From father to daughter
By Gibran Peshimam
Karachi: Back in the crosshairs of flashing cameras, Fatima Bhutto, the enigmatic daughter of Mir Murtaza Bhutto stood on the dais, passionate yet poised, and said plainly to the audience that the man who is now the President of the Republic is the very man who orchestrated the assassination of her father.
The sentiment is not novel, yet the emotion of the occasion betrayed a now tired theory. Launching her book, ‘Songs of Blood and Sword’, at a crowded sleek black ceremony in Clifton Gardens on Tuesday evening, the young Bhutto’s words had a poignant and fresh determination to them. It was not mourning, but a hearty measure of faith with which she spoke. “Nothing, and no one, can defeat love,Â” she said defiantly, “nothing happens to the brave.” There is no justice in politics, but we still seek it, she continued. She quoted, aptly, George Orwell: “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
She paid her father, assassinated a stones-throw away from the site of the gathering, a rich and emotional tribute. Gesturing across the park to the now-trimmed Bunyan trees that lead to 70 Clifton, she recalled how seven men, including her father, were ambushed by “100 policemen” and left on the road to bleed and die.
She was meticulous and explicit in her tribute. She first mentioned and honoured the three men who laid down their lives on the spot by throwing themselves in front of Mir Murtaza; Yar Muhammad Baloch, Sajjad Haider and Rahim Brohi. She then mentioned Sattar Rajpar and Wajahat Jokhio, two associates who expired later.
There was praise for Mir Murtaza’s close friend Ashiq Jatoi, who was also assassinated in the ambush, and whose daughter, Sabeen, initiated proceedings on Tuesday. Jatoi was shot in the back of the neck, recalled Fatima, but his head did not bow even in death. Mir Murtaza, she said, was shot seven times, but was killed by a “point blank shot” through his jaw.
Terming her book a love letter to her “beloved papa”, Fatima said she had kept her final promise to her father. “I promised him,” she said, “that I would tell his story.” And with the launching of her book, she has honoured this promise at a very young age. “Intimidation, money and violence are no match for the truth,” she insisted.
Aside from her father, Fatima dedicated her book to her younger brother, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Jr, who she said reminded her of her father more and more everyday; to her mother Ghinwa Bhutto, whose courage, she said, was second to none; to her grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, whose name, she said, had been hijacked by “murderers and thieves”; to her grandmother, Nusrat Bhutto, who, she said, had been kept away from her family; to Mir Ali, who she termed, the light of her life; and to her uncle Shahnawaz Bhutto, whose daughter, Sassui, was also in attendance.
Fatima was introduced to the gathering — which included Sardar Sherbaz Mazari, Mehraj Muhammad Khan, Elahi Bux Soomro, Ghaus Bux Mahar, Yusuf Masti Khan and Mumtaz Bhutto and — by Imran Aslam.
Aslam’s speech, typically awash with imagery, showered praise on the author, who he said he knew would one day become a writer, and her father. Also recalling the “innocent blood spilled in these very precincts”, he commemorated the “young men who refuse to cut deals and negotiate settlements” and, censured the “naked pursuit of contaminated power.”
Before him spoke Sabeen, who said she stood proud of “Fati,” – a friend she made barely a month before their fathers were assassinated. “You are truly your father’s daughter.” The title of the book, ‘Songs of Blood and Sword’, is derived from executed Iranian poet Khosrow Golsurkhi’s work, “Poem of the unknown.”
Fittingly enough, the last line of that very poem describes the young Bhutto’s defiant demeanor at the launch of her book in a full moon-lit Clifton Gardens, yards away from where her father was shot dead in cold blood 14 years ago: “Your eyes have never been so bright.”
Source: The News