The system of governance in Pakistan has been a failure but it is absurd to call the country a failed state, Karachi-based writer and columnist Fatima Bhutto said here Friday.
Fatima, niece of the slain former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto, is in India to take part in the Kovalam Literary Festival 2011 Oct 1-2. She will deliver the sixth K.C. John Memorial Lecture on "India and Pakistan: Road to Peace".
"What is happening in Pakistan is not democracy, it is mismanagement. The system of governance has been a failure. Pakistan is a country that ought to have been rich in the last 30 years. It is a young country and has tremendous scope," Fatima, the most outspoken of the Bhutto clan, said.
Fatima criticised the Pakistan government's handling of the flood which affected 20 million people in 2010 and eight million this year.
"The government placed advertisements in the Wall Street Journal, which ran up to more than $3 million (per day) - that's what I call mismanagement," Fatima said.
She hinted the money could have been used to provide relief to the victims.
Fatima, who has authored three books, "8.50 am. 8 October, 2005", "Whispers in The Desert" and "Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter's Memoir", has been in the thick of Pakistan's socio-political upheavals that spilled much family blood.
While grandfather Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was executed by military dictator Zia ul Haq in 1979, father Murtaza Bhutto was gunned down in 1996. Aunt Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in 2007 at an election rally. Fatima lives with her mother and two brothers in Karachi.
"I always wanted to be a writer - and stay away from politics," Fatima said, addressing the media.
"The aspirations of the people of Pakistan are 100 percent democratic," she said.
The Bhutto scion, who often clashed with aunt Benazir, when the latter was the prime minister, said: "I have fond childhood memories before she (Benazir) entered politics. She was a courageous woman, who stood up for values and beliefs."
Since Benazir Bhutto's assassination in 2007, Fatima has struggled to make herself heard in the country's intellectual space as a columnist and a biographer despite attempts at gagging her freedom of expression.
"My book 'Songs of Blood and Sword' (a biography of the Bhutto clan) has not been translated into Urdu yet, though it has been translated in Hindi and French. The book was published in India and it is the Indian edition that sells in Pakistan," Fatima said.
The writer attributed the "high quality of contemporary literature from Pakistan and Afghanistan" to "the difficult conditions in my country".
"Arts thrive under difficulties and we are proud of our writers," Fatima said.