Songs of Blood and Sword by Fatima Bhutto! I wanted to read this book since its launch but couldn’t find it at the library I visit to get my reading ration. Two weeks back, I borrowed it from a freind. The book is mainly about the Fatima Bhutto and her father (Murtaza Bhutto); starting from the life of Bhuttos in 20th century Bhuttos, Murtaza’s youth, exile, conflicts with Benazir, assassination and its aftermath.
Though, the book seemed interesting when I went through its pages randomly, however, found it biased and boring. Though, parts covering the relationship between the father and daughter have been beautifully written and are interesting. Fatima has made interesting observations about his uncle and the current President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari. In a reply to a letter of Fatima, Murtaza Bhutto, who was jailed by her sister Prime Minister in 1994-5, reminds her of a poem she had written during her stay in Damascus. I think no one will find it difficult to understand.
A (funny) poem by Fatima Bhutto!
Inky, Pinky, Ponky
Her Husband is a donkey
Both loot the country
Her Husband is a monkey
Inky, Pinky, Ponky
(Pinky was the nickname of Benazir Bhutto)
Chums of Zardari & Benazir
In her book, Fatima has sometimes openly and sometimes disguisedly named the chums of Zardari. According to Fatima, these people were never part of the original PPP founded by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. They only came after the marriage of Asif Ali Zardari & Benazir Bhutto. Fatima says that Nisar Khuro, current speaker of Sindh Assembly, was an anti-Bhutto and he had chanted “First hang Bhutto then try him!” after Zia ousted Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in a coup d’état. After the execution of Bhutto; Nisar distributed sweets in Larkana. Now he is a prominent leader of PPP Sindh. Fatima also names Dr.
Asim, Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza and her wife Fehmida Mirza(Speaker of National Assembly) as chums of Zardari.
During my reading of the books, I came across some historical errors in the book which I have highlighted below.
Custody of 200 Pakistani Soldiers (Officers)
On page 111-112, Fatima writes: “Pakistan also used the summit (1974 OIC Summit) as an occasion to announce formally its recognition of Bangladesh and in return Bangladesh withdrew criminal charges against some 200 Pakistani soldiers in its custody.”
In reality, 200 Pakistani soldiers were held as Prisoners of War (POW) in India. So, India had the custody of Pakistani soldiers not Bangladesh.
Page 187: ‘During the Khilafat movement in the subcontinent around the Second World War there was a fighter named Obaid Ullah Sindhi – he too was Sindhi- who based his resistance against the British Empire from the Kabul.’
A big error! The Khilafat movement took place after the First World War. It was a Pan-Islamic movement initiated mostly by Muslims of Sub-continent after World War I in an attempt to save Office of Caliphate and Ottoman Empire after the occupation of Istanbul and Treaty of Versailles.
China’s Military Aid
Page 107, Fatima Bhutto claims: “Several months later, in the spring of the year (1972), China sent Pakistan sixty Mi-G fighter jets and one hundred T-54 and T-59 tanks as part of the $300 million economic and military assistance package…”
The only jets Pakistan got from China during 1970s were 30 Shenyang FT-5 (intermediate trainer jet) in 1975.