JAIPUR: Is Imran Khan Pakistan's new saviour? Forget it, says Fatima Bhutto, the granddaughter of Pakistan's legendary leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto amid rumours about her joining the former cricketer's party.
"As a woman, I worry very much about Imran's politics," said Bhutto, the author of "Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter's Memoir", a biography of the Bhutto dynasty, here Sunday.
"Is he a saviour? No, I don't think so," said a sneering Bhutto while questioning Khan's commitment to secularism and the minorities.
"He has an incredible coziness not with the military but with dictatorship," the 30-year-old Bhutto said at a session focused on Pakistan on day three of the Jaipur Literary Festival.
With Pakistan caught in a whirl of political turmoil and the civil-military ties fraying by the day, the ambitious Khan, a cricket-turned-politician, is projecting himself as the face of change.
At the end of impassioned polemics, Karan Thapar, the celebrity television anchor who moderated the discussion, declared magisterially: "Well, that's the end of Imran Khan."
Fatima Bhutto has been backing stepmother Ghinwa Bhutto's party, the Pakistan Peoples Party (Shaheed Bhutto).
Speaking at another session on "War, Revolution and the Writer as Exile," Bhutto said: "Pakistan is a country of many unofficial wars."
Revealing her literary side, the petite Bhutto, the niece of assassinated former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto, said Pakistan was a country which exiled her once and where she is at home and not yet at home.
"I was born into exile (in Kabul), my father was in exile. I lived in exile. It's even third space, it's fifth or sixth place," Bhutto told the crowd of bibliophiles, socialites and literary tourists.
"The subcontinent is a country of exiles. Exile is a condition that speaks to us," Bhutto, also a poetess who shot into fame with her debut "Whispers of the Desert."
She recalled how she was born in Kabul and then had to go with her father, persecuted by the Zia-ul-Haq regime, to Syria. And for the first eight years of her life, she spoke Arabic and hardly knew what Pakistan was like.