People-to-People Contact Can Build Bridges: Fatima

People-to-People Contact Can Build Bridges: Fatima
People-to-people interaction could help build bridges between Pakistan and India, Fatima Bhutto, the granddaugther of former Pakistan President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, said today.

"It is when people of both countries travel and learn how both the countries are run and how people live that there could be better understanding," Bhutto said here.

She was interacting with readers at a book reading session of her recently launched 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 hope."

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 should raise questions. "But we see such things as normal. We are becoming immune to corruption", she said adding it could have dire consequences.

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

Talking about 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", 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 father's.

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 Paksitan saw it as a big step backward.

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.
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