PPP chairman Bilawal leaves for Oxford

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 01, 2008 13:08 hrs

Islamabad Two days after being named head of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), teenager Bilawal Bhutto Zardari left for Dubai on Tuesday on his way to the University of Oxford where he is studying law.

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"Bilawal and his sisters have left for Dubai," a family source told IANS.

Bilawal, 19, flew into Pakistan hours after his mother and former Prime Minister-cum-PPP chief Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi in a bomb and gun attack after an election rally December 27, 2007.

The source said that he would be go to London after staying a couple of days with his sisters, Bakhtawar and Asifa, in Dubai, where the family has been living since 1999 when Bhutto left Pakistan in self-imposed exile.

Bilawal was appointed chairman of the PPP after the slain Bhutto's will was read out on Sunday.

His father Asif Ali Zardari, nominated co-chairman of the party, will manage the party affairs while the son earns his degree at Oxford.

His mother had also graduated from the same university and had been president of the debating society there.

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At the Sunday press conference, Zardari declared that his children had decided to prefix their surname Zardari with Bhutto.

"The children have done this on their own... in respect to their mother and in recognition of her international stature," PPP leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi told IANS. He was referring to Bhutto, who was Prime Minister of Pakistan twice -- in 1988-90 and 1993-96.

On both occasions her government was dismissed on charges of corruption. Neither time Bhutto could complete her five-year term.

Bilawal got his primary education in Islamabad from Froebels International School and passed his Class XII from Rashid High School in Dubai. His sisters study in Dubai and live with their grandmother Nusrat Bhutto, wife of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.