PEERZADA Masarat Shah
Benazir Bhutto was a larger than life political figure in Pakistan who fought against military dictatorship to become the first female prime minister of a Muslim country.
Military dictatorship then was a very difficult time for anybody who spoke out. One only has to look back on the archives and see how many political prisoners were swept into jail. When Bhutto was elected prime minister for the first time in 1988, people had enormous expectations. She was unable to complete her term in office and in August 1990 her government was dismissed when the president dissolved the national assembly. Bhutto became the premier again in 1993 but, once again, could not complete her term.
At times, Bhutto highlighted that she could not operate in the way her male counterparts did. “Men would not shake hands, the mullahs preached against her.”
Tireless Campaigner For Democracy
Bhutto was a tireless campaigner for democracy who did not shy away from speaking out against dictators or terrorists, at enormous risks to her personal safety. She paid the ultimate price when she was killed in a suicide bombing and gun attack after an election rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.
Benazir Bhutto and her mother went to London in January of 1984 to begin their self-imposed medical exile. As soon as Benazir’s ear problem was remedied, she began to publicly advocate against the Zia regime. She became the leader in exile of her father’s Pakistan People’s Party. Zia’s unexpected death cleared her way of victory and she became Pakistan’s eleventh PM.
The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto
On December 27, 2007, Bhutto appeared at an election rally in the park known as Liaquat National Bagh in Rawalpindi. As she was leaving the rally, she stood up to wave to supporters through the sunroof of her SUV. A gunman shot her three times, and then explosives went off all around the vehicle.
Benazir Bhutto died at the age of 54, leaving behind a complicated legacy. The charges of corruption leveled against her husband and herself do not seem to have been entirely invented for political reasons, despite Bhutto’s assertions to the contrary in her autobiography. We may never know whether she had any fore-knowledge about her brother’s assassination.
In the end, though, nobody can question Benazir Bhutto’s bravery. She and her family endured tremendous hardships, and whatever her faults as a leader, she genuinely did strive to improve life for the ordinary people of Pakistan.
Nobody can question Benazir Bhutto’s bravery. She and her family endured tremendous hardships, and whatever her faults as a leader, she genuinely did strive to improve life for the ordinary people of Pakistan