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I can never leave Pakistan: Fatima Bhutto


New Delhi: Fatima Bhutto, the niece of slain former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, says that in spite of the violence her family has suffered, including the killing of her father Murtaza Bhutto, she “could never leave” the country.

“Amidst all this madness, all these ghosts and memories of times past, it feels like the world around me is crumbling, slowly flaking away,” she writes in her just-published memoir “Songs of Blood and Sword” (Penguin/Rs.699).

“Sometimes, when it’s this late at night (she writes in the Epilogue dated April 2009), I feel my chest swell with a familiar anxiety. I think, at these times, that I have no more place in my heart for Pakistan. I cannot love it any more. I have to get away from it for anything to make sense; nothing here ever does.

“But then the hours pass, and as I ready myself for sleep as the light filters in through my windows, I hear the sound of mynah birds. And I know I could never leave,” Fatima writes.

Murtaza was killed Sep 20, 1996, when Fatima was 14, in a shootout near his Karachi residence. On Dec 3, 2009, a Karachi court acquitted 20 policemen charged with the killing.

The Bhutto family has had to contend with violence for the last four decades, losing one member every decade.