By Muatasim Qazi
Seattle, United States: Fatima is unlike many Bhuttos. She speaks slowly but critically of her grand-father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The military operation in Balochistan carried out by ZAB keeps haunting Fatima every time she recollects the Bhutto legacy. Her is a voice of rejection of that bloody phase and assurance to the Balochs of unadulterated solidarity.
Presenting a talk on her book “Songs of Blood and Sword” here at the Town Hall Seattle on Saturday, organized by Elliot Bay Book Company, Bhutto, 28, shed light on various issues confronting Pakistan including the issue of Balochistan.
“My grandfather, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was the first democratically elected prime minister of the country and did many good things but, at the same time, he also committed some fatal mistakes such as using force in the gas-rich province of Balochistan that finally led to his downfall.”
Responding to a question of this scribe about the grim situation in Balochistan and the increasing enforced disappearances of Baloch youths, lawyers and intellectuals she said, “One wonders why the issue has raised no concerns among the allies of Pakistan who seem concerned about almost anything that happens in Pakistan. There are eight to ten thousand Balochs missing, as claimed by Baloch nationalists, since 2001 but very few have been resurfaced.”
“Balochistan is the richest province of Pakistan in terms of natural resources and half the country in area and if its resources are properly utilized it could have a GDP similar to Switzerland.” she said.
Referring to the killings of journalists, lawyers and political activists in Pakistan she cited Habib Jalib Baloch’s murder who was gunned down in Quetta in July, “No one knows who is responsible for this,” said Fatima in a grumbling tone.
Throughout her talk she was highly critical of Pakistani governments, present and past. Commenting on Zardari, the president of Pakistan, she said, “Mr. Zardari was known as Mr. 10 percent during the first government of Benazir because of his involvement in corruption, then Mr. 20 percent during the second, and now that he himself is in power, he is Mr. 110 percent.”
Mentioning the devastation caused by the recent floods in Pakistan she said that Pakistani government cannot be trusted due to gross corruption, however people outside Pakistan could help international aid agencies working in Pakistan since these organizations utilize the funds with transparency.
Narrating an excerpt from her book she mentioned how the police killed her father with 6 other companions in Karachi and then washed the scene. “The police officers involved in the “encounter” rose to high ranks and were never indicted,” she complained.
Asked if she intends to join Pakistani politics she said that she doesn’t believe in dynasties and has no plans to get involved in power politics.