Benazir Bhutto was the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan, and the first woman ever to lead a Muslim state1, serving 2 non-consecutive terms in 1988-1990 and then 1993-1996. Her stubborn and tough way of governing the country had gained her the title “Iron Lady” of Pakistan2. Bhutto married Asif Ali Zardari. The couple had 3 children.
Benazir Bhutto was born into a wealthy, political family3, where her father was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a former Prime Minister who founded the Pakistan People Party (PPP). She was the oldest of 4 children. Bhutto grew up in a privileged family, and was provided with the wealth considering her family’s top position in the Pakistani government. Bhutto was raised to speak both English and Urdu. After completing her early education in Pakistan, Bhutto moved onto do her Bachelor of Arts in Harvard University in 1973. She then moved to UK where she studied at Oxford University, completing a course from 1973 to 1977.
Exile and Start of Political Career
In 1977, her father was arrested for allegedly attempting an assassination on the father of another politician. Bhutto and her brother spent the next 6 years in and out of house arrest, held in a “police camp”, and finally held under solitary confinement in a cell in the middle of a desert in 1981. She had described her time in jail as, “the summer heat turned my cell into an oven. Boils erupted on my face. Insects crept through the cells like invading enemies…”4. After much international pressure, then-leader, Zia-ul-Haq was then forced to allow Bhutto’s family to travel abroad for medical reasons. After her father’s hanging, Bhutto took control of the PPP while exiled in England. There continued to be more family tragedy, when in 1980, when Bhutto’s brother Shahnawaz was poisoned in his apartment. Not long after, another brother, Murtaza died in 1996 while in a gun battle with the police in Karachi.
First term as Prime Minister
Benazir Bhutto became the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan, and the first woman ever to lead an Islamic state. At 35, she was also one of the youngest chief executives in the world.. Despite her many attempts to change the face of Pakistan, Bhutto had little success in improving education, health care and in cleaning up government corruption5. However, she was noted for her charismatic authority6, and took basic steps to establish human rights. Restrictions on the press were released, and unions and student groups are free to assemble. Bhutto emphasized on the growth of the economy, and improved relations with India. 2 short years later, she was dismissed from government on claims of corruption.
Second term as Prime Minister
On 19 October 1993, Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister for the second time, allowing her to continue her policies. While sworn in, she has made some controversial choices, including her many controversial laws on women’s issues exercised tougher than regular. Bhutto was repeatedly accused of being racist. However, she made efforts to expand Pakistan’s relations with the rest of the world. While in office, she bought electricity to the countryside. In spite of Bhutto’s attempts to rekindle the rivalry between neighbours India and Afghanistan, the Bhutto government’s corruption heightened. The corruption allegations got her dismissed from office and later, the country. Bhutto was surprised that it was not the military that dismissed her, but her own “hand-picked puppet” President who used his power to dismiss her7.
Life in exile
Bhutto relocated herself and her family to Dubai, and later England. While living in Dubai, Bhutto cared for her 3 children and her mother, who was suffering from Dementia. Even though away from her homeland, she still campaigned for human rights and democracy and continued to direct her party from abroad.
Return to Pakistan
In an interview with reporter Blitzer from CNN, Bhutto was well aware of the risk to her life that might…