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Fatima Bhutto: please focus on fiction- by Nasima Zehra Awan

Pakistan may have lost a talented fiction writer when Fatima Bhutto went into journalism. Clearly, she is adept at spinning a tale, fudging facts and re-defining reality in a manner that is the exclusive domain of talented story tellers. Throw in her photogenic looks and her propensity to endear herself with the security establishment and she is the poster child for the ISI. This poor author does not share the same connections as Fatima Bhutto, so she will clearly not pass of (Fatima’s) alleged ISI links as established fact. Clearly, my humble perception was reinforced when I read her recent article, “Why my uncle Asif Ali Zardari’s rule in Pakistan cannot be trusted“.

The most outlandish spin in her article was that it was President Zardari who had banned facebook in Pakistan:”banned 500 websites — including YouTube, Facebook and Google — under the pretence of protesting against anti-Islamic material on the web” Two months ago, in their zeal to accommodate their political benefactors, Pakistan’s compromised Judiciary allowed for petitions that called for the banning of facebook and all the sites alluded to by Fatima. In their Islamist zeal, the Lahore High Court passed a judicial order that called for closing internet access to facebook. Zardari’s coalition government, already being lynched by the Judiciary had no choice but to comply. It is extremely disingenuous of Fatima to completely remove the context and the major instigators of internet censorship in Pakistan and place the blame on the President. The latter had already limited his role in governance by initiating and guiding the parliament to pass the 18th Amendment that gave back most executive powers to the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers! What Fatima completely fails to mention is that the temporary facebook banning in Pakistan had nothing to do with Zardari and everything to do a venal, compromised and politicized Judiciary that was returning favours to its Jamaat Islami backers.

This is the same Judiciary whose four senior judges, including the Chief Justice, were re-instated by the de facto ruler of Pakistan. What Fatima conveniently sidesteps is the reactionary movement that “restored the Judiciary” and that comprised of the Taliban, failed bourgeoisie “intellectuals and the North Punjabi political elite was put in place by the security establishment to pressurize the PPP into accepting its political diktat. However, this is not the narrative that one will hear from much of the reactionary middle class “intelligentsia” and certainly not from someone who is still undergoing a psychosis where she blames Zardari and the late Benazir Bhutto for the death of her father and uncle. Maybe some therapy is in order.

The rest of the article traverses a similar path of the same rehashed propaganda that is at times quite shoddy. It stays on script when it blames Zardari for his alleged looting of the country to the tune of 2-3 billion (the number is always variable and depends on the mood of the day and the accuser) and for all the violence in which the highest casualties are actually the secular nationalists who vote for the PPP or their coalition allies, the ANP.

Fatima rehashes the same tired Islamist apologies that condemn drone attacks against Al Qaeeda based militants that have held Pakistan’s Pushtun population as hostage without examining the role of these militias in killing thousands of innocent Pakistanis; especially the brutal attacks on Pakistan’s religious and sectarian minorities. She completely ignores the fact that these drone attacks have killed scores of foreign Islamist militants. Typically of the contemptuous attitude of Pakistan’s upper class elites, the alternative narrative of the Pushtun Nationalists, who have suffered the most from Taliban violence and who do not sympathize with the security establishment’s role in supporting the Taliban, finds no mention in her diatribe. For Pushtuns, the drone attacks are a necessary evil that killed significant members of the Taliban leadership, including the Pakistani Taliban chief, Baitullah Meshud just months ago. Offcourse, such facts would be an uncomfortable aberration in the cozy and simplistic narrative that is spouted by the likes of Fatima Bhutto and her urban elite counterparts and high society celebrities.

After all, her well articulated spiel is the trashy narrative that passes off as nationalism amongst Pakistan’s elite class who cling on to it every rotten lie and its interconnected edifice; an edifice that consists of millionaire media bigots, corrupt bureaucrats, violent mullahs and billionaire businessmen and the khakis who control all the shots. Her narrative is the impotent rage that the educated elites project into attacking Zardari as it prevents them from truly looking at the rot within and without.In throwing everything but the kitchen sink to trash her relatives, Fatima Bhutto stumbles into the realm of the absurd.

“The longer Zardari and his coterie are funded in the billions and welcomed by democratic governments, the longer Pakistan will remain hostage to obtuse political posturing, corruption and violent instability. Pakistan and the world cannot afford much more of the Zardaris in power.”News flash Fatima. Zardari and his “coterie” were elected; something that your faction of the party failed to achieve in three consecutive elections in spite of having the backing of your feudal relative and establishment toady, Mumtaz Bhutto; the same disgraced politician who betrayed your grand-father and who was instrumental in sending him to the gallows by collaborating with the then military dictator, Zia ul Haq against his own cousin. It may offend your sensibilities but democratic governments do welcome other nascent democratic governments and their representatives; a fact you many not understand given your predilection to support military dictators, directly and indirectly.

