Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari talked about mental health, climate change, politics and other issues in The Centrum Media’s podcast with Talha Ahad. Bilawal’s conversation about mental health and climate change was the most relatable by any Pakistani politician.

When asked how he copes with the trauma of losing so much, especially his mother Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated, and if it has had any impact on his mental health, Bilawal responded candidly. He related the events that unfolded on December 27, 2007. He was in Dubai for his winter break from Oxford when his mother went to Pakistan for the election campaign. He was in Dubai with his father Asif Ali Zardari and his siblings when he heard the news about the attack on television. He was shocked and afraid. It was traumatic. He said he doesn’t even remember the conversation he had with his sisters about this.

Bilawal Bhutto said that mental issue is a real issue but we do not take it seriously like we do with other diseases. “Your mind is just like any other part of your body,” he emphasised.

RELATED STORIES


Bilawal said he never went to seek therapy or even talked to a counsellor after having lost so much. He moved on from it like a traditional Pakistani, thinking he should just ‘man-up’ and face it without seeking help. He acknowledged that it was years later that he started reading and understood what he was going through. It was partially because of the “macho” attitude of a typical Pakistani.


Bilawal admitted he feels the loss of his mother every day but he has learned to make this feeling of loss his strength instead of a shortcoming.


Bilawal went on to explain his vision for dealing with mental health issues in Pakistan. He wants an “update” in the system. He wants to set up facilities through public-private partnership if he comes in power after elections.


When asked if he meditates, Bilawal admitted that he tried it but hasn’t done it consistently because he lacks consistency. He watches Netflix shows in his free time. When asked when was the last time he cried, Bilawal said he does not remember.