Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Bilawal Bhutto: In Defence of Liberty and a Personal Life

I am sickened to read some of the ugly media reports which try to present Bilawal Bhutto as some crazy boy who has lost himself in a sea of debauchery. Just today the BBC has reported that Bilawal has asked the media to respect his privacy as he returns back to his studies at Oxford University.

I read with shock the article in the Mail on Sunday titled 'Free alcohol, hangovers, bisexual friends and a girl called Boozie Suzie ... inside the student life of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari'. What exactly was the aim of such an article? Then there were those pictures of Bilawal that surfaced from a 'facebook' profile (the social networking site) showing him dressed up as the devil (quite funny actually, I think his make up wasn't quite right though!). Not sure if they were authentic either but surely the boy has a right to have some fun and most of all privacy? There is quite a funny Islamic tradition that says that if you find someone spying through a keyhole you have the right to poke their eye out! I don't condone such behavior of course! I find it sad that Muslims (and non Muslims) have revealed these pictures as some form of cardinal sin on the part of Bilawal, reducing Islam and Muslims back to their reclusive, sad and sombre state which in my view is contrary to the fun and colorful way in which Islam must be experienced. Would the media please make up its mind on Islam and Muslims, either you want us to be sad, boring, vulnerable to extremist thoughts or fun, creative and progressive, I would hope you all shouted the latter!

I guess it comes with the territory of politics that every politician opens their lives to media scrutiny but I think this is totally ridiculous. The personal life of any politician must be a personal matter and the media must respect this. But I am surprised that It is not only the media who have commented on Bilawal's lifestyle but some Muslim leaders up and down the country (even in Scotland) have been using such media stories to ridicule and dismiss the position of Bilawal Bhutto. Let us not forget that this is a young boy who has just lost his mother, are we as Muslims so stone hearted that even when someone is down we continue to kick?

As for the way that Bilawal was elected to the position of chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party, I am not quite sure I have any right to comment on this. I am not living in Pakistan and so as an outsider reading secondary material how can I make any form of value judgement? It was for this reason that when I wrote the obituary of Benazir Bhutto I wrote it from my heart as a Muslim and I was thinking about the impact this women had on Islam and Muslims. I believe we should be looking at the life of Benazir Bhutto beyond politics and open our eyes to seeing the way that she had an impact on progressive Islam globally. This reminds me of a saying related to the prophet Jesus in which he passes a dead dog and his companions complain of the stench of the decaying dog yet Jesus turns around and says 'what beautiful teeth it has'. It just goes to show that prophets of God were sent to remind humanity of good over evil. Good smells over the stench which humans create! Our human heart must be driven towards seeking goodness in us all, even those we disagree with.


  1. Aman,

    I certainly recognize your concerns here and am myself alarmed by the way this young man has been treated in the press. I think that maybe part of the good news is that, as far as the media are concerned, the attack on Bilawal might have more to do with Britain's fascination with the destruction of its celebrities (and Bilawal does come off as very "British," doesn't he?) than with conservatism in British Islam (or whatever exactly you might label it—traditionalism might be another word I guess).

    At any rate, this will be a story that continues to retain my attention, thank you for posting on it here.

  2. u hav a point, he does deserve to have some fun, yet, that just depends on what 'fun' means. his family keeps telling the pakistanis that he's really religious, and that he's a stout believer, and wether he is a stout believer or not,doesn't really matter, but the family shouldn't lie to the pakistani's. that-is just wrong, and 1 day he might just end up becoming pakistan's prime minister, and pakistan definetly does not need a lier in power.