Fatima Bhutto

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Fatima Bhutto
Bhutto at an event in 2019
Bhutto at an event in 2019
Born (1982-05-29) 29 May 1982 (age 40)
Kabul, Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
OccupationWriter, columnist
Alma materBarnard College of Columbia University
SOAS University of London
RelativesSee Bhutto family

Fatima Bhutto (Urdu: فاطمہ بھُٹّو; Sindhi: فاطمه ڀٽو, born 29 May 1982) is a Pakistani writer and columnist. Born in Kabul, she is the daughter of politician Murtaza Bhutto, sister of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Jr, niece of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and granddaughter of former Prime Minister and President of Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.[1] She was raised in Syria and Karachi, and received her bachelor's degree from Barnard College, followed by a master's degree from the SOAS University of London.[2]

Bhutto is a critic of her aunt Benazir Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari, whom she accused of being involved in her father's murder.[3][4] Her non-fiction book, Songs Of Blood And Sword (2010), is about her family.[5] Bhutto has written for The News and The Guardian among other publications.[6][7]

Early life and education[edit]

Bhutto was born on 29 May 1982 to Murtaza Bhutto and an Afghan mother, Fauzia Fasihudin Bhutto, the daughter of Afghanistan's former foreign affairs official in Kabul.[1] Her father was in exile during the military regime of general Zia-ul-Haq. Her parents divorced when she was three years old and her father took Bhutto with him moving from country to country and she grew up effectively stateless. Her father met Ghinwa Bhutto, a Lebanese ballet teacher in 1989 during his exile in Syria and they married. Bhutto considers Ghinwa as her real mother. Her half-brother Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Jr. is an artist based in San Francisco.[8]

Bhutto is the granddaughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Nusrat Bhutto, an Iranian Kurd, niece of Benazir Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari, and Shahnawaz Bhutto.[1][9] Her father was killed by the police in 1996 in Karachi during the premiership of his sister, Benazir Bhutto. Her biological mother Fauzia Fasihudin unsuccessfully tried to gain parental custody of Bhutto.[1] She lives with her stepmother[10] in Old Clifton, Karachi.[1]

Bhutto received her secondary education at the Karachi American School. She received B.A. degree summa cum laude, majoring in Middle Eastern and Asian languages and cultures[11][12] from Barnard College, an affiliated women's liberal arts college of Columbia University, in New York, U.S. in 2004.[13] She received her M.A. in South Asian Studies from the SOAS, University of London in 2005, there she wrote her dissertation on the resistance movement in Pakistan.[14]


Publications and politics[edit]

In 1998, at the age of 15, Bhutto published her first book named Whispers of The Desert. Her second book 8.50 a.m. 8 October 2005 marks the moment of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake; it records accounts of those affected.[15]

Bhutto's family memoir Songs of Blood and Sword was published in 2010. In the book Bhutto accuses her aunt Benazir and her husband Asif Zardari for killing her father Murtaza. The book got mixed to negative review from critics for being biased on history of her family.[16] Several family members have accused her of falsifying information.[17]

In November 2013, her first fictional novel The Shadow Of The Crescent Moon published. The book had long-listed in 2014 for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.[18] In 2015 Bhutto's short story titled Democracy, an e-book, under Penguin Books was released.[19]

In 2019, her second novel,The Runaways was published. The book explore three young Muslim men's journey to radicalization. The novel received critical acclaim for its subject.[20][21][22] In October of the same year , New Kings of the World: Dispatches from Bollywood, Dizi and K-Pop was published. Tash Aw in the Financial Times described it as a "razor-sharp, intriguing introduction to the various pop phenomena emerging from Asia."[23]

Following the assassination of her aunt, Benazir Bhutto in 2007, there was speculation over her entrance into politics. In an interview, she has stated that for now she prefers to remain active through her activism and writing, rather than through elected office[1] and that she has to "rule a political career out entirely because of the effect of dynasties on Pakistan", referring to the Bhutto family dynasty and its ties to Pakistani politics. Although Bhutto is politically active, she is not affiliated with any political party.[24]

Personal life[edit]

In 2009, it was reported that she was in a relationship with George Clooney.[25][26]

About her religious faith, Bhutto said at an interview, that she is a cultural muslim and describes herself as a secularist.[27][28] Bhutto has defended Islam on many occasions and supported Muslim women's right to wear burqa.[29][30] She is fluent in Urdu, Persian,[31] Arabic,[32] and English.


