The son of assassinated Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has pleaded for the media to respect his privacy as he continues his studies at Oxford University.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who has returned to the UK as chairman of his mother’s political party, said he would step into the role “gradually and carefully” while continuing his studies.
He raised concerns about media intrusion into his life at Oxford, saying he had been “distressed” by the lengths journalists had gone to to find information about him.
He said his immediate priority is to return to the university, saying: “Unless I can finish my education and develop enough maturity, I recognise that I will never be in a position to have sufficient wisdom to enter the political arena.”
Addressing reporters, he said: “In order that I should be able to continue my studies, I should like to request all of you who want to write your stories to give me some privacy to complete my undergraduate life as my mother wished.
“I have been distressed by the lengths journalists have gone to access comments about me on the social networking site Facebook. As you will know by now, several duplicate profiles exist in my name and so I am sure your investigative skills will have determined which are true and which are false.
“My mother was always very open with the press and was only too willing to give time to talk to journalists, and I should like to continue her good relationship but in moderation, not only for my own sake but also for the sake of my fellow students and the college.”
He also asked the media to respect the privacy of his sisters in Dubai.
He voiced the family’s appreciation that detectives from Scotland Yard had travelled to Pakistan to help with the investigation into his mother’s death.
But he said: “However the family’s and party’s request is for a UN-sponsored investigation, because we do not believe that an investigation which is under the authority of the Pakistani government has the necessary transparency. Already so much forensic evidence has been destroyed.”