Pakistan Politics: A Family Affair

Candidates emerge from traditional dynasties
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2008 10:37 AM CST
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari poses for the media at Christ Church College in Oxford, England Friday, Jan. 11, 2008. Bhutto Zadari, an undergraduate at Christ Church College who was named as symbolic leader...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – In Pakistan, candidates are born. As ever, the top up-and-coming politicians are coming from Pakistan’s classic dynasties. The Christian Science Monitor talked with Moonis Elahi, son of Pervez Musharraf’s favored PM candidate, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, son of Shahbaz Sharif and nephew of Nawaz. And of course, there is Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of Benazir Bhutto. 

All three are Western-educated political scions hoping to change Pakistan’s corrupt system. “People say, 'This is the way things are done in Pakistan,'” says Elahi, “If I can’t [change] that, there’s no point staying in politics.” Both Elahi, a slick CEO-type, and Sharif, a reluctant populist, are running for legislative seats in the upcoming elections, while Bhutto’s 19-year-old heir is still studying at Oxford.