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An Autobiography not a balanced history of Modern Pakistan
on May 17, 2008
Benazir Bhutto, mother, first Woman and two-time Prime Minister, and life-long Pakistani patriot, sets forth her version of Pakistani history here - at least the history during her and her father's reign. Her version is a private chronicling of her public life; her educational years; and her years incarcerated, under house arrest, and in exile.
It is often laced with bitter memories and understandable bitterness expressed towards the murderer of her father, ex-President Zia-ul-Haq; towards those who were responsible for her incarceration, which lasted for a total of about seven years. She also has many equally unkind things to say about the viciousness of Pakistani internal politics, although the role her family played in making it so is carefully omitted.
On balance, her outlook and the book are generally upbeat. She never completely loses faith in, or gives up on the hope and the dream that Pakistan can turn itself around and become the kind of open democracy she envisioned it to be, and which, almost with an obsession, that ended in her death, she seemed bent on leading it to become. Agreeing to an arranged marriage to a Pakistani playboy, she admits to being not much of either a mother, or a wife: politics remaining her primary preoccupation throughout her adult life.
In the wake of her assassination, her autobiography seems to have served as part of the national mourning process, at least for her followers and admirers. And while this book, her autobiography, naturally portrays her as the national hero that she surely is, we all know that her reign as leader of Pakistan was not without its own problems and was itself beset with many intrigues. None of this is mentioned in the book. One hopes, that in due course, a more definitive and a more balanced account of Pakistani history covering the period of her and her family's reign, soon will be forthcoming. Four Stars