Interviews by Adel S. Bishtawi

The un-sophisticated, and less dangerous, President of Pakistan

A devout Muslim espousing devout Muslim ideas in Pakistan and beyond, Mohammad Zial-ul-Haq, the strong military man of Pakistan whom I met in Islamabad in December 1987 looked and sounded confident in his destiny, that of his country and Muslim countries all over the world. One wonders whether South East Asia with him in power would have been a more stable area two decades later or worse. That remains an intriguing question not very dissimilar from the one concerning the true circumstances of his death. Was it an accident, a USA or a USSR plot?

Here is an honest leader if there was ever one

I came out from a TV interview with Mohammad Khan Junejo, the Prime Minister Of Pakistan in Karachi in December 1987 with the impression of meeting an honest, no-nonsense politician- a rare commodity anywhere, anytime. His greatest worries were the spreading terrorism and the instability in war-ravaged neighbouring Afghanistan. Sounds oddly current doesn’t it?

Prince Khaled Bin Sultan owner of Al Hayat Newspaper at a Dubai reception. Left is Ghassan Tahboub former Editor in Chief of Al Khaleej Newspaper and current Information Advisor to Sheikh Mohammad deputy ruler of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister. Third from left is Raed Barqawi Managing Editor of Al Khaleej Newspaper and Head of Business Section.

A glimpse behind the trappings of power and celebrity

I was told by my first editor that a good journalist is judged by the copy he throws away not the one he puts in the newspaper. How true, so here are some of the photos that did not find their way to the pages of the newspaper and news agencies I have worked for throughout the years hoping they will be useful to some. Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, actress Vanessa Redgrave, Mrs.. Margaret Thatcher (at her and my London constituency) and others.

Oman Newspaper Interview (Oman)

… I met the novelist A. S. Bishtawi in London where he has taken residence. I began by noting that the novel Traces of a Tattoo brings to mind novels that do not conform to rules set by literary critics at a given time and imposed on writers and readers. I wanted to know why does it have something of everything: romance, realism, imagination, and whether he shares my belief that it provides an exemplary simple characterisation of otherwise complex existence of the characters. What, above all, is the message, or messages, he wanted to convey.

Al Quds Al Arabi Interview (London)

The publication of the novel Times of Death and Roses, has angered a number of friends and colleagues who, I think, did not understand the reason for choosing the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla and the Lebanese civil war as a backdrop for this work. I’ve been very careful in selecting my background information using only the most credible reports. I talked to numerous eyewitnesses and added all that to my own information. I do not care to lose all those who want me to lose them if otherwise I would be prevented from saying what I believe is true. They can go to hell, for all I care.