In the Wake of Bhutto’s Death, Pakistan’s Youth Struggle to Find Hope

In the Wake of Bhutto’s Death, Pakistan’s Youth Struggle to Find Hope

When asked by reporters about the threat to his own safety following the assassination of his mother and Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, 19-year-old Bilawal Bhutto Zardari cited a Pakistan People's Party (PPP) saying: "How many Bhuttos can you kill? From every house a Bhutto will come."

But despite such defiant rhetoric, videos of the Oxford student at the Dec. 30 London press conference during which he was thrust suddenly into the spotlight of the Bhutto legacy -- and into the shadow of the Bhutto curse -- reveal a nervous boy trying his best to muster the courage to fill the big shoes worn by his mother and grandfather as head of the PPP, the country's second largest political party.

Bilawal's nervousness in accepting the responsibility to lead the largest opposition party of a nation spiraling into lawlessness reflects the fear and uncertainty of a generation of Pakistani youth, who, in the wake of Bhutto's death, more than after any other recent crisis that they've had to endure -- the dismissal of the judiciary, the suspension of free media, the intensifying terrorism -- display a kind of hopelessness about their country's prospects.

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