Aunt was very concerned about saving her office: Fatima Bhutto

Cops killed my father but later blamed it on dacoits

Aunt was very concerned about saving her office: Fatima Bhutto

As Benazir's political career soared, Fatima's loving Wadi Bua (elder aunt) took a back seat. Fatima, who was just eight years old then, says: "Aunt changed herself gradually so much so that I started feeling awkward sleeping on her lap, a practice I did with effortless ease earlier."

In Bangalore for the release of her memoir, "Songs of Blood and Sword", Fatima took a ruthless dig at her aunt's "unprincipled politics" saying she undid the progressive and social legacy of the family's grand old man and former Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

"Aunt was very concerned about saving her office. She negotiated with two military dictators only to keep herself afloat in politics," Fatima said while conversing with Dr Narendar Pani, Professor and Dean, School of Social Sciences, National Institute of Advanced Studies, at the Reliance Timeout store here on Monday evening.

Recalling her father Mir Murtaza Bhutto's assassination in 1996, Fatima, who still feels petrified by the gory incident, says: "There were more than 100 assassins taking position at the surrounding trees in order to kill my father. The police killed him brutally, but later they cooked up a story claiming dacoits had killed him."
Fatima, however, doesn't want an eye for eye. "Justice is not always about blood," she said when asked if she still nursed the feeling to avenge her father's murder.

Dynastic politics
Fatima, who is ever conscious of her political lineage, however, doesn't wish to step into a politician's shoes. Well, is her desire for self-protection behind this decision? Not necessarily, came the reply. According to her, her political accomplishments will be viewed as an extension to the dynastic politics. And she hates it at point blank.
"Dynastic politics prohibits participation of the people and suppresses accountability," was how she described it.

Nonetheless, living in 70 Clifton, Karachi, the residence of Bhutto family, and entering politics, is not so easy for Fatima. "In the land of Asif Baba and 40 chor, I don't want to be a politician," she said comparing her uncle and the current President Asif Ali Zardari with the famed tale of the Arabian Nights. But Fatima does want to give peace a chance when it comes to relations between Indian and Pakistan. "I think,  despite all the roadblocks, there is always room for hope. Governments have failed but people have never failed," she said.

The memoir details the story of Bhuttos, a family of rich feudal landlords who later called the shots in Pakistani politics.

The memoir is the gripping tale of a "sad, but complicated family” written by one who lived the life as one of its members. Murder, corruption, conspiracy, and division, are the essential ingredients of this sordid account.
The book has been published by Penguin Books India and is priced at Rs 699.
DH News Service

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