Benazir Bhutto’s life

Benazir BhuttoBenazir Bhutto (June 21, 1953 – December 27, 2007) was a Pakistani politician who chaired the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), a centre-left political party in Pakistan affiliated to the Socialist International. Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, having been twice elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. She was sworn in for the first time in 1988 at the age of 35, but was removed from office 20 months later under the order of then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan on grounds of alleged corruption. In 1993 Bhutto was re-elected but was again removed in 1996 on similar charges, this time by President Farooq Leghari.

Bhutto went into self-imposed exile in Dubai in 1998, where she remained until she returned to Pakistan on 18 October 2007, after reaching an understanding with President Musharraf by which she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn.

She was the eldest child of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a Pakistani of Sindhi descent, and Begum Nusrat Bhutto, a Pakistani of Iranian-Kurdish descent. Her paternal grandfather was Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, who came to Larkana Sindh before partition from his native town of Bhatto Kalan, which was situated in the Indian state of Haryana.

She was assassinated on 27 December 2007, in a combined shooting and suicide bomb attack during a political rally of the Pakistan Peoples Party in the Liaquat National Bagh in Rawalpindi.[3] Eyewitnesses to the assassination stated to various news agencies that Bhutto had stood up through the sunroof of the white Toyota Land Cruiser that ferried her to the rally[4] to wave at supporters who were cheering her. It was then a “thin man” on a motorcycle, carrying an AK-47 rifle, fired two shots, one into Bhutto’s neck, and she collapsed, falling down into the vehicle.[4][5] Bhutto was rushed to Rawalpindi General Hospital where she died at 6:16 p.m. local time (13:16 GMT). The gunshot to the neck was reported as the cause of death, according to the Pakistani Interior Ministry.[6] An Al-Qaida leader based in Afghanistan was reported to have claimed responsibility for the attack.[7] Her burial is due to take place in her hometown in Larkana, Sind, next to her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s grave.[8]

Education and personal life

Benazir Bhutto was born in Karachi, Dominion of Pakistan on 21 June 1953. She attended the Lady Jennings Nursery School and then the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Karachi.[9] After two years of schooling at the Rawalpindi Presentation Convent, she was sent to the Jesus and Mary Convent at Murree. She passed her O-level examination at the age of 15.[10] She then went on to complete her A-Levels at the Karachi Grammar School.

After completing her early education in Pakistan, she pursued her higher education in the United States. From 1969 to 1973 she attended Radcliffe College, and then Harvard University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree with cum laude honors in comparative government.[11] She was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa.[10]

The next phase of her education took place in the United Kingdom. Between 1973 and 1977 Bhutto studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She completed a course in International Law and Diplomacy while at Oxford.[12] In December 1976 she was elected president of the Oxford Union, becoming the first Asian woman to head the prestigious debating society.[10]

On 18 December 1987 she married Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi. The couple had three children: Bilawal, Bakhtwar, and Aseefa.

Family

Benazir Bhutto’s father, former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was dismissed as Prime Minister in 1975, on charges similar to those Benazir Bhutto would later face. Later, in a 1977 trial on charges of conspiracy to murder the father of dissident politician Ahmed Raza Kasuri, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was sentenced to death.

Despite the accusation being “widely doubted by the public”,[13] and despite many clemency appeals from foreign leaders, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged on 4 April 1979. Appeals for clemency were dismissed by acting President General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. Benazir Bhutto and her mother were held in a “police camp” until the end of May, after the execution.[14]

In 1985, Benazir Bhutto’s brother Shahnawaz was killed under suspicious circumstances, in France. The killing of another of her brothers, Mir Murtaza, in 1996, contributed to destabilizing her second term as Prime Minister.

Prime Minister

Bhutto, who had returned to Pakistan after completing her studies, found herself placed under house arrest in the wake of her father’s imprisonment and subsequent execution. Having been allowed in 1984 to return to the United Kingdom, she became a leader in exile of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), her father’s party, though she was unable to make her political presence felt in Pakistan until after the death of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. She had succeeded her mother as leader of the Pakistan People’s Party and the pro-democracy opposition to the Zia-ul-Haq regime.

On 16 November 1988, in the first open election in more than a decade, Bhutto’s PPP won the largest bloc of seats in the National Assembly. Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of a coalition government on 2 December, becoming at age 35 the youngest person — and the first woman — to head the government of a Muslim-majority state in modern times. That same year, People Magazine included Ms. Bhutto in its list of The Fifty Most Beautiful People. In 1989, she was awarded the Prize For Freedom by the Liberal International.

Bhutto’s government was dismissed in 1990 following charges of corruption, for which she never was tried. Zia’s protégé Nawaz Sharif subsequently came to power. Bhutto was re-elected in 1993 but was dismissed three years later amid various corruption scandals by then president Farooq Leghari, who used the Eighth Amendment discretionary powers to dissolve the government. The Supreme Court affirmed President Leghari’s dismissal in a 6-1 ruling.[15] In 2006, Interpol issued a request for arrest of Bhutto and her husband.[16]

The criticism against Bhutto came largely from the Punjabi elites and powerful landlord families who opposed Bhutto as she pushed Pakistan into nationalist reform, opposing feudals, whom she blamed for the destabilization of Pakistan.

Musharraf’s disqualification

On 17 September 2007 Benazir Bhutto accused Pervez Musharraf’s allies of pushing Pakistan into crisis by their refusal to permit democratic reforms and power-sharing. A nine-member panel of Supreme Court judges deliberated on six petitions (including one from Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan’s largest Islamic group) asserting that Musharraf be disqualified from contending for the presidency of Pakistan. Bhutto stated that her party could join one of the opposition groups, potentially that of Nawaz Sharif. Attorney-general Malik Mohammed Qayyum stated that, pendente lite, the Election Commission was “reluctant” to announce the schedule for the presidential vote. Bhutto’s party’s Farhatullah Babar stated that the Constitution could bar Musharraf from being elected again because he was already chief of the army: “As Gen. Musharraf was disqualified from contesting for President, he has prevailed upon the Election Commission to arbitrarily and illegally tamper with the Constitution of Pakistan.”[17]

Policies for women

During election campaigns the Bhutto government voiced its concern for women’s social and health issues, including the issue of discrimination against women. Bhutto announced plans to establish women’s police stations, courts, and women’s development banks. Despite these promises, Bhutto did not propose any legislation to improve welfare services for women. During her election campaigns, Bhutto promised to repeal controversial laws (such as Hudood and Zina ordinances) that curtail the rights of women in Pakistan. Her party never did fulfil these promises during her tenures as Prime Minister, due to immense pressure from the opposition.

Only after her stints as Prime Minister did her party initiate legislation to repeal the Zina ordinance, during General Musharraf’s regime. These efforts were defeated by the right-wing religious parties that dominated the legislatures at the time.

Policy on Taliban

The Taliban took power in Kabul in September 1996. It was during Bhutto’s rule that the Taliban gained prominence in Afghanistan. She viewed the Taliban as a group that could stabilize Afghanistan and enable trade access to the Central Asian republics, according to author Stephen Coll.[18] He claims that her government provided military and financial support for the Taliban, even sending a small unit of the Pakistani army into Afghanistan.

More recently, she took an anti-Taliban stance, and condemned terrorist acts committed by the Taliban and their supporters.

Source : Wikipedia

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One Response to Benazir Bhutto’s life

  1. Pingback: Breaking:Al-Qaida hand in Benazir Bhutto’s Assasination « SPEAK INDIA

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