The son of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was attacked during a protest march on Sunday in Trafalgar Square aimed at highlighting the human rights abuses taking place in Kashmir.
Bilawal Bhutto, current leader of the Pakistan’s People’s Party (PPP), was pelted with eggs, tomatoes, shoes and plastic bottles by a section of the crowd who were angered at him using the protest to push through his personal political agenda.
The 26-year-old was whisked away by police officers just moments after taking to the main stage to address the crowd.
One protestor who had travelled from Derby expressed his outrage at Bhutto’s appearance, telling the Press Trust of India that Bhutto had tried to hijack an event that was meant to be about the welfare of the people of Kashmir.
“Bilawal has no business being here”, he added.
Bhutto – whose father is former Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari – has been on a high-profile recent campaign to revive the fortunes of the PPP which has been dominated by the Bhutto dynasty for decades.
The attack on the young Oxford University don soon began trending on Twitter with millions of tweets under the hashtag “BhagBilloBhag”, translated as “Run Bilawal Run”.
Whilst many users of the micro-blogging expressed their joy at Mr Bhutto’s predicament, others had different takes on who was responsible for the attack.
Whilst many pointed the finger at Bhutto’s political rivals in Pakistan, other accused India of sending “saboteurs” to disrupt the event.
Last week Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj expressed her concern at the “anti-India” march, during her visit to London to attend the Regional Bharatiya Pravasi Divas celebrations.
The British government however, said it was determined to protect freedom of speech and peaceful demonstration in the heart of London.
The protest had been organized by a pro-Pakistan group promising a “million person march” from Trafalgar Square to 10 Downing Street.
However, barely a few hundred protestors turned up for the event waving placards and Pakistani flags.
The march was led by Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry, who describes himself as former “prime minister” of the Pakistan-occupied region of Kashmir, and was supported by British parliamentarian Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham.
Before the protest, the group had claimed it had received support from a number of different community organizations and groups.
Others however, had dismissed the march saying it was against the “national interest of the people of Jammu and Kashmir”.
A counter-protest held by a rival group yesterday ended with memorandums submitted for the prime ministers of India and Pakistan at their high commissions, urging both countries to “respect the fundamental human rights of all citizens of Jammu and Kashmir”.
The nuclear-armed South Asian rivals have fought three wars over the Himalayan region which is claimed by both countries and remains one of the most militarized places on earth.