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People-to-people contact can build bridges: Fatima Bhutto

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 - 00:06

Bangalore: People-to-people interaction could
help build bridges between Pakistan and India, Fatima Bhutto,
the granddaughter of former Pakistan president Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto, said here on Monday.

"It is when people of both countries travel and learn how
both the nations are run and how people live, there could be
better understanding between the two neighbours," Bhutto said
while interacting with readers at a book reading session of
her book `Songs of Blood and Sword` that traces among other
issues events surrounding her father Murtaza Bhutto`s killing.

Despite witnessing violence and assassinations of her
family members, Bhutto said she was "optimistic" about
Pakistan because she truly believed "governments may fail, but
people will never fail. I think there is always room for

Narrating her encounters with her assassinated aunt
Benazir Bhutto and events that followed her death, she said,
"Dynasty had reached fever pitch after Benazir was killed."

As one who clearly voted against dynastic rule, she said
she was appalled when people suggested that she or her
17-year-old brother could consider "filling in".

She said though she was politically active, her role had
been restricted to getting women to come out and vote. She for
now did not see herself joining politics in the near future.

On being asked by a reader what really ailed countries
like Pakistan, Bhutto said, "Lack of accountability."

She said in India news of a judge involved in land
grabbing raises questions. "But we see such things as normal.
We are becoming immune to corruption," she said.

Asked about her memories associated with India, she said,
"There was a lot of Bollywood going around. A lot of Rekha and
Amitabh Bachchan."

On the divide in the Bhutto family, she said it existed
much before Benazir`s death. "It was a different trajectory
that Benazir took to the road to power. It was different from
her father`s and others in the family."

She said her father was "opposed to the line of
compromise with the military", but Benazir took power on the
heels of a lot of compromise. According to Fatima, Benazir
"undid" some of the progressive and socialist legacy of her

She said Benazir kept the hijab, which was unlike the
tradition followed in her family. "She saw it as a way to keep
religious vote," she remarked. Many women in Pakistan saw it
as a big step backward, she said.

To a question on the role of her aunt`s family in the
assassination of her father, she said she suspected a hand.
She said following her father`s killing, the family was not
allowed to move out and when she called up the PM`s house they
"knew more than we did".

However, her idea of justice was not about revenge but
rather to ensure that those who perpetuated it might never be
able to do it to another family.


First Published: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 - 00:06

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