Karachi, Feb 17: Nafisa Hoodbhoy, author of Aboard the Democracy Train, a Journey through Pakistan’s Last Decade of Democracy told a gathering at the Karachi Literature Festival on Sunday that the nation’s elite needs to connect with its own majority in order to understand the real Pakistan.
Presenting her motivation for writing ATDT, while living in the US, Ms Hoodbhoy said that she worked back in memory to write about her front line experiences of the period between 1988-1999. Then, working as the only woman reporter for the Dawn newspaper in Karachi, Pakistan during Gen. Zia’s era, she said she had associated with the nation’s key politicians and gained key insights into the nation’s road to democracy.
The author told the primarily English speaking audience, gathered at the Beach Luxury hotel, that her academic and journalistic experiences in the US had also enabled her to document how Pakistan had functioned as an ally of the US “War on Terror,” – and the impact that had left in terms growing militarization and fundamentalism in the region.
Responding to the moderator, Syed Jaffer Ahmed’s query about whether she could have written the book if she had not gone to the US, she said, “Probably not.” According to the author, she took opportunity of the distance and solitude to recreate from her experiences.
“Given that `Journalism is Literature in a Hurry,’ it became the right time for me to unpack my memories,” she told the gathering.
The presentation was followed by questions from the audience.
Earlier, Kenize Mourad, author of In the City of Gold and Silver presented her book in the same room, in the session moderated by Aliya Iqbal-Naqvi.