What do you propose if you don’t want Zardari in power; its not as though he came in another coup like Musharraf, Pakistan’s last military dictator whom you defended and supported in a 2008 article. Fatima also fails to mention that the billions that were promised to Pakistan via the Kerry Lugar Bill were part of the most heavily audited aid package ever given to Pakistan, most of which was routed directly to US aid agencies and not to “Zardari’s coterie”.

Ironically, the person who backed his political capital to support this bill was the much reviled Zardari, while the media took its cue from the security establishment and in the ensuing days, the PPP led government was nearly derailed for accepting the anti-Taliban, pro-democratic and anti-proliferation conditions of this bill. Fatima writes: “Zardari denied the meeting through unelected spokespeople”Unelected spokespeople!

Really Fatima.. Are you telling us that spokespeople have to be elected!!! Farhatullah Babar is a senior member of the PPP and is widely respected. I am sure if he stood in an election on the PPP ticket, he would trounce the candidate from your family run fiefdom quite handily as Khohro did in 2008. However, he does not have be elected to be a spokesperson. Neither do federal ministers and provincial ministers. They are chosen by elected representatives because of their ability to perform specific functions. You might want to look that up your father’s notes from Harvard and hope that he attended some lectures at their fabled school of government.

However, I think you will remain more comfortable in your palatial mansion in Clifton from where your step-mom kicked out your aunt, Benazir Bhutto, your feudal estates where your coterie of Ghinwa and Mumtaz disinherited Sanam Bhutto and Benazir’s kids of their rightful inheritance or in the cozy air conditioned environment of Pakistan’s premier elitist cafe and your favourite hangout, “Expresso”. There you and other shinning lights of Pakistan’s upper class elites can blow off the equivalent of half a months average salary of ordinary Pakistanis as you heap further slander on your dead aunt and the current elected leadership of Pakistan.

As you polish off the scrumptious carrot cake there, you can continue to rehash the same establishment propaganda where human rights are the exclusive domain of Aafia Siddiqui and the Taliban and corruption is the exclusive accusation solely against your murdered and lynched relatives and simply does not apply to your buddies whose parents made their fortunes by greasing the hands of the judiciary, avoiding taxes and getting exclusive business deals from those who wield the real power in this country; the establishment and its various subsidiaries against whose crimes, you and your class have never had the moral fibre and integrity, to protest and condemn.

Source: Pakteahouse

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Ali Arqam

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  • Right. Why does the PPP act like a state within the state of Pakistan? The PPP perished with the murder of ZA Bhutto. Benazir and Zardari have made a mockery of the “People’s” party. So much for an egalitarian democracy that ZA Bhutto envision, when the heads of state use the presidential pardon themselves and all other tools of the PPP.

  • Kamran Khan [The Correspondent of The News International/Washington Post] was the one who met with Murtaza in Damascus (Syria) [at the behest of Brigadier (r) Imtiaz] several times and insist him to come back to Pakistan, Kamran used to fly to Syria every month at that time. Read observation of Mr Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid on Kamran Khan.

    Excerpts are from a book, Kamran Khan was then a Correspondent for The News International/Jang Group of Newspapers’s News Intelligence Unit. I wonder why our Esteemed Journalist Kamran Khan suffer from acute Inferiority Complex to name his feature as if its a section of US Central Intelligence Agency, he should have been proud of just quoting the story as Special Report.??? What is News Intelligence Unit? There must be a difference between Special Branch Report and Newspapers..

    “QUOTE”

    Murtaza Bhutto; Events after his murder

    Kamran Khan, a correspondent of The News, appeared with a written request that he should be heard as a witness to reply to the statement made by the former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, to clear his name, to which the tribunal said it was not holding a defamation trial. The tribunal said it was not concerned with who had said what and that the former prime minister had named 50 people in her statement and there was no time to allow all those who had been named in her statement the opportunity to hear them. “We have limited time and by March 17 the report has to be submitted to the government and we will not allow you to examine Ms Benazir Bhutto and if we allow that there will be no end to it,” the chairman observed. The chairman asked him to submit a written statement before March 17. He also observed that he (Kamran Khan) should have come forward earlier, when the messages were being sent to him. He was reminded by the tribunal that one of the reporters of The News, Maqbool Ahmed, was given the message to convey to him for his appearance when his name was mentioned in the list submitted by the PPP (SB) party counsel, Manzoor Bhutta. “You kept quiet when you knew about it through the newspapers. You did not wake up until she came and named you by saying ‘if he could be used by me others can also use him.’ “Kamran Khan said he did not know who Maqbool Ahmed was. He said Ms Bhutto had used the tribunal’s platform to say things against him and, therefore, he wanted to reply to her from the same platform, to which the chairman said she had a locus standii, because her brother had been killed and her husband had been arrested in the case.