  • Whispers of The Desert Karachi : Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 9780195778441, OCLC 633338081
  • 8.50 a.m. 8 October 2005 Karachi : Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN 9780195474039, OCLC 225160670
  • Songs of Blood and Sword New York : Nation Books, 2011. ISBN 9781568586762, OCLC 720599400
  • The Shadow of the Crescent Moon New York : Penguin Books, 2013. ISBN 9780670922987, OCLC 1062282246
  • Democracy (2015)
  • The Runaways London : Viking, 2018. ISBN 9780241347003, OCLC 090206617
  • New Kings of the World: Dispatches from Bollywood, Dizi, and K-Pop New York : Columbia Global Reports, 2019. ISBN 9781733623704


  1. ^ a b c d e f Walsh, Declan (11 January 2008). "The Broken Bloodline". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  2. ^ "SOAS on brand wagon". www.telegraphindia.com. Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  3. ^ "Benazir covered up my father's murder, says Fatima Bhutto". 4 April 2010 – via www.thehindu.com.
  4. ^ "Benazir, the PM, was cruel: Fatima Bhutto". NDTV.com.
  5. ^ Walsh, Declan (29 April 2010). "Bhutto memoir provokes angry reaction in Pakistan". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Fatima launches her innings as Bhutto's struggle for political survival". Pakistan: The Nation. 27 January 2006. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  7. ^ Goodman, Amy (19 February 2008). "Outspoken Niece of Benazir Bhutto Accuses Aunt's Party of Fraud in Pakistani Elections". Democracy Now!. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  8. ^ "Meet Faluda Islam, the Muslim Drag Queen From the Future". www.vice.com.
  9. ^ Langley, William. (15 February 2009) Fatima Bhutto: A beauty to tame George Clooney – and even Pakistan?. Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved on 2016-12-31.
  10. ^ Fletcher, Hannah (28 December 2007). "Who's who in the Bhutto dynasty". The Times. London. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  11. ^ Resmovits, Joy (29 November 2007). "Bhutto Sees Politics, Pakistan Firsthand". Columbia Daily Spectator. New York. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  12. ^ "Fatima Bhutto: living by the bullet". www.telegraph.co.uk.
  13. ^ Three Barnard alumnae nominated for Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Barnard College
  14. ^ "Fatima Bhutto receives Masters Degree". Pakistan Press International. 16 December 2005. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  15. ^ A novel approach Archived 21 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine Telegraph India
  16. ^ "Daughter of dynasty - Times of India". The Times of India.
  17. ^ "Zulfikar's daughter, nephew dispute claim in Fatima's book". 4 May 2010 – via www.thehindu.com.
  18. ^ Fatima Bhutto nominated for fiction prize Dawn
  19. ^ Zubair, Hamna (29 March 2015). "Rehashing the predictable: Review of Democracy by Fatima Bhutto". www.dawn.com. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  20. ^ The Runaways by Fatima Bhutto review – pathways to Islamist extremism The Guardian
  21. ^ ‘The Runaways’ by Fatima Bhutto: She has the ear for the slightest details of the human condition The Hindu
  22. ^ Pakistani author Fatima Bhutto to come out with new novel. Here's when you buy it Hindustan Times
  23. ^ Aw, Tash (11 October 2019). "New Kings of the World by Fatima Bhutto – pop goes east". Financial Times. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  24. ^ SONGS OF CORRUPTION: Christian Parenti with Fatima Bhutto. The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved on 31 December 2016.
  25. ^ desk, Web (16 February 2009). "Fatima Bhutto: A beauty to tame George Clooney – and even Pakistan, asks The Telegraph". Samaa.
  26. ^ "Pakistan besotted by Clooney 'affair' with Bhutto niece". The Independent. 12 February 2009.
  27. ^ Fatima Bhutto's interview in Italy Youtube
  28. ^ Fatima Bhutto: ‘Everything is political, if you do it right’ Asia Times
  29. ^ Fatima Bhutto: “The Islam that I know gives women a lot of rights” Archived 25 January 2019 at the Wayback Machine Vogue
  30. ^ Fatima Bhutto: “Everyone connects the burqa to oppression, but this isn’t the full story” Verdict
  31. ^ "The death of an icon". 25 October 2011.
  32. ^ "What next for the Bhutto clan?".

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