Sanam disputes Fatima’s views
BY SANAM BHUTTO
As the last surviving child of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, I feel a sense of obligation to respond to some of the allegations made by my niece Fatima Bhutto in her recently published book Songs of Blood and Sword.
Specifically, I want to concur with the views expressed by my cousin, my father’s nephew Tariq Islam, in his April 22 letter to Dawn.
In a book so riddled with fabrications and distortions that it is more a fictional delusion than a historical memoir, Fatima Bhutto states that my father, from his death cell, sent his two sons, my beloved brothers Mir and Shahnawaz, off to Afghanistan to establish a terrorist cell by which to wage war on Ziaul Haq.
Tariq Islam, from his first-hand knowledge and direct dealings and conversations with my father, refutes Fatima’s charge. I can firmly and unambiguously agree with him and support Tariq’s description of events as presented in his letter to Dawn. My father, from his jail cell, quite directly and forcefully ordered all four of his children to return to school and finish our educations.
My parents put us on a plane and told us no matter what happens we were to stay on board until it left and return to our universities.
My father never told any of us, his sons or his daughters, to start a terrorist wing, to hijack planes, to murder passengers or to be violent in any way.
My sister, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, chose to avenge his death through the ballot (”democracy is the greatest revenge”) and my brothers may have chosen a different path, but the wishes of my parents were quite clear.
My sister always said that our family should not blame Fatima for the outrageous accusations she makes against us. Benazir said: “Don’t blame the child, blame those who poison her.”
But Fatima Bhutto is not a child any more, she is a grown-up woman and at some point we must be held accountable for what we do and what we say. Her book is an assault on my family, on reality and, above all, on the truth.
My niece would be wise to recall and live by the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson that my father quoted to us in his last letter from his death cell: “Ah what shall I be at 50 if I find the world so bitter at 25.”
Friday, 30 Apr, 2010