|Benazir Bhutto (21 June 1953 (Karachi)-Dec 27, 2007(Rawalpindi)) was the first woman to lead a post-colonial Muslim state. The charismatic Bhutto was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1988, only to be deposed 20 months later by the country’s military-supported president Ghulam Ishaq Khan who controversially used the Eighth Amendment to dissolve parliament and force an election. She was re-elected in 1993 but was dismissed three years later amid various corruption scandals by then president Farooq Leghari, who also used the Eighth Amendment discretionary powers.
Struggle against martial law of General Zia-ul-Haq
After the overthrow of her father Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government in a bloodless coup Benazir Bhutto spent the next eighteen months in and out of house arrest as she struggled to rally political support to force Zia to drop murder charges against her father. The military dictator ignored worldwide appeals for clemency and had Zulfikar Bhutto hanged in April 1979. Following the hanging of her father Bhutto was arrested repeatedly, however, following PPP’s victory in the local elections Zia postponed the national elections indefinitely and moved Bhutto and her mother Nusrat Bhutto from Karachi to Larkana. This was seventh time Benazir had been arrested within two years of the military coup. Repeatedly put under house arrest, the regime finally imprisoned her under solitary confinement in a desert cell in Sindhi province during the summer of 1981. She described the conditions in her wall-less cage in her book “Daughter of Destiny”:
After her six month imprisonment in Sukkur jail, she remained hospitalized for months after which she was shifted to Karachi Central Jail, where she remained imprisoned till 11 December 1981. She was then placed under house arrests in Larkana and Karachi eleven and fourteen months respectively.
Bhutto was the eldest child of former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a Pakistani of Sindhi descent and Shia Muslim by faith, and Begum Nusrat Bhutto, a Pakistani of Iranian-Kurdish descent, similarly Shia Muslim by faith. Her paternal grandfather was Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, who came to Larkana District in Sindh before the independence from his native town of Bhatto Kalan, in the Indian state of Haryana.
Prime minister Of Pakistan
Only two years into her first term, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed Bhutto from office. She initiated an anti-corruption campaign, and in 1993 was re-elected as Prime Minister. While in office, she brought electricity to the countryside and built schools all over the country. She made hunger, housing and health care her top priorities, and looked forward to continuing to modernize Pakistan.
At the same time, Bhutto faced constant opposition from the Islamic fundamentalist movement. Her brother Mir Murtaza, who had been estranged from Benazir since their father’s death, returned from abroad and leveled charges of corruption at Benazir’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari. Mir Murtaza died when his bodyguard became involved in a gunfight with police in Karachi. The Pakistani public was shocked by this turn of events and PPP supporters were divided over the charges against Zardari.
In 1996 President Leghari of Pakistan dismissed Benazir Bhutto from office, alleging mismanagement, and dissolved the National Assembly. A Bhutto re-election bid failed in 1997, and the next elected government, headed by the more conservative Nawaz Sharif, was overthrown by the military. Bhutto’s husband was imprisoned, and once again, she was forced to leave her homeland. For nine years, she and her children lived in exile in London, where she continued to advocate the restoration of democracy in Pakistan. In the autumn of 2007, in the face of death threats from radical Islamists, and the hostility of the government,
Bhutto’s body was flown to her hometown of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in Larkana District, Sindh, and was buried next to her father in the family mausoleum at a ceremony attended by hundreds of thousands of mourners.
Benazir Bhutto’s books