Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is being touted as the face of Pakistan’s future – and one to continue the legacy of his mother, the murdered former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
The 24-year-old launched his political career on the fifth anniversary of her death. He told tens of thousands of supporters at a rally in the southern Sindh province that he would fight extremism.
His father, the country’s President Asif Ali Zardari, said it was both a sad and joyous day, before outlining his son’s future role.
“I want to tell you, by the grace of God, he (Bilawal) has completed his studies but now this is his training time. He will work with you, he will live among workers, he should learn from here,” he said.
The young Bhutto is co-chairman of Pakistan’s People’s Party but cannot run for president next year as he will still be under 25.
Supporters in Rawalpindi where his mother was killed held a memorial service and demonstration.
“This will be the first time in Pakistan that a democratic government fulfils all its five-year term. No matter who stands for election next year, we hope they can safeguard the democratic system, and fulfil their term of office as well,” said one local man.
Taliban militants were blamed for Benazir Bhutto’s murder but no-one has been charged.
The Bhutto dynasty has been a major political force in Pakistan ever since independence.
Oxford graduate Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the latest to emerge, is seen as a potential leader in the long term.