    “UNQUOTE”

    Here is more for satisfaction

    “QUOTE”

    Former interior minister Naseerullah Babar paid glowing tributes to Shoaib Suddle for restoring peace in Karachi when in 1994 the Army was withdrawn from the metropolitan city. He said the ISI was involved in the murder of Murtaza Bhutto. He said he had formed a commission to probe against the ISI but pressure was mounted on him and afterwards the inquiry was givenup. He criticized the MQM decision to join forces with the opposition. He said the MQM should join the government for the sake of peace in Karachi. REFERENCE: ‘Bill to cut president down to size this week’ News Desk Monday, April 14, 2008 News Desk http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=14093

    “UNQUOTE”

    BB told and warned Mir because she knew much ahead as to what is going to happen. BB had the foresight which neither Mir Murtaza and nor Shahnawaz had. Tragedy is this that BB was assassinated too despited having so much experience and foresight. Because there wasn’t anybody to warn BB.

    “QUOTE”

    Benazir showed respect when addressing her interior minister. She and the General Sahib liked to engage in intellectual dialogue. Unlike other cabinet ministers, I never saw Babar cringe before his young prime minister. He was in the centre of investigations when Benazirs two brothers were killed. I went to South of France when Shahnawaz died in July 1985. I know exactly what happened and who killed him.

    Why, then, has he not revealed the identity of Shahnawaz’s killers?

    Because I was advised not to go beyond the drawn line, he says. The substance that killed Shahnawaz was used by very few countries. The FBI and the French authorities investigated independently but kept their findings secret because of certain international sensitivities.

    Was dictator Zia behind the act? Perhaps he wanted the Bhuttos wiped out altogether?

    How ironical that 22 years down the road, ZAB’s daughter Benazir should wag a finger at Zia’s remnants who tried killing her in the early hours of October 19! When Ejazul Haq was asked whether he was a suspect in the eyes of Benazir, he merely grinned (just the way his dad used to) and dismissed the allegation as a farce.

    Whodunnit? By Anjum Niaz October 28, 2007 [Dawn Magazine]

    “UNQUOTE”

    “The tribunal held later in 1997 ruled that Murtaza could not have been killed without approval from the highest echelons of government.” [Justice Retd Nasir Aslam Zahid] .

    ”Quote”

    As per Ghazali Book The Fourth Republic Chapter IX While the people speculated about the motives behind the killing of Mir Murtaza Bhutto, Dr. Mubashir Hasan, a former Finance Minister and a founder member of the PPP, was very blunt in his remarks: “For those who have removed Murtaza from our midst, the real problem has been and is Prime Minister Benazir. As long as Murtaza was alive, removing Benazir carried unacceptable risks. Murtaza could take over the mantle of the elder Bhutto’s legend. Else Murtaza and Benazir would be striving for a common cause, separately or jointly. That would have presented formidable political problems. Murtaza gone, the way is clear. Benazir stands perilously weakened. She is the next to go. Such are the brutal pathways of realpolitik.” [Dawn 25.9.1996.]” [For Further Reading UNHCR REPORT ON PAKISTAN OF 1996]

    “UNQUOTE”

  • Ms Nasima … Not good efforts … very cheep …
    ————
    Why Mr Pakistan is so much worried..if he is not involved ..late BB and her policy towards the bhuttos have destroyed the any future possibility of PPP leadership .. and in-fact they do not deserve it any more… sure not through with the current leadership and mindset..
    Son and Daughters of BB … dont follow ur parents foot steps see your grandfather if you really like to be lead .. Jia Bhutto

  • hi fatima,
    we are three friends muhammad ashfaq,muhammad asif,and syed muhammad haroon,and haroon is genrel secertry of (pppSB)from korangi town.we have best wishes for you.also we offer you for the bussines and we want to read you’r book wich u have published new edition the name of “lahoo or qalam” please send us on my email address is m_asif00755@yahoo.com or m_ashfaq56@yahoo.com.

  • hi
    ap buhat zaheen ho agar ap thorhe mehnat kareen to kamyabe ap ke qadam chome ge .
    ap age ao hum ap ke sath he
    MANSOOR AHMED KHOSO
    FROM
    KHAIRPUR Mir’S
    Cell no ; 03008312608
    03063666069

  • good post. perhaps a reality check 4 fatima.as a young writer she must realize that its sheer intellectual dishonesty on her part 2 distort the facts according 2 her own whims and caprices. fatima, ur ”credibility” as a ”journalist” is at stake.stick 2 facts not fiction.otherwise,no one will take u seriously.