President Asif Ali Zardari's son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has quietly stepped in to assume a larger role in the affairs of the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) as his father recovers from a heart condition in a hospital in Dubai.
A day after he jointly chaired a meeting of the Pakistan People's Party's (PPP) top leadership with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Bilawal on Thursday received a briefing from the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Raza Rabbani.
Media reports said the 23-year-old Bilawal had adopted a hands-on role in the functioning of the PPP and would have an office at the presidency.
However, there was no official word on the development.
A statement issued by the prime minister's house said Bilawal, who is the chairman of the PPP, and Gilani had been jointly briefed by the head of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.
Rabbani informed Bilawal and the premier about decisions made by the parliamentary panel "with reference to the preparation of proposals on terms of engagement" for future relations with the US.
These proposals will be placed before Parliament, Rabbani said. He also briefed Gilani about the "cooperation required from various ministries of the federal government" for finalising the proposals.
Gilani had asked the parliamentary panel to give recommendations regarding new "terms of engagement" with the US for the war on terrorism in the wake of the cross-border NATO air strike last month that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Though Bilawal will not be eligible to contest elections till he turns 25 in September 2013, he has been forced to play a larger role in the affairs of the PPP since President Zardari abruptly travelled to Dubai earlier this week to seek treatment for a heart condition.
Government officials have said the President is stable and needs to undergo more medical tests.