I despise the corrupt: Fatima Bhutto

Published: June 20, 2010

Writer Fatima Bhutto wishes she was immune to high fever, loathes dictators and identifies with Micheal Corleone (in Part I, not Part II).

What is your idea of perfect happiness?


What is your greatest fear?

That power and violence conspire so that injustice prevails.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


On what occasion do you lie?

There’s never a good reason, though I know (did I say know? I meant, am related to) a few congenital liars who would disagree with me…

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

As a teenager I felt I had been robbed of great height. I’m fine now though.

Which living person do you most despise?

I despise the corrupt, who believe that power is an excuse for violence and injustice, those who follow the dictates of fear over principles, David Miliband, proponents of censorship, Ariel Sharon and bigots of all persuasions.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Warm heart, clean hands, cool mind. Obviously that includes a sense of humour and some serious IQ points.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Bravery, independence and ethics. The ability to be a  trailblazer. Same as above really.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Depends on who I’m talking to. Basically, mind your own beeswax.

Which talent would you most like to have?

High hay fever immunity, I’ve decided that’s a talent worth having.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My embarrassing turn in regards to Twitter. I love it, but I sincerely hope it’s just a phase.

Where would you most like to live?

Karachi, always. It’s my city by the sea.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Corruption, moral, political and financial. It is the absence of dignity and justice.

If you didn’t do your current job, what would you choose to do?

I would do what I do, writing, thank you very much.

What is your most marked characteristic?

You’d have to ask those closest to me, but I think I have moxie.

Who is your hero of fiction?

Atticus Finch.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

At a talk on Songs of Blood and Sword in London recently, the moderator was Michael Radford, a great director. He told me he had worked with Al Pacino and that I reminded him of Michael Corleone (the early days, Part I not Part II – that’s an important distinction that mafia movie fans will appreciate). I’m not sure he meant it as a compliment, but I took it as one.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Dennis Dalton, my mother Ghinwa, my brothers Zulfi and Mir Ali, Malcolm X, Seymour Hersh, Fred Hampton, the Pakistanis who brought the world’s attention to the citizens disappeared by the state as part of the war on terror, all those who fight against the violence of their states, Henry Porter, Dr Mubashir Hasan.

What’s your favourite quote?

“The struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting” Milan Kundera.

How many hours of loadshedding did you experience yesterday?

As I’m on my book tour I’ve managed to escape KESC’s criminal loadshedding, which is no longer a summer feature but a year round delight. That said, while in Bangalore I had about a minute’s worth of loadshedding (it was impressively short), and last week while in a London cinema the bijli went and the film reel burned. I felt blissfully at home.

Published in the Express Tribune, June 20th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (49)

  • Atif Khan
    Jun 20, 2010 - 1:41PM

    I would only feel Fatima being rational if she dares to bring his fathers criminal activities on forefront. But she is yet one more upcoming biased person who don’t have rational aspect of history. Recommend

  • AHK
    Jun 20, 2010 - 2:19PM

    Haha! her comments on lying and morality are hilarious. Considering how factually inaccurate her book is.Recommend

  • Azhar Ayaz
    Jun 20, 2010 - 3:28PM

    So here we have another imported political leader for the country. Does she know what it feels like to be poor in Pakistan?Recommend

  • rosilva one
    Jun 20, 2010 - 3:35PM

    Why is she wearing a “tilak” on her forehead?Recommend

  • Pulsar
    Jun 20, 2010 - 5:53PM

    Ms. Bhutto when the Zardaris will be done destroying the PPP for sure, it will be nice to see PPP jiyalaas calling for a real Bhutto to please stand up (Bilawal ain’t one no matter how many bhuttos he add in his last name). Sooner or later your bound to end up being the leader of your grandpas party, weather you like it or not. Now you hate politics, then you wont have a choice. Only and only then you will be judged with a hope of not ending up like your aunt (by that I meant corrupt), before that we hold our judgment.

