Islamabad: Fatima Bhutto, the niece of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto, says the "manufacture of fear" has become Pakistan`s main industry and there are terrifying "rumours and whispers" about who will be the next target of terrorists.
"There are stories being whispered in Pakistan these days, and their veracity is hard to gauge. No one knows what is real anymore in this country that seems hell-bent on self-destruction," Fatima, 27, wrote in an online magazine.
"In fact, our chief industry now seems to be the manufacture of fear, and everyone’s on the assembly line. The combination of ever-present violence and lack of reliable information has made us a country of debilitating Chinese whispers."
She pointed out that there is talk of terrorists planning a "Beslan-style siege" and that they will target primary schools, take hostages and kill the young.
"The carnage at the Islamic University of Islamabad...in two coordinated attacks on the campus, is moving off our front pages to make way for new atrocities…What happens to a Pakistan that can no longer defend itself from its own people?" she said, referring to last week`s twin suicide bombings there that killed eight persons.
"This is not a whisper. This is not an is-it-or-isn’t-it-true rumour. This is a warning…This is what life in Pakistan has become.”
“We`ve been made into scavengers, hungry for signs of who may be targeted next," wrote Fatima, who is working on a book to be published by Jonathan Cape in 2010.