About Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto - the eldest child of former Pakistani premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto , was born on June 21, 1953, at Karachi.
Ms. Bhutto attended Lady Jennings Nursery School and then Convent of
Jesus and Mary in Karachi. 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.
In April 1969, she got admission in the U. S. at Harvard University's
Radcliffe College. In June 1973, Benazir graduated from Harvard
University with a degree in Political Science. After graduating from
Harvard, Benazir joined Oxford University in the fall of 1973. Just
before graduation, Benazir was elected to the Standing Committee of the
most prestigious Oxford Union Debating Society.
1976, she graduated in P. P. E. (Politics, Philosophy and Economics).
In the autumn of 1976, Benazir returned once again to Oxford to do a
one-year postgraduate course. In January 1977, she was elected the
President of the Oxford Union.
Return to Pakistan
Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan in June 1977. She wanted to join
the Foreign Service but her father wanted her to contest the Assembly
election. As she was not yet of age, Benazir Bhutto assisted her father
as an advisor.
In July 1977, General Zia-ul-Haq
imposed Martial Law. - her father was arrested on a murder charge and
she was placed under house arrest. Benazir Bhutto became the focus for
his followers and, from jail, he continued to advise her what to say to
the crowds. After he was hanged in 1979 she felt that she must follow
him as leader of the Pakistan People's Party. During the Martial Law,
Benazir was allowed to proceed abroad on medical grounds in January
1984, after spending nearly six and a half years in jail. She went into
exile in England for two years.
When she returned on
April 10, 1986, one million people welcomed her at the Lahore airport.
She attended mammoth rallies all over Pakistan and kept in close touch
with the Movement for Restoration of Democracy.
On December 18, 1987, Benazir married Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi.
She contested the elections, which were held by Ghulam Ishaq Khan, who
had taken over as acting President after the death of General Zia in an
air crash on August 17, 1988, at Bhawalpur.
Bhutto approached the Supreme Court of Pakistan, seeking enforcement of
the fundamental rights guaranteed to the political parties under
Article 17(2) of the 1973 Constitution, to hold the elections on Party
basis. The Supreme Court gave its verdict in favor of the political
parties. The P. P. P., without forming an alliance with any party, won
94 out of 207 seats in the National Assembly. With the cooperation of
eight M. Q. M. members and 13 members of the Federally Administered
Tribal Areas, the P. P. P. was able to get a clear majority in the
National Assemblies. Benazir Bhutto was nominated as the Prime Minister
on December 2, 1988, and Ghulam Ishaq Khan was nominated the President
As a Prime Minister
At the age of 35, she was the youngest and the first woman Prime
Minister to lead a Muslim nation in modern age. During her first term,
she started Peoples Program for economic uplift of the masses. Benazir
Bhutto also lifted a ban on student and trade unions. The P. P. P.
Government hosted the fourth S. A. A. R. C. Summit held in Islamabad,
in December 1988.
On various issues, differences
between her Government and the Establishment led to her dismissal by
the President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, on August 6, 1990.
Benazir Bhutto returned to power for the second time in 1993 after the
resignation of both President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif on July 18, 1993. The resignation led to the announcement
of fresh elections for the National and Provincial Assemblies. The
elections were held on October 6 and 9, 1993, respectively.
The elections were boycotted by the M. Q. M. No party emerged with an
absolute majority in the elections. As a result the P. P. P. formed the
new government with the help of alliances. Benazir Bhutto took oath as
Prime Minister on October 19, 1993. The Presidential election was held
on November 13. Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari, the P. P. P. candidate, won
by 274 to 168 votes against the then acting President Wasim Sajjad.
During her second tenure, Benazir again faced trouble from the
opposition. In the autumn of 1994, Nawaz Sharif led a "train march"
from Karachi to Peshawar. This was followed by general strike on
September 20. Two weeks later Nawaz Sharif called a "wheel jam" strike
on October 11.
The second tenure of Benazir Bhutto
was, however, highlighted by the visit of the U. S. first Lady Hillary
Clinton and her daughter Chelsea in 1995. Hillary's visit considerably
changed the world's perceptions about Pakistan and highlighted Pakistan
as a liberal, modern and forward-looking country. In April 1994,
Benazir visited the U. S., and projected Pakistan's stance on the F-16
fighter planes withheld by the U. S. despite payments. Her visit
resulted in the passing of the Brown Amendment by the U. S. Senate on
September 21, 1995, easing restrictions on Pakistan. It also helped in
attracting foreign investors. On the domestic front she continued
facing problems with M. Q. M. In spite of all her political endeavors,
a smooth relationship could not be established between the Government
and M. Q. M.
Benazir Bhutto's brother, Mir Murtaza
Bhutto, was assassinated under mysterious circumstances in a police
ambush on September 20, 1996. The high-profile killing of her brother
in her tenure damaged her political career.
were not going well between the President and Benazir's Government.
Differences soon appeared and the Government felt that there was
interference in the political matters of the Government by the
President. President Farooq Leghari dismissed Benazir Bhutto's
Government on charges of corruption and mismanagement on November 5,
1996, under the Article 58(2) b of the Eighth Amendment.
Bhutto is currently (as of September 2004) based in Dubai, United Arab
Emirates, where she cares for her children and mother, who is suffering
from Alzheimer's disease and from where she travels around the world
giving lectures and keeping in touch with the Party.
has been mentioned as "The world's most popular politician" in the New
Guinness Book of Record 1996. The "Times" and the "Australian Magazine"
(May 4, 1996) have drawn up a list of 100 most powerful women and have
included Benazir Bhutto as one of them.