    Did you even read what she said or you were too stuck at her tilka? Recommend

  • Jun 20, 2010 - 6:33PM

    Serious IQ points? Seriously???Recommend

  • Tanveer
    Jun 20, 2010 - 9:56PM

    Be brave not is words but in real life and fight against the corruption and injustice. You know what is injusticeRecommend

  • Farhan
    Jun 20, 2010 - 10:53PM

    AHK what are those exactly? You sound like a Zardari-ite. Get a grip on reality. There are pages and pages of footnotes, or can’t you read?Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Jun 20, 2010 - 10:54PM

    Only the corrupt lie!!!Recommend

  • Farhan
    Jun 20, 2010 - 11:29PM

    AHK Get a grip. There’s nothing inaccurate about Songs of Blood and Sword – there are pages and pages of notes and tons of factual research. Or can’t you read? Recommend

  • Seema
    Jun 20, 2010 - 11:30PM

    She’s wearing the bindi at her book promotion in India. Pakistani women wear bindis too, why are people becoming so religiously/ethnically intoleratn?Recommend

  • OMS
    Jun 21, 2010 - 3:17AM

    I think she’s funny, her prose excellent and her heart in the right place.Recommend

  • Jun 21, 2010 - 10:47AM

    Why does Fatima Bhutto has to portray her father as the unsung hero after his tragic death? She differs herself from the BB on the grounds of justice, whereas she herself has avoided to discuss the deeds of her father.
    The paradox of Pakistani nation is that everyone becomes a hero after death and automatically becomes “Shaheed”, no matter what he did while being alive.

    When do we expect you to standup FB and begin the charity at home?Recommend

  • Khadim Hussain
    Jun 21, 2010 - 11:13AM

    I’m happy with whatever she says, it all makes sense to me even if it does not. The fact that she reminds someone of Al Pacino, is hot. Also she has more character than that kid Bilawal, i’d be more than happy if she ruled me or the countryRecommend

  • Patriot
    Jun 21, 2010 - 12:53PM

    huh! who cares!Recommend

  • mk
    Jun 21, 2010 - 1:47PM

    Good Luck Fatima!Recommend

  • Abhigyan
    Jun 21, 2010 - 2:30PM

    I have read SOBAS and that actually made me aware of Pakistan more than I was aware of in past 30 years. Now if what she had written is true, she can be a good leader and bring development to Pakistan. Let’s just hope that she does join politics and bring some peace, development and prosperity to Pak and reduce the terrorism and anti India hate so that we all can live in peace.Recommend

  • Saim Saeed Tanauli
    Jun 21, 2010 - 3:08PM

    Fatima Bhutto is a very talented and skilled lady but is playing in the hands of conspirators…ppl who have put the Bhutto family to sword…they are not the well-wishers of this family…her uncle Mumtaz Bhutto was not liked to either Bhutto or Benazir…she sides up with him too…she must use her talent and skills in the right place and she will surely do well..he is mature now and needs to identify who have been the wrong ppl and who r the right !!!Recommend

  • Patriot
    Jun 21, 2010 - 6:06PM

    Abhigyan…Get hold of 9th grade Pakistan History book, that would tell you more about Pakistan than this book stopping just short of calling Murtaza Bhutto the next Jinnah!Recommend

  • Jun 21, 2010 - 9:53PM

    she despise David Miliband also, amazingRecommend

  • Jaffar khan
    Jun 21, 2010 - 10:33PM

    do you despise corruption more than an act of hijacking?killing of innocent people?Fighting against own country? You may write anything against the Bhutto family but you can not be the one to lead PPP.You have not been honest in describing various events in your book.Recommend

  • Seher K
    Jun 21, 2010 - 11:22PM

    What did poor David Miliband do? LOL!!! Recommend

  • Ray
    Jun 22, 2010 - 1:26AM

    Against Cultist Desi culture in full sing.
    She is talented and more importantly pretty.
    Why is she cool?
    Because she has a Bhutto in her name.
    If she wasn’t a Bhutto nobody would know her and if she didn’t speak English nobody would know who she is either.
    I hope media would highlight some unknown but talented Pakistanis.Recommend

  • Tippu
    Jun 22, 2010 - 8:07AM

    I know many people (myself incuded) who have hope that fatima presents the new and better generation of politicians in pakistan. that is, if she ever decides to choose that path.
    We are also aware that we placed the same hope in her aunt, Benazir, until her administration turned out to be as corrupt as they come.

