About The Book

Benazir Bhutto addresses supporters at Kotri Railway Station in Sindh on May 30, 1979 - Photo by Zahid Hussein


The Present is the living sum-total of the whole Past.
“Thomas Carlyle, Characteristics”

This website gives a glimpse into my motivation for writing ‘Aboard the Democracy Train’ – on why millions of people in Pakistan have been thwarted from bringing about meaningful change inside the country. As the only woman reporter in Pakistan’s leading newspaper, Dawn (1984 – 2000), I was curious about the connection between day to day events and stored them in memory to tell the world some day about the larger picture.

My access to leading politicians and places would go on to feed a narrative on Pakistan that has normally been hidden from public view. In using my personae, I have tried to break down the complex history and politics of my home country – which despite its small size is a big player on the global scene.

Having relocated to the US shortly before 9/11, my position as reporter, academic and researcher would once again provide me a unique view of how the region changed in the US orbit of influence.  `Aboard,’ is a current affairs book, where I have used my knowledge as a journalist on both sides of the Atlantic to trace the path taken by the nation to where it has arrived.

Through this website, I hope to get readers to read the book and pen down their thoughts about the humongous challenges that face Pakistan today.

Benazir Bhutto with Nafisa Hoodbhoy in 70 Clifton, Karachi on June 1986 (Photographer: Zahid Hussein)

Benazir Bhutto shown with the author, Nafisa Hoodbhoy in June 1986 at the Bhutto ancestral home – 70 Clifton in Karachi. By then, the military led by Gen. Zia ul Haq had overthrown Benazir’s father, prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and had him executed. As Chief Martial Law Administrator and Pakistan’s president, Gen. Zia had enacted laws that prima facie aimed to change Pakistan into an Islamic state.

In this photograph, Benazir looks through the author’s writings appearing in Dawn newspaper since 1984. Then working as the only woman reporter in Dawn, the author met Benazir to convince her to outline her position on the anti-women legislation passed under Gen. Zia. Several meetings subsequently led Benazir to pledge that she would repeal the discriminatory laws if she was elected prime minister.

8 Replies to “About The Book”


    Zubeida Mustafa
    Senior Journalist &
    Former Assistant Editor
    in Dawn newspaper, Karachi, Pakistan

    Congratulations. What a wonderful website. I look forward to receiving your announcements about new posts.

    Businessman in Karachi, Pakistan

    I will email all friends to visit the website.

    Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham
    Blog: syedehtisham.blogspot.com

    Congratulations on publication of the book.
    Look forward to reading it.

    All religions try to take over the establishment and if they fail, they collaborate with it, be it feudal or capitalist.

    Manzoor Mirani
    Incharge, Op-Ed section
    Daily Kawish, Hyderabad, Sindh, Pakistan.

    Thanks to put me in mailing list. I visited website, we really need such documentation about our journey to democracy.

    Margaret Hunt
    Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and History
    Amherst College
    Amherst, MA 01002

    My congratulations for what looks like a wonderful new production.

    I will be sure to let the people in Amherst and the Pioneer Valley know about the book and the website.

    Michael Kugelman
    Program Associate for South and Southeast Asia
    Asia Program
    Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
    One Woodrow Wilson Plaza
    1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
    Washington, DC 20004-3027 USA

    Many thanks for sending me this link. Please keep me apprised.

    Senator Afrasiab Khattak
    President Awami National Party, Khyber Pakhtunkwa

    I shall look forward to receive material from the website.

    Jonathan Fried

    Thanks for sending me this. The book looks great! I just ordered it on Amazon. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    Latif Moghal
    PPP Information Secretary, Karachi

    Thanks for updating and I hope you do continue.

    Michel Boivin
    Centre for South Asian Studies, EHESS-CNRS, Paris

    Thanks a lot for information about the release of Nafisa’s book. I shall buy it,and ask a number of French academic libraries to buy it also.

    Tanveer Arif
    CEO Society for the Conservation and Protection of the Environment

    Nice website, which is an attempt to engage civil society in a meaningful social and political discourse. We need to project thoughts and ideas of liberal and progressive sections of the country before the world, who thinks we are merely

    Peter Jacob
    Executive head of the National Commission for Justice and Peace

    Thank you so much for sending circulars and such a nice material on this site, I am with you on the democracy train.

    Romana Khan

    Good to read all this about you – impressed! Congratulations on your book. Wish you were here in Pakistan!.

    All the best.

    Sohail Sahto

    This book has been written by Nafisa Hoodbhoy about political history of unfortunate country called Pakistan

  2. Nafisa congratulations for writing this book and opening such a informative website and thanks for including me in the mailing list

  3. Glad to see that your thoughts, and precious reference material on this website, i am surely going to share with my friends who can benefit from it too, Keep up the good work and thumbs up to you Nafisa (Y)

  4. Good reading for everyone, especially for Youth that, they can understand how Democracy is evolving in Pakistan.

  5. excellent book, read it,sometime ago. looking forward to follow this website and get interesting and waiting to be known sort of stories

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