In September 1996, a 14-year-old Fatima Bhutto hid in a windowless dressing room, shielding her baby brother while shots rang out in the streets outside the family home in Karachi. This was the evening that her father Murtaza was murdered, along with six of his associates. In December 2007, Benazir Bhutto, Fatima’s aunt, and the woman she had publicly accused of ordering her father’s murder, was assassinated in Rawalpindi. It was the latest in a long line of tragedies for one of the world’s best-known political dynasties.
Songs of Blood and Sword tells the story of a family of rich feudal landlords—the proud descendants of a warrior caste—who became power brokers in the newly created state of Pakistan. It is an epic tale full of the romance and legend of feudal life, the glamour and license of the international political elite and ultimately, the tragedy of four generations of a family defined by a political idealism that would destroy them.
The history of this extraordinary family mirrors the tumultuous events of Pakistan itself, and the quest to find the truth behind her father’s murder has led Fatima to the heart of her country’s volatile political establishment. It is the history of a nation from Partition through the struggle with India over Kashmir, the Cold War, through the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan up to the post 9/11 ‘War on Terror.’ It is also a book about a daughter’s love for her father and her search to uncover, and to understand, the truth of his life and death. A work of international significance,Songs of Blood and Sword establishes journalist and poet Fatima Bhutto as a brave and passionate campaigner.