Recently I have read Fatima Bhutto’s book entitled ‘Songs of blood and sword’. The book has been written from the perspective of a daughter who went through a roller coaster childhood in foreign countries and experienced violent deaths of her near and dear ones most notably her father. She projected Murtaza Bhutto (her father) almost as an ideal man who was matted with all the wrongs by military junta of Pakistan first and elder sister (Benazir Bhutto) later. But there is a hint of ‘Electra Complex’ in Fatima Bhutto while describing her father Murtaza Bhutto. However, this is natural for such a young lady who was trying to reconstruct the truth about her father’s life and cause of his violent death.
The writer has done serious research work to dig out the facts she considers to be true. She travelled extensively in Pakistan, as well as, foreign countries to interview people and examined records and remained to a large extent dispassionate about the topic.
Even if twenty five per cent of what Fatima has said in her book is correct, then it gives a very ominous picture of Pakistani politics in general and Bhutto family in particular. We tread the path of a democratic and socialist political approach of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, which was more romantic but impractical in a country like Pakistan. Then came Zia-ul-Haq’s repressive military rule, execution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, fleeing of Murtaza and his brother Shahanawaz from Pakistan and their life in foreign countries.
With the death of Zia in plane crash, Benazir’s proximity with military establishment increased. She married a small timer (Zardari) and became close with many political leaders and influential persons who colluded with Zia and were in the opposite pole of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Benazir became the Prime Minister of Pakistan for the first time and Zardari became ‘Mr ten per cent’. It became clear that Benazir was within the grip of military (and Zardari). Benazir was trying to be the sole successor of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and head of his party the PPP. She tried all tricks to keep Murtaza away from power circle (Shahanawaz died under mysterious condition some years back in Paris). The short tenure of Benazir has been described as repressive with extra judicial torture and killings of political opponents. Money laundering was the habit of Benazir and Zardari.
Murtaza became a member of Sind legislative assembly when he had not come back to Pakistan. Then he came back to Pakistan and started to get his just space in Pakistani politics. Benazir was the Prime Minister for the second time. With the growing of political credibility of Murtaza, Benazir felt threatened and got Murtaza murdered as planned by Zardari in a cruel manner. It was another Karbala. About a decade later Benazir also met with the same fate as Murtaza.
Fatima Bhutto has proved herself to be an iron lady in life and writing.
Additional comment: Nomatter how far “Islamic” Pakistan can be, the Islamised military establishment will always be the main power centre in the country. Civilian governments, when they get brief chance to rule, always remain under the control of military and 30 odd most rich families and devote more time in conspiracies and corruptions. There is no effective programme or honest intention for socio-economic development. Poors simply don’t have any worthy existance in Pakistan. Most rich people have thier nest and money chest in foreign countries. The nexus between Islamic terrorists and military establishment has taken Pakistan to the most dark period of its existance now. What Islam has been doing in that failed state?