Daily Archives: June 25, 2008

Goodbye Shahzadi – the controversial book

Raza Rumi

We are posting two reviews of the new book on Benazir Bhutto authored by Shyam Bhatia. The first is a critical, crisp impression of M.A. Soofi; and the other is by the legendary Khushwant Singh who discusses wider issues such as corruption comparisons between India and Pakistan and apparently believes whatever Bhatia has written despite the condemnation from late Bhutto’s spokesperson.


Mayank Austen Soofi: An Indian journalist’s sleazy biography of Benazir Bhutto.

Book Review – Goodbye Shahzadi, Shyam BhatiaPetty games people play. Indian journalist Mr. Shyam Bhatia who had known Ms. Benazir Bhutto since her student days in Oxford, during the 70s, have penned a quickie biography of Pakistan’s late prime minister. He has accused her of smuggling nuclear secrets to North Korea during a state visit to Pyongang by carrying CDs containing data about uranium enrichment in an overcoat “with deepest possible pockets”.

That’s just the most serious charge in this thin, seemingly hurriedly written book that has little flair for fine writing and hardly any consideration for credible sources to back up its wild claims.

Mr. Bhatia calls the young Ms. Bhutto a ‘self-obsessed’ girl with legendary tantrums who would throw “ashtrays like flying saucers at the servants” in ancestral home at Larkana.

Indeed, his Benazir-at-Oxford emerges as quite a flamboyant woman who drove a yellow MG sports car, dunked down white wine, and had a “myriad of mostly white boyfriends.” However, Mr. Bhatia soon contradicts himself by claiming that Ms. Bhutto was madly in love with “two extremely handsome Pakistani students” who (here’s the cake) “firmly rebuffed marital enquiries on her part”.

In this breezy breathless portrayal of Benazir’s young days, Mr. Bhatia hasn’t inserted any footnotes to add to the credibility of his ‘accusations’.

There’s more. Continue reading


Filed under Benazir Bhutto, Books, History, India, journalism, Pakistan, Politics

The Urban Frontier: Karachi

Posted by Raza Rumi
This is a brilliant series from the NPR on Karachi and its myriad issues and stark inequalities. We are posting the leads and links here for easy reference. Readers should not miss it.
Commuters in Karachi's Lyari district.
Akhtar Soomro for NPR

Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, is growing so fast that estimates of its population range from 12 million to 18 million. The country’s financial capital is also a city where about half the population lives in illegal houses. In Karachi, Morning Edition begins a series called “The Urban Frontier,” about the world’s expanding cities.


Land Ownership a Root of Many Problems in Karachi

June 11, 2008 · As part of the “Urban Frontier” series, Steve Inskeep reported last week from Karachi, Pakistan — one of the world’s largest cities. He found problems there familiar to cities around the world: from ethnic, religious and political strife to water shortages and pollution — and land ownership was a common undercurrent. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizens, Karachi, Pakistan, Politics, poverty, public policy, urban