Bilawal to have 24-hour armed guard at Oxford

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London, Jan 1: Former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto's son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will be given 24-hour protection when he returns to his studies in Britain. Officers from Scotland Yard's Diplomatic Protection Group would carry out a risk assessment and talk to officials of Pakistan People's Party to decide what level of protection he should receive, the Daily Mail reported.

The slain leader's 19-year-old son was named chairman of the party on Sunday.It is being said that Bilawal could now become a target of Islamic militants. His father Asif Ali Zardari will run the party while Bilawal finishes his studies in Oxford, where protection for him could range from a panic alarm and special security measures, including sensors, being installed in his student accomodation to round the clock protection by armed officers.

A security source said, ''Clearly if a specific threat is made against him, then security will be massively increased.'' Bilawal, who is a first year history student at Christ Church, Oxford, is due to start the next academic term on January 13 but it was not clear whether he will delay his return until a date is agreed for general elections in Pakistan.

Mohsin Bari, PPP's general secretary for Greater London, said, ''We do not know yet when Bilawal will return to take up his studies but he faces the same dangers as his mother, as he is continuing where she left off and following the same policies.

''It is our and the British government's responsibility to look after him while he is in this country,'' he said.

About Bilawal taking the party leadership, he said, ''He is under a lot of pressure but he is a brave boy. After all, he is the son of Benazir who was so brave.''

UNI

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