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I will ‘never’ join PTI: Fatima Bhutto

Janaury 22 2012

Writer and journalist Fatima Bhutto is not impressed by and still critical of Imran Khan’s tsunami, which seems to have swept away many a veteran politicians and won over some critics as well.

Speaking at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Sunday, she made it clear that she was never joining Imran’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, reports American newspaper The Wall Street Journal.

Last month, amid myriad announcements from political heavyweights that they were joining the PTI, there were rumours that Bhutto, a fierce critic of the incumbent government and specifically President Asif Ali Zardari, was also considering the move. Bhutto had promptly responded on microblogging website Twitter, saying that was not even a possibility.

“He has an incredible coziness not with the military but with dictatorship,” Bhutto said of Imran.

Bhutto accused Imran of defending the legacy of former dictator General Ziaul Haq, who came to power in the late 1970s after overthrowing former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Fatima’s grandfather and the founder of the country’s ruling Pakistan Peoples Party. She also mentioned Imran’s support for a 2002 referendum allowing former president General Musharraf to extend his term.

That’s not where it ended. In what appeared to be a well-rehearsed argument to debunk the political credibility of the former cricket captain, Bhutto went on to list more reasons why she opposed his political foray.

“As a woman I worry very much about Imran’s politics,” said Bhutto. She spoke of his opposition to amending a 2006 women’s bill in favour of survivors of rape. She also questioned Imran’s commitment to secularism and to defending minorities.

“Is he a saviour? No, I don’t think so,” said Bhutto, during a Pakistan-focused session at the literary festival.

“Well, that’s the end of Imran,” said news anchor Karan Thapar, who moderated the panel.

At the literary festival, where Bhutto shared a stage with Pakistani-American historian Ayesha Jalal, the tone was one of disillusionment with Pakistan’s political class. Bhutto spoke of the “gulf” that exists between the people in power and the rest of the country, saying that food scarcity – not squabbles between institutions – is the bigger worry for most people.

Spokespersons of Imran’s PTI did not respond to emailed requests for comment. Attempts to reach Imran or his spokespersons by phone were also unsuccessful.


Originally published in The Express Tribune

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