous said...

Im sorry, but WTF?! there should be rule that you cannot represent a party if you cant speak the language! My 5 nephew can speak better urdu then him, and he hasnt even stepped into pakistan! Such a shame!

You guys, continue mocking him. :D

Anonymous said...

5 year old** nephew

saesneg said...


He sounds about as Pakistani as I am.

Ahsan said...

By the way, Zardari's grin at 4:10 of the second video is priceless.

NAA said...

That was painful to watch.

I must have missed this but does anyone know what the occasion was for these speeches? Was it just a platform for BBZ to showcase his screaming abilities?

Seriously though, what's with Zardari's grin? He's probably thinking how he can put an idiot on stage, screaming at the top of his lungs in front of an audience where half of them don’t understand a word of what he's saying, yet they applaud and raise slogans in his support.

Last but not least why does BBZ have to bring Allah and Rasool into this. Something to the effect of "Musharraf, Chaudhry bilkul fazool.....Benazir beqasoor" does the job just as well, if not better in my opinion.

Hamza said...

The latter part of the first video was particularly cringeworthy. I feel sad for Bilawal; he's probably younger than everyone posting on this blog, yet he's been thrown into a far more stressful environment than any of us can probably imagine. I'm sure he didn't have much of a choice about taking the reigns of the PPP following his mother's assasination. It's sad that Zardari's need to claim the Bhutto name to secure his own position has forced such an unenviable scenario on this kid. What a pity.

Though you're right about his speaking style. He needs to calm down, and stop making ill-advised attempts to imitate his grandfather. Better yet, he should improve his Urdu, which to be honest wasn't terrible. I hadn't heard him speak urdu before and was expecting far worse.

Dyansty politics are an integral part of our political system, and whether we like it or not (and I don't like it one bit), he's going to be a prominent part of our country's political future. We'd better get used to it.

Anonymous said...

What de fuc dis is nt future of pakistan. Pak is changed now. Stop dreamin PZP

Ahsan said...


You're right about the Urdu bit -- it was better than I expected. I think he's been taking lessons. Just like Sarah Palin waited to get nominated for vice president to touch up on "the issues", Bilawal waited until he got the chairmanship of the country's biggest party to learn to speak (and I'm using the word "speak" very loosely here) the national language.

Sakhmeth said...

this made my week!

Hira S. said...

He's 19. He's not a child. If he had any sense of decency he'd realise what a sham his father is, what a sham this party is and what a sham he'd become if he continued to act as party chairman. HE BELIEVES THE CRAP HE'S SPEWING. That's what makes me worry. You would think studying at Oxbridge, and having at least an inkling of intelligence would make him realize that you can't be gifted a country. I mean, how can he take the "Kal bhi Bhutto zinda tha, aaj bhi Bhutto zinda he" seriously?

Anonymous said...

Oh for God's sake. Disappointing, Ahsan. Is that your best argument? That he's not the best Urdu-speaker and public speaker in town? Grow up, no offence. He's a 19 year old doing his best to serve his country - which is more than can be said for you - and to fulfill his democratic duty as the elected party's chairman. Have some consideration, if not for the tremendous effort his father and he are making, then for the fact that his mother died for love of this shamelessly ungrateful nation.

Ahsan said...


No, that's not my best argument. My best argument is:

1. He is not qualified to lead a political party. If he applied for a job right now in any country in the world, he would get rejected based on his CV. And yet he has been given a political party. Literally, an entire political party.

2. There are other people who have served the political party for their entire lifetimes by doing actual, uh, work and winning votes and elections. They have actually contributed to the PPP.

3. Contrary to your belief, he is not the elected party's chairman, he is the anointed party chairman. The PPP never held internal elections.

4. Language does matter -- the PPP is both a Sindhi party and a national party. He can't speak Sindhi and he can barely speak Urdu. Might have something to do with the fact that he's never actually lived in Pakistan. This is slightly relevant for a political leader, don't you think?

5. His mother may have died for this shamelessly ungrateful nation, but there are plenty of other people who have died for this shamelessly ungrateful nation too. Let's start with the policemen and security officials who died protecting her when she first came back in October '07. Are we giving their children massive political parties to run? What about the guard at the Marriot hotel in Islamabad who died in September '08? What have their children been given? Maybe a few thousand rupees. Why is Bilawal treated differently? I would be happy to personally give him the money that those policemen's families were given if it would guarantee that he would leave us alone.

5. He is NOT doing his best to serve the country. He would serve the country best by stepping aside and letting someone know what the hell they're doing to step up. But as his speech made clear, the sole qualification to higher office that he believes in is that his last name is Bhutto (when it's not actually, his last name is Zardari). Thus the "Bhutto aaj bhi zinda hai" nonsense.

SM said...

Umm.. nice stuff, you're totally justified in making fun of the kid. He's totally asking for it. Sorry to be making a Meg Cabot reference here but in her book 'The Princess Diaries' the lead character gets paid by her father (the prince of this fictional country)to learn how to become a princess. I don't know why but I've always felt Bilawal must be getting paid by his father in return for taking up the position of Chairman. Because why in hell would a kid like him, with no possible affection for this country go ahead and take such a huge step?

As for his mother, I'm sorry to be speaking ill of the dead but I doubt even she loved this country like a typical Pakistani. Reading her biography didn't make me sympathize with her as much as it made me realize that she NEVER lived in Pakistan. She lived in two extremes of the country. One was 70 Clifton where she was closed to the real Pakistan being raised in wealth and comfort only few had seen in those times. The second was in Jails where she was put through abject misery. She never lived in this country like a normal person. The only time in the book she refers to something Pakistani affectionately was about some mangoes that she missed. I mean what teenager forgets her mother tongue after a year or two at College abroad, in a way that she has to take lessons upon her return?!

I think she was in love with the ideals that her father had instilled in her about the country that HE loved.

God knows how I ended up doing this, I was researching for a paper and got directed here. But good stuff :)

Anonymous said...

Bilawal is PSYCHOTIC !!
Pathetic and sad

Anonymous said...

Ahsan, I agree with your evaluation of why Bilawal is not qualitifed to lead the PPP.

However, I found your views on #4 "Language does matter" perplexing. PPP has representation from all four provinces, why then is it a Sindhi party? It's a national party whose founders happened to be Sindhi. How can it be given a provincial identity? Finding it acceptable to think of it in that way is a problem - it's similarly palatable that the party can be passed on like "a piece of family furniture".

Emullah said...

To Bilawal Zardari: Give me a break dude. Trying hard to put his act together like his grandfather but sounds more like a copycat of Sultan Rahi, LoL!