Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Opens Up About The Mental Trauma of His Mother’s Death

The PPP chairman discusses mental health and trauma in an eye-opening podcast.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, ahead of the upcoming elections, delved into personal trauma in an exclusive podcast interview with TCM CEO Talha Ahad.

The discussion covered a wide array of topics, from dynastic politics to the role of the establishment, but Bilawal also candidly shared insights into his experiences with mental health and trauma, including the tragic death of his mother, Benzair Bhutto.

In a society where mental health remains stigmatized, Bilawal emphasized the importance of acknowledging mental health as a genuine issue that requires attention, much like any other physical ailment. He asserted, “Your mind is just like any other part of your body,” highlighting the need for destigmatization.

The PPP Chairman revealed that he does not recall the last time he cried, showcasing the resilience he has built over the years. When questioned about coping with the profound loss of his mother, Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007, Bilawal opened up about the traumatic events that unfolded on December 27 of that year.

Recalling the day, Bilawal disclosed that he was in Dubai during his winter break from Oxford with his father, Asif Ali Zardari, and siblings when news of the attack reached them.

He described the shock and fear he felt at the time, acknowledging the traumatic nature of the event. However, he admitted that he never sought therapy or spoke to a counselor, opting to follow the traditional Pakistani approach of “manning up” and facing adversity without external assistance.

Bilawal acknowledged the influence of a “macho” attitude prevalent in Pakistani culture, attributing it to his delayed realization of the need for mental health support. He confessed that it took years before he began to read and understand the impact of his experiences.

Despite feeling the loss of his mother every day, Bilawal revealed that he has transformed this feeling into a source of strength rather than a weakness.

Looking ahead, he outlined his vision for addressing mental health issues in Pakistan, advocating for an “update” in the system and proposing the establishment of facilities through public-private partnerships if he assumes power after the elections.

On the topic of personal practices to maintain mental well-being, Bilawal admitted to attempting meditation but cited a lack of consistency. Instead, he shared that he indulges in watching Netflix shows during his free time, offering a glimpse into his coping mechanisms and interests outside the realm of politics. Check out the full interview here: