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Fans mob Pakistani women writers in Jaipur


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Fatima Bhutto speaks as Karan Thapar and Ayesha Jalal watch during the annual Literature Festival in Jaipur.—Reuters

JAIPUR (India): Celebrated Pakistani women writers — historian Ayesha Jalal and social activist Fatima Bhutto — were mobbed, applauded and loved at the Jaipur Literary Festival here on Sunday where they canvassed support for friendlier ties with India and pooh-poohed the prospects of a military coup in their country.

Clearly upstaging the top-billed American media star Oprah Winfrey who made a widely televised appearance at the festival at the same time, though at a separate platform, Miss Bhutto and Ms Jalal were roundly cheered for an incisive analysis of the evolving political situation in Pakistan and its impact on the world.

Ms Jalal evoked peels of laughter when she claimed that India had moved to the third spot and America had replaced it to become the enemy number one in common perception across Pakistan. Asked who was deemed the enemy number two, she smiled: “Israel.”

Pakistan’s High Commissioner Shahid Malik intervening in the discussion endorsed Ms Jalal’s claim that recent talk of a coup had flowed from media hype. “I don’t see a coup taking place as all the state institutions are working according to the constitution,” Mr Malik said.

He invited Indians to seize the moment for an unprecedented rapprochement with Pakistan, saying that it was for the first time ever that all stakeholders in Pakistan — the civil society, media, the opposition and the army — “are on the same page” for friendly ties with New Delhi.

The Bhutto scion thought it was demeaning for her country to be gripped by political arithmetic in parliament and the parties jostling for power outside as real issues faced by a vast majority of Pakistanis were being sidelined.

She listed Pakistan’s dismal investment in health care and the fact that millions were starving in the agriculture-rich country as scandalous.

Miss Bhutto was particularly severe on PTI leader Imran Khan for what she considered to be his support for obscurantist causes and his alleged anti-women stand on a landmark bill in parliament.

When she woke up to the call of Azaan in Jaipur, she was disoriented for a while because she had not anticipated the sound in India. That revelation tugged at the emotional chords of the audience and drew a long applause. A few thousand milling fans had crammed into an otherwise large enclosure.

Miss Bhutto slammed the “American occupation of Afghanistan” and cited what she said was a credible analysis to claim that US drone attacks were mostly killing innocent people — 30 possibly genuine militants in every thousand innocent people annihilated, she said.

Indian TV anchor Karan Thapar, who hosted the discussion, observed that the two women from Pakistan had drawn more serious people to listen to them than the American TV star next door.

DAWN_VIDEO - /1029551/DAWN-RM-1x1

Comments (58) Closed

Sunita Wadiyar Jan 23, 2012 03:47pm
Fatima Bhutto was in Jaipur?
Salman dasti Jan 23, 2012 04:52pm
A news article full of hope. I have more expectations from Fatima than Imran.
Salman Dasti Jan 23, 2012 05:02pm
I am expecting rational, Intellegent and better politics from Fatima than newly arrived politicians including Imran Khan
Danish Bawla Jan 23, 2012 05:34pm
People expected the same from benazir and look what she did. It's time to stop expecting and start doing.. Like shehzad Roy's song. " hai jis ka tujhay intezaar woh Khud tu hi hai"
Zain Ali Jan 23, 2012 06:02pm
I request Fatima to join politics.
osman Jan 23, 2012 06:30pm
and what credentials does fatima bhutto have to earn our support if she were to enter the political arena??? she may be a great writer and may have championed the cause of random NGOs but there is absolutely NO indication whatsoever that she will be any good for the country as a leader. There are no short-cuts to a strong, successful democratic government. We have to stick with the politicians we have and continue the electoral process over and over and over again until it weeds out the crooks. If it means voting for Zardari/ Shareefs or IK ten times over it is better than pinning your hopes on some twenty-something year old who's only claim to fame is mildly attractive looks and a notorious last name.
jssidhoo Jan 23, 2012 06:41pm
Pakistani's get a warm reception in India & Indian's get a warm reception in Pakistan.
Amjad Wyne Jan 23, 2012 07:07pm
May be so but in the interest of where this country needs to go, we need a break from the Bhutto, Sharif, Chaudhry names that have made government of Pakistan a family business.
Maqsud Khwaja Jan 23, 2012 07:17pm
I agree with Mr. Dastie and repeat his message with an addition that people of Pakistan in general and well wishers of "real people party", not " Zardiarie League" are looking forward for a leader, a real leader. I am sure and I pray that Fatima be a leader who can lead party of her Late, grand father. In the last, I repeat, what Mr. Dastie wrote, "I am expecting rational, Intellegent and better politics from Fatima than newly arrived politicians including Imran Khan" Reply
Karun Khanna Jan 23, 2012 07:39pm
Fatima Bhutto was surprised hearing the early morning Azaan in India?Oh cmon,give me a break !!Surely she is well informed to know that there are more Indian than Pakistani muslims !But yes - always a pleasure these interactions with our Pakistani friends.The Jaipur Lit Fest (Rushdie notwithstanding)was another great international fun event in wonderful Rajastan which today boasts of several world class tourist destinations.Karun New Delhi
parvez Jan 23, 2012 08:38pm
i request her to stay away.
Naveeda Shaikh Jan 23, 2012 08:41pm
That was Benazir, and this is Fatima. She (Fatima) has already talked about reflection of woman outside the power, and inside the power. So, you can not say that she would not demarcate her actions from so-called impediments that are occurring to the progress of the country. I never understand when people sounding great, criticize Benazir. She might be corrupted, but to me that seems like someone wanting to do something, but pressurized for something else. Yeah, I mean evidents as dates changes on the FIRs and Court hearings or verdicts clear it. She was innocent politically, I do not mean by her personal life. No one must interfere her personal life. She did not kill people, as politicians are doing now. But as always was trapped, and she was trapped.
sarmad Jan 23, 2012 08:51pm
Previously I thought Fatima Bhutto is pretty average in her thinking but they way she analyzed Imran Khan and pointed out his past opposition to a landmark bill against women is impressive. For those Pakistanis who think that Imran Khan is a revolutionary who can turn the table they need to listen carefully what Fatima is saying. I wish if she can be politically active on the platform of PPP which is suitable to her thinking by default. Today though PPP (SB) is smaller but politics is an art of impossible. She is capable to impress emerging middle class in the country.
Ajay Kumar Ladkani Jan 23, 2012 08:55pm
I am amazed that dawn is covering jaipur Literary festival in more exhaustive and better way than Indian newspapers. I am equally amazed and do feel that in academic and literary brilliance, ladies excel despite some social barriers in Pakistan.Now let us hope that things settle down and democracy prevail in our neighbour country.
Umair Jan 23, 2012 08:58pm
Couldnt agree more!
Ajay Kumar Ladkani Jan 23, 2012 09:03pm
I am amazed that dawn is covering jaipur Literary festival in more exhaustive and better way than Indian newspaers. I am equally amazed and do feel that in academic and literary brilliance, ladies excel despite some social barriers in Pakistan.Now let us hope that things settle down and democracy prevail in our neighbour country.
truth_seeker Jan 23, 2012 09:06pm
Fatima is different tunes to different audience. She pretends to be critical of West's attacks on Islamic countries but her commentaries in western press are all Pro Attack. She had been completely supportive of NATO terror in Libya and Syria
BK Jan 23, 2012 09:07pm
Fatima has a right to her opinion and also has the art to express it quite eloquently. It is definitely good to hear her blast IK, though her criticism about IK has not changed the fact that I will still vote for him (Inshallah). Usually what Fatima does is reiterates the problems our country has and how corrupt our politicians are, but then what? she rarely talks about a solution or has seriously tried to do something for common men of Pak. Our system/politics is very very dirty and its not easy to join and be a part of such a system. At least IK has the guts to do so and an objective to serve the people. He may not be perfect but is definitely the best option we have in Pak right now. I think that Fatima should start thinking about presenting solutions to our problems instead of repeating again and again about the problems we have (which btw everyone knows about as we are living through them). I do thank Fatima for representing Pak in a positive way on international stage.
Krish Jan 23, 2012 09:43pm
That sounds lots like Gandhi's " Be the change you want to see in the world "
asad Jan 23, 2012 09:56pm
WHO IS FATIMAH BHUTTO ? Every one knows Imran Khan and his work. Jan 23, 2012 10:29pm
i mean, i dont know, why you people are targeting imran khan?? what he did wrong?
majid khan Jan 23, 2012 10:36pm
i don't really know,why you people are against Imran khan?
Nasr KiKi Jan 23, 2012 10:46pm
A person is better judged by what is spoken by him or her. Fatima's speeches, lectures, writing shows of her high intellect and thoughtful ideas and capabilities. She definitely posses a better mind. I think she can deliver a lot of good for Pakistan. I think she should get an opportunity.
shantanu Jan 23, 2012 10:48pm
I was there at Jaipur Lit Fest .. although the Seminar was overcrowded by INDIANS the OPRAH one had much more audience ..but the interactions with ms bhutto and ms ayesha jalal was brilliant and I got a signed copy of Ms bhutto's book after the session .. she is very beautiful ..
n.qureshi Jan 23, 2012 10:54pm
hope she joins politics.imran has questionable views about a lot of things besides women.
Salman Jan 24, 2012 12:13am
Ms. Bhutto, please stay out of pakistani politics. Thank you.
usman Jan 24, 2012 12:27am
There is a big difference between analyzing from the drawing room and playing in the realm of politics on field. Only Imran has proven his metal as a genuine altruistic political leader. The kind of light at the end of the tunnel today, is because of Imran and not because of her or her mother who have been in politics for more time than Imran. This is my candid opinion.
Vikram Jan 24, 2012 02:17am
It will be too hard on her to be in politics in a country like Pakistan at the present time. No honest person can become a politician and survive.
lubna Jan 24, 2012 02:31am
you need a vision to get pakistan out of current troubles.if one have vision then plan within resources come none of the current bhuttos or zardari or any other politician have any vision for pakistan but imran appears to have a vision so there is a chance of some positive coming out.all others will give only negatives for pakistan since they arenot sincere to pakistan but only sincere to hoard wealth
Dehwar Jan 24, 2012 02:31am
Fatima is much much different than Benazir, and more intelligent. I think she should stay away from paki's dirty politics.
Haris Jan 24, 2012 02:49am
I endorse parvez
sam Jan 24, 2012 03:05am
fatima bhuto,who??
Adil Jan 24, 2012 04:41am
Giving speeches and being articulate doesnt make one person a leader. She doesnt care about pakistan. And i dont care about her. She is trying to give her western and intellect image to the world. I hope Pakistanis will elect Imran KHan .He is the only hope. I will give him my vote inshallah.
Raja Jan 24, 2012 05:28am
I rather stick with Gilani.
Faiza Ghulam Rasool Jan 24, 2012 07:00am
i suggest if she is against PTI then she stays away from politics, because then she is against change and pro-status quo.
Moeen Jan 24, 2012 07:11am
Given the track record of ZAB and BB, dont expect much from Fatima. Just being a Bhutto does not make one a politician. At least Khan Saheb has a track record of leading Pakistan cricket team, setting up SKMH and a university in Mianwali. And did all of them with quite a success !
Agha Fahad Khan Jan 24, 2012 10:26am
So far Ms. Bhutto point out chronic issues of Pakistan currently engulfed in, can we put down the solutions to these problems, if government cant do we can do it. I am by profession an Investment Banker,we as an institution knows the exact situation of the country as are bread and butter depends on it. So many solutions to the problem!!!!!
Salman Jan 24, 2012 10:27am
Sidelined and Marginalized.
syedsabih Jan 24, 2012 11:09am
well put sir jee.
Sajad Padder Jan 24, 2012 11:25am
It is our common culture & history that is binding us together by heart & mind. India and Pakistan must act together to save our millions of hungry people. Ofcourse there are security concerns in both countries but only a joint effort & mutual trust will annihilate this menace.
Awais lodhi Jan 24, 2012 11:40am
the only thing they are getting good at after getting elected 'over and over and over again..' is deceiving us. we need new faces..
Afaq Jan 24, 2012 12:47pm
I request her and her family to forgive Pakistan for sake.
imran Jan 24, 2012 01:06pm
Please no more Bhuttos. We have enough of them.
Zubair Baloch Jan 24, 2012 01:20pm
Well said. My vote is for IK too. WE NEED THE CHANGE or WE WILL BE FINISHED.
Aj Jan 24, 2012 01:24pm
You deserve Gilani
AJ Jan 24, 2012 01:32pm
Who is Fatima Bhutto? Dude, You need to get out more :)
rizwanmahesar@yahoo. Jan 24, 2012 01:43pm
Fatima has gr8 vision than Ik..:I totally disagree with those who undrstd that Bhutto's cldn't did any thng in pak...who bought atom bomb? Who care peasants 8 d grass root level fstly?plz ths qst0n 4 th0s who r syng bhutto did n0thng...
Mahesh Patil Jan 24, 2012 03:34pm
You are right.I am also a witness.
Rubab Jan 24, 2012 03:37pm
nice...its good to see such events...well i do not understand why people are comparing Fatima Bhutto with Imran Khan?? just because she criticized something of IK? do you people think IK is free of any problames and he should not be criticized???being against IK means pro status quo??? come on .....its so nice at least we have someone who is criticizing IK this is good for IK if he wants to improve......this is basic problem with out nation to run after some one blindly...what if IK doesnt bring the change he is asking for....i am sure people would think i m against IK now:P and its not true but accept criticism and hope for the good.....Ftima Bhutto is a writter, she represents pak on many forum she has all rights to criticize anyone.....its your choice if you like that or not but be tolerant
atul Jan 24, 2012 04:18pm
very interesting article & great learning. Encouraging to read & hear about Literary side of "Pakistan"
explorer Jan 24, 2012 04:43pm
Well its not true, she speaks again Afghan, Iraq and libya wars at other international forums as well, check it at youtube. She has the talent, provided opportunity she can deliver. She is well aware of Pakistan from Chitral to Karachi, though she was brought up outside Pakistan,
Nathan Jan 24, 2012 04:50pm
Ms. Bhutto was right on the money in analyzing the cricketer turned politician Imran Khan. Khan has America as his favorite target because Pakistani people are against America.He has never articulated a vision to solve any of Pakistan's multitude of woes, he has simply taken advantage of them for political expediency. On issues of secularism and Islamist extremism, he is a bystander with no clear views. In my opinion, Pakistan needs a visionary leader who can unite its people to support Pakistani nation and moderate Islam. Only tolerant Islam can cure Pakistan's woes, and Imran Khan has never expressed support for moderate Islam. Mrs. Bhutto came close to being such a visionary leader prior to her premature death. In Egypt, moderate Islam is now in ascendance, and elsewhere in Arab countries moderate Islam with democratic roots is now taking shape. If Pakistan wants to turn the corner from its inner conflicts, people should rise up and promote a culture of tolerance, which the country sadly lacks now. If Imran Khan can not speak up on what is good for Pakistan, he will be swept away in the obscurantic tide of Islamic extremism, which is the face of Pakistan now. It is heartening to see Ms. Fatima Bhutto open up her inner feelings in the enemy territory.
M. Asghar Jan 24, 2012 05:47pm
This was a literary affair. Please keep it this way and see how the two neighbours can work together for the people of the subcontinent.
Naveeda Shaikh Jan 24, 2012 07:22pm
Are you suspecting Dawn's authenticity? If this has been reported, it would be true. And BTW, she was in Jaipur; reports say that.
Sami Jan 25, 2012 10:14am
I saw the whole thing in Jaipur online. I was so disappointed by Fatima's performance when she even couldnt explain her views and often didnt touch the question directly. I was suprised when she saying so much rubbish and bunch of lies about Imran Khan. Imran Khan is the only person who actually did something good for our country. I was laughing when I saw Fatima trying to copy that British accent and wearing jeans to show off her articulate skills. We dont need her at all , Pakistanis are better off without her. i will choose Imran Khan 1000 tims.
Ghulam Muhammed Jan 26, 2012 06:42pm
I am an Indian Muslim, born in and resident of Mumbai. On my first visit to Delhi back in 1960's I landed from HK in the night and got accommodation in a Hotel in New Delhi Area. I too was awakened in the morning by the sound of Azaan and I wept. I had thought we Muslims have lost India for good. So I am not surprised if Ms. Bhutto was awakened by the sound of Azaan in Jaipur -- least imagining that Muslims had been in the city for centuries and are still there. Unfortunately, now their existence is under the radar. We are the forgotten people.
bharat Jan 27, 2012 01:52pm
As an Indian,i must admit Pakistan has many pretty girls.
Asif Aug 18, 2012 01:59am
Not anymore buddy. Now there are more muslims in Pakistan than India. Check the population figures before commenting. Thanks.