The 12th death anniversary of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was observed on December 27, according to representatives of the Pakistan People’s Party and the Sindh government. Twice Prime Minister of Pakistan, Bhutto was regarded as an icon for women’s rights due to her political success in a male-dominated society.

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Benazir Bhutto: Biography

Benazir Bhutto was born on June 21 1953. She was a Pakistani politician and served as the Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996. Bhutto was the first woman to head a democratic government in a Muslim majority nation. She chaired/ co-chaired the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) from the early 1980s until her assassination in 2007.

Bhutto was born in the Pakistan city of Karachi to a wealthy aristocratic family. Her father was the politician Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and her mother was Begum Nusrat Ispahani, of Iranian Kurdish parentage.

Benazir studied at Harvard University and the University of Oxford, where she was also the President of Oxford Union. She returned to Pakistan in 1977, shortly before her father was deposed in a military coup and executed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Bhutto, along with her mother, took control of the PPP and led the country’s Movement for the Restoration of Democracy. She was repeatedly put behind bars by Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq’s military government and then exiled to Britain in 1984. She returned in 1986 and transformed the PPP’s platform from a socialist to a liberal one, before winning the election in 1988.

As a Prime Minister, Bhutto’s efforts at reform were muffled by conservative Islamist forces, including President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and the powerful military. Her administration was accused of corruption and favouritism and dismissed by Khan in 1990. Later, the conservative Islamic Democratic Alliance (IJA) won the election and Bhutto served as the Leader of the Opposition.

After the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also dismissed on corruption charges, Bhutto led the PPP to victory in the 1993 elections. Her second term managed economic privatisation and attempts to improve women’s rights. Her government was harmed by many controversies, including the assassination of her brother Murtaza, and a bribery scandal which involved her and her husband Asif Ali Zardari.

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The PPP lost the election in 1997 and in 1998 Bhutto went into self-exile in Dubai, leading her party majorly through proxies. She returned to Pakistan in 2007 to compete in the 2008 elections.

Benazir Bhutto was a controversial figure. She was often criticised as being politically inexperienced and corrupt and faced opposition from Pakistan’s Islamist group for her secularist and revolutionising agendas.

In the early years of her career, Bhutto was highly popular and also attracted support from Western nations.

Why was Benazir Bhutto Assassinated?

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on 27 December 2007 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. She had been campaigning ahead of 2008 elections when shots were fired at her after a political rally at Liaquat National Bagh and a suicide bomb was exploded immediately following the shooting. She was declared dead at Rawalpindi General Hospital. Twenty-three other people were killed in the blast.

Bhutto had previously survived a similar attack on her life in the 2007 Karsaz bombing that killed at least 180 people, after her return from exile two months earlier.

The initial reports suggested that Bhutto was hit by shrapnel or the gunshots, but the Pakistani Interior Ministry stated that Bhutto died of a skull fracture sustained when the force of the explosion caused her head to strike the sunroof of the vehicle. However, Bhutto’s supporters rejected this version and argued instead that she suffered two gunshots before the bomb exploded. The Interior Ministry subsequently back-pedalled from its previous claim.

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In May 2007, Bhutto asked for additional protection from foreign contracting agencies Blackwater and the British firm ArmorGroup. The United Nations’ investigation of the incident revealed that “Ms Bhutto’s assassination could have been prevented if adequate security measures had been taken.”

Benazir Bhutto Images on India Content 

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