Fatima Bhutto and her songs of Blood, Sword and Fairytale -by Suleman Akhtar

She was beautiful, she was eloquent, she was vivid, she was witty – while orating at the occasion of Sydney Writers’ Festival – In the same breath she was naïve, she was hollow, she was flimsy, she was juvenile.

Seemingly, she is not yet out of trauma of her beloved father’s death and this, unfortunately, has become undistinguishable part of her personality to involve the personal run-ins whilst speculating about national issues. The recent delivered speech clearly epitomizes what was the emblem of her book – ‘Songs of Blood and Sword’ published in April, 2010- i.e. selective amnesia and fiction in absence of fact.

The speech starts with the popular state propagated narrative of politicians’ bashing and she makes no mistake by picking out her very near and dear punching bag Asif Ali Zardari whom she terms as Mr. 10%, Mr. 50%, Mr. 110% where the appellations are associated with last three terms of PPP. There was not a single utterance of the fact that the man had spent eleven precious years of his life behind the bars and not even a single corruption charge could be proved despite the tedious efforts of his foes in civil as well as military establishment. And then the much anticipated NRO claptrap where she, like always, misses out the point that same ordinance became the basis of return of two exiled leaders to Pakistan and paved way for the revival of much needed democracy by doing away with the legal implications of decades long political victimization. No wonders the indoctrination is the reflection of her memories of her father given the family differences of Bhutto clan that she stated in her book here and there. As for an instance she rewrites a poem written to her by her father:

“Here is a small one on Wadi [Benazir] and Slippery Joe [presumably Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir’s husband]
Inky, Pinky, Ponky
Her husband is a donkey
Both loot the country
Her husband is a monkey
Inky, Pinky, Ponky.”

Aside from the political rants the most unscrupulous account of the speech is associated with national security issues where she conveniently displays blatant dishonesty by parroting the rhetoric of distant observers and likes of Tariq Ali and other armchair leftists who seem to be unaware of iota of ground realities. She handily portrays drones as an evil entity and the only reason of dissemination of militancy and terrorism by effusively pointing out the 52 drone attacks during the months of 2010 when Pakistan was suffering from one of the most calamitous natural disaster of history. What she wholly missed out was that during the same months the monsters killed around 500 innocent citizens in terrorist attacks waged across the country.

To further predicate her apprehension she mentions a report “Do Targeted Killings Work?” released by Brookings Institution, a public policy think tank based in Washington, D.C. The report claims that “for every militant killed, 10 or so civilians also died” without providing any source of information and statistical data. That was another glaring example of her selective amnesia. Had she slightly interested in getting the whole picture instead of relying on the reports that further reinforce her convenient inclination, she could have easily accessed the local media reports that show the consent of locals of FATA over the Drones. As far as statistics and facts are concerned she could have considered the following reports that provide the data of militants killed in Drone strikes and certainly are not in line with her dishonest hypothesis and fondness of fiction instead of facts.

The Year of the Drone
Drone attacks — a survey
New Light on the Accuracy of the CIA’s Predator Drone Campaign in Pakistan

And then comes the most fraudulent anecdote on her part in which she intermingles the disappearance of Baloch activists with the ‘war on terror’ and states the misery of Baloch people as the ultimate consequence of Pakistan’s engagement with the war. This is the narrative what may leave anyone who has even a slightest idea of the situation of Baloch people stunned. She could have further explained what the annihilation of Baloch intellectuals has anything to do with war on terror? How the abductions and extra-judicial killings of Baloch activists are related to Pakistan’s engagement with the war against terrorism? How would she vindicate the selective obliteration of Hazara Shias in Quetta who are being massacred by virtue of being associated with a particular sect? Would she term Professor Saba Dashtyari, Habib Jalib Baloch, Safeer Baloch, Faiz Muhammad Marri, Arif Noor and hundreds of unnamed and unrecognized bullet riddled bodies as American Agents who paid the heavy price of their lives in the lanes of truth and freedom? Why wasn’t there even a single intimation of our heroic security agencies and mighty army who have blood of hundreds of thousands of Bengalis and Baloch on their hands?

There is always a fine thin line between fact and fiction and one falls prey to lose the sight of truth if hides ones personal repugnance behind the cloak of fiction in lieu of withstanding the facts. This is what the speech was all about –the fiction that has evolved as the unannounced national dogma lately and is taking its toll by transforming not only those who are susceptible to get influenced by crooked state propagated narrative but also resourceful educated elite into apologists of militancy and suppression.

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