    Here’s hoping Fatima stays the course.

    PS And fatima, if you are reading this, do get rid of that bindi. Looks horrid on anyone and especially so on someone blessed with natural beauty.Recommend

  • Abbas
    Jun 22, 2010 - 9:32AM

    Seriously People lighten up. i doubt that anyone of you read her book, because it clearly states it is a daughters memoir. if any of you by chance planned on writing a book re your father. would u actually abuse him in it.. the fact that she has written a boook about her father weighing the pros and cons is commendable enough.Recommend

  • Gulzar khan
    Jun 22, 2010 - 12:57PM

    Fatima Bhottu,,,,teenager…….woh , jock of the day………Recommend

  • bilal hasan
    Jun 22, 2010 - 1:10PM

    if she hates her aunt(benazir) so much, calls her corrupt and murderer then why has she displayed the name of her aunt,benazir on the front page of her ”must read” book.just to cash on her name?ironically,she is introduced on every forum as the neice of former Pakistani PM ,benazir bhutto.no one seems bothered about her ”iconic”father .Recommend

  • Shahryar Ahmed
    Jun 22, 2010 - 1:13PM

    Micheal Corleone is the same person in Part 1 & 2. Its just that with time his true personality came out in the light!

    Beware……choose your sentences wisely Madam. Recommend

  • hina aslam
    Jun 22, 2010 - 1:18PM

    and,yet she despise corrupt—.haha.she is a hypocrite.Recommend

  • paix mundi
    Jun 22, 2010 - 2:37PM

    fatima, get rid of that bindi. you are immaculately beautiful, not needing any embellishment. oh, don’t put such a dark lipstick either. let the pink of your lips show. Recommend

  • Jun 22, 2010 - 4:04PM

    oh the irony…. Recommend

  • Jun 22, 2010 - 8:06PM

    i think she is only interested in writing, people of Pakistan should not expect her to come into politics, nice straight forward Pakistani girl who like to avoid Pakistanis and who saw bad times in her childhood when her father died in front of her :-(Recommend

  • Faraz Ahmed
    Jun 22, 2010 - 9:09PM

    Sometimes I wish we could believe ppl related to politics somehow. She is a fascinating writer, a beautiful woman but thats about it. Looking at her I wish I could believe every word she says but the later part of her name would forever stop ppl doing just that.Recommend

  • Syed A. Mateen
    Jun 22, 2010 - 11:10PM

    Fatima is one of the intelligent girls.

    She should work hard to become an ambassador of peace in the country.Recommend

  • Sameera
    Jun 23, 2010 - 2:52AM

    I don’t think she wants to be in politics, does she? Our country needs more people outside of the political arena to breed some kind of intellectual debate and introspection among our so called educated elite. Do we know enough about our history and are we capable enough of having a debate with someone who has taken the time and made the effort to pen down her thoughts and experiences? We are criticizing her bindi when really we should be reading her book and asking her questions that will either hold her accountable for what she’s written (if it’s not grounded in facts) or it will make us more educated about the reality coming from someone who went through it. All through the ages, esp. since 9/11 we have suffered because whenever someone criticizes our religion or throws a twisted fact in our face, we are not informed enough or not confident enough to refute it. Let us start reading and writing more so we can improve the quality of our public opinion and dialog!! Recommend

  • uj
    Jun 23, 2010 - 4:03PM

    well said sameera!Recommend

  • Asad Latif
    Jun 23, 2010 - 4:18PM

    Fatima Bhutto is brave, educated and above all a realist. She is not your average urbanite who has never set a foot outside the urban cities of karachi, lahore islamabad etc and yet claim to know all about the real politik and assume that military is good and democracy is bad. it is the people who run these institutions that are bad and need to be weeded out. Fatima have faith in the future of pakistan and believe in democracy because afterall democracy is a evolution of the nations politics and eventually it will filter out the good the bad and the ugly.
    come next elections, the rulers will be booted out and then slowly and gradually the real representatives of the people will start filling the parliament. it may take two three maybe 5 more elections but that is when system will be cleansed.
    have faith in the people of pakistanRecommend

