Benazir Bhutto

Unfortunately there are tragic destinies of righteous people. No matter what they do, their good intentions lead them to suffer and even die. Although we admire and honor them, and would like to be like them, theirs is a destiny we would wish for ourselves, but as always someone has to bear it…

Benazir Bhutto was born on June 21, 1953. She became the first female political leader of a Muslim nation in modern history. Her father was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, leader of Pakistan from 1971 till 1977.

Regarding her education, she attended Harvard University (B.A., 1973). She also studied philosophy, political science and economics at the University of Oxford (B.A., 1976). She obtained her postgraduate degree in International law in 1977.

In 1977, Benazir returned to Pakistan. At the same time her father was deposed by General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq. In 1979 her father was executed and Benzir became the head of her father’s party. There was a lot of turbulence in those days, the authorities frequently arrested her at her home and this she endured in the period of 1979 till 1984. From 1984 till 1986 Benazir spent in self - exile. She returned to Pakistan after the lifting of martial law and she soon became the foremost figure in the political opposition to Zia. After President Zia died in a very mysterious plane crash in the ensuing elections Bhutto’s PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) won the single largest bloc in the National Assembly.

On December 1, 1988 Benazir Bhutto became the first female prime minister ever in a Muslim country. She made a fragile coalition with independent parliamentarians from her home province of Sindh. The coalition eventually broke because of ethnic tensions in that province. Because of lack of their support Bhutto was unable to address the critical issues in their country including widespread poverty, crime and governmental corruption. Aside from that she bore most of the burden of the relationship with the military leadership. In August 1990 the President of Pakistan dismissed her on charges of corruption and other malfeasance and called for new elections. The PPP suffered defeat in the election in 1990, so she led the parliamentary opposition thereafter.

Image credits: - Burhan Ahmad

In the next elections in 1993 Bhutto with the PPP won the plurality of votes and succeeded in beating Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League in every Province including Sharif’s home Province Punjab. Bhutto improved Pakistan relations abroad, attracted foreign investments in the country and implemented social programs. She also had support from the president Farooq Leghari who was also part of the PPP. Still, Pakistan’s economy was unstable and there was a decline in law and order.

Her government was again dismissed by the president after her brother accused her husband of corruption. In 1997 the PPP suffered a defeat to Sharif's PML-N. Being pursued by the Sharif’s administration, Bhutto and her husband were finally convicted of corruption by Lahore court. The decision was overturned because of the evidence of the interference of the government in the process. She fought that the charges against her and her husband would be dropped, but the authorities just wouldn't have it. Note, that her husband was in jail from 1996.

Eventually the PPP split and a new distinct branch was formed called the PPPP (Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians) that was free from restrictions brought upon Bhutto's PPP.

In 2004 Bhutto’s husband was released on bail and joined her in exile.

Eventually Bhutto was given amnesty by the military regime and returned to Pakistan. Celebrations upon her return were marred by a suicide attack on her motorcade in which many supporters where killed. In her campaign she was leaving a bullet proof vehicle a man standing two to three meters from the vehicle fired three gunshots at her and detonated a suicide vest packed with ball bearings.

In December 2007 Bhutto was assassinated in a similar attack while campaigning for the upcoming elections. The leadership of her party was passed on to her husband and later to their son.

In the end she suffered a mortars death, but she stands as a strong example as a modern woman and politician of principle.

Written by: Mislav Zlomislić


Mislav Zlomislić is a digital marketing intern of PS Media Enterprise. He is a former student of Zagreb school of economics and management, Zagreb, Croatia


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