Nearly nine years after I joined Dawn in 1975, Pakistan’s most respected and widely circulated English language newspaper, a young woman came to this newspaper’s office looking for a job. She had studied in the US and had worked for a paper there. She had also written for Dawn and I was quite familiar with her writings. Since Dawn had started opening its doors to women and Nafisa Hoodbhoy (that was the name of the young journalist), had proved her mettle in journalism she was taken without much fuss.
Initially Hoodbhoy was given a beat on writing about women and women’s issues. Since those were the years when the Women’s Action Forum was also taking off, the new female addition to Dawn’s male dominated world proved to be an asset. Hoodbhoy was keen about reporting and didn’t want a desk job where the few women who came to Dawn in those days were usually sent. They themselves preferred that. She was so determined about what she wanted to do, that Ahmad Ali Khan Sahib, the editor, gave her what she asked for. One of her beats was women’s and health issues and she was never short of assignments.
That was just the beginning. But political reporting was Hoodbhoy’s goal in journalism. As she writes in her recently published book Aboard the Democracy Train, she got the much needed break when General Ziaul Haq’s plane exploded in mid-air in August 1988, ushering in an era of democracy to Pakistan. Her book focuses mainly on politics in Pakistan and her own experience which proved to be rich and diverse. As she was covering Benazir Bhutto, the first woman prime minister in the Muslim world, Hoodbhoy has many interesting stories to tell.
The book is being introduced to the readers in the US on 21 Feb as the invitation below shows. Read more about the book on www.aboardthedemocracytrain.com
Nafisa Hoodbhoy will present her book, `Aboard the Democracy Train: a Journey through Pakistan’s Last Decade of Democracy’ on Feb 21 at 7 pm at McNally Jackson book store in New York city. She will be joined by Political Science professor at Georgia State University, Prof. Henry F. Carey, who accompanied her during the 1990 elections held in Nawabshah and Narowal and the subsequent by-election in Jacobabad. The event will be moderated by Karen Frillmann, Managing Editor – Newsroom, New York Public Radio, who helped to shape her book for Western audiences.