Fatima Bhutto urged India and Pakistan to engage in dialogue and avoid war, while sharing her views in a session on Sunday the last day of the Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) 2019. On the occasion she also launched her book ‘Runaways’.
Bhutto said that the current situation between both the countries was deeply disturbing. “Do not listen to voices always calling for war on both sides of the border,” she said.
She said that her generation had seen continued warfare within Pakistan and in the neighboring Afghanistan. “I don’t wish to see anymore warfare. I have always seen war in Pakistan. I do not want to see dead soldiers in both India and Pakistan. Pakistan has fought for peace. In the current situation both Pakistan and India should engage in dialogue.
Speaking about her latest novel, Bhutto said that the story revolves around four main characters, who are looking for solutions to modern-day problems in Karachi.
Bhutto also shared her take on the European immigrant crises and said that the people displaced by war were now hoping to make it to European countries. She said that the crisis was not for Europe but for the people who were displaced.
She also criticized writers in Pakistan and asked them to question instead of praise. She said that like other parts of the world, the space for critical questions was diminishing in Pakistan.
In another session on the last day ‘War Gardens’ journalist and writer Lalage Snow shared her experiences of covering wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Snow spoke about her book with the same title. She shared stories of people, during her seven-year stay in Kabul, about the people who maintained their identity in the time of war.
Lalage said that Afghanistan had many aspects and her work revolved around finding unique stories in and around Kabul. She said that her book explored gardening as an escape and said that gardening was like breathing.
She also shed light on the Israel and Palestine conflict and said that both sides were fighting over Gaza. However, amidst the conflict, she said that people were using gardens and agriculture as a way of preserving their identities. She said that people in conflict zones were using gardening as an act of defiance.