  • Syd
    Jun 23, 2010 - 5:45PM

    @rosilva one – heard of do as the romans do?

    btw, Chuck Norris’s IQ is 6000 !!! He’s up for grabs..Recommend

  • shahid alvi
    Jun 23, 2010 - 8:58PM

    she believes in democracy—–,really? go and read her interviews.on every forum she criticises and bad-mouth our politicians.i was shocked to see her condemning pakistani politicians in dehli at the launching ceremony of her book.why she keeps insulting our country where ever she goes. to her information ,there r about 150 indian parliamentarians in the present assembly against whom criminal cases r registered.and who can forget ”pholan devi”. yet they r given respect because they r elected people in the world’s ”biggest democracy”.i have never come across an indian disrespecting his/her elected representatives before an international audience.yes,pakistan is a nascent democracy,our system has many flaws but atleast we r trying to put our political system on the right track.fatima has no right to insult the people of pakistan .she has really dissappointed me.Recommend

  • zainab
    Jun 23, 2010 - 9:33PM

    she forgot to mention her poltical mentor ,the feudal lord ,mumtaz bhutto,as her hero.afterall,he is always there in her party’s jalsas and keep backing her mother ,ghinwa.i feel ”sorry ”4 him.fatima,dont be rude?Recommend

  • MujahiDon
    Jun 24, 2010 - 1:00AM

    very much impressive && simple but sorry to say that her Heroez shud be QUAID E AZAM mohammad ali jinnah or abdul qadeer khan etc….
    Or Katrina Kaif shud b her heroine coz shez much better than david milliband etc :))))))))))))))))))))))))
    bezt of like fatma :)Recommend

  • ray
    Jun 24, 2010 - 8:13AM

    I disagree with Chuckie Norris IQ?
    To me it seems Syd forgot to put Minus besides it…it should read -6000.Recommend

  • Mahsud
    Jun 28, 2010 - 10:01AM

    I strongly hope, Pakistanis are no more credulous to be cheated with bombastic words by imported leaders. Using Bhutto name will never make you a leader, nor do we have the courage to see you as a leader as we have been tolerating the other passengers of your boat badly. To be simpler, your party and family do not have any local and impressive story. Recommend

  • Shafa Ullah Butt
    Jul 1, 2010 - 1:11PM

    For all of you who have expectations with the landlords (Jagirdars)/ Majawars, Businessmen & their children to change this country’s destiny … my condolences dearsRecommend

  • Omair
    Jul 4, 2010 - 4:30PM

    I am very skeptical of people who are convinced that politics is a dirty pond but would never volunteer to do something about it. I would much rather see Ms Bhutto do something for the common man from the Parliament House than write books and columns; she can put her influential name to much better use.Recommend

  • Tax Payer
    Jul 6, 2010 - 8:29PM

    to all who have commented above…….

    You have no right at all, you are only a CNIC.
    we are blessed with the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, hubbies in ample to be ruled.

    Just wait till who comes next to rule us….Recommend

  • muhammed ashraf gandehi
    Sep 27, 2010 - 11:46AM

    fatima is mr. bhutto in infancy hope should would not be pro jagirdars in her later life. a talented and dis believer in the hereditory politics of pakistan. leftleaning must go to interior sind to to loearn and live with the poor peopleRecommend

  • samina khan
    Sep 30, 2010 - 10:45PM

    That book of hrs is so badly written it is worse than a Mills and Boon book. It is riddled with inacuracies and outright lies. She has her own fathers name wrong. The `Bhutto children never had a French nanny and a host of other falsehoods. She would love to be Prime Minister of Pakistan but does not have the guts it takes to be a woman in politics in a fundo male dominated country. I could go on and on but refuse to waste any more of my time writing about her. How do they have so much money to be travelling en famille all over the world? her father never had a job so he never earned. The grand father whose name fame and money she uses and then writes rubbish about him.Recommend

  • nangyal
    Nov 1, 2010 - 3:27PM

    What ever her father was, he was killed brutally rather ferociously.Did she get justice?????
    Miss Bhutto who ever you are, human by nature is corrupt. She is a writer and she has her own concepts of categorizing people and ,situations which are almost her own creations.Recommend

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