Bhutto's children to take part in politics

Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (right) and his sister Bakhtawar wave to supporters at a rally in Karachi, on Nov 30, 2013. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of Pakistan's slain premier Benazir Bhutto, said Friday, Dec 27, 20
Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (right) and his sister Bakhtawar wave to supporters at a rally in Karachi, on Nov 30, 2013. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of Pakistan's slain premier Benazir Bhutto, said Friday, Dec 27, 2013, his two sisters would follow him into politics, in a speech on the sixth anniversary of his mother's death. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of Pakistan's slain premier Benazir Bhutto, said Friday his two sisters would follow him into politics, in a speech on the sixth anniversary of his mother's death.

The 25-year-old scion of the Bhutto dynasty has been the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) chairman since his mother's assassination in 2007 but has so far had a fairly limited role as a party figurehead.

The PPP was heavily defeated in May's general election after five years in government, following a lacklustre campaign marred by Taleban violence.

There has been no confirmation of rumours that he will seek to enter parliament via by-election, but at a rally in his ancestral town of Gari Khuda Buksh in southern Sindh province, he said he would step up his role in politics.

"All children of Benazir Bhutto will start taking part in active politics before the next election," he said.

He asked people to support him and his sisters, Bakhtawar and Aseefa, who attended the rally along with their father, former president Asif Ali Zardari.

Bilawal also used the speech to criticise the Taleban in what for a mainstream Pakistani political figure were unusually forthright terms.

"They carry out attacks in mosques and kill innocent people in the name of Islam... they are not humans," he said.

He also said that ending US drone strikes in Pakistan would not bring an end to extremism. Some in Pakistan have argued that the CIA strikes fan the flames of terror by killing innocent civilians.

Bilawal's mother was killed in a gun and suicide attack in December 2007 after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi, a garrison city adjoining the capital Islamabad.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who founded the party, was hanged in 1979 in a politically motivated murder case after being ousted in a coup and arrested by former dictator General Ziaul Haq.

Critics have in the past said Bilawal, who grew up in Dubai and Britain, lacks the natural charisma of his mother and grandfather.

He has also been mocked in the past for his shaky grasp of Urdu, but commentators on social media praised the passion and fluency of Friday's speech.