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Benazir Bhutto

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Benazir Bhutto
بينظير ڀٽو
بے نظیر بھٹو
Benazir Bhutto.jpg
Prime Minister of Pakistan
In office
19 October 1993 – 5 November 1996
President Wasim Sajjad
Farooq Leghari
Preceded by Moeenuddin Ahmad Qureshi (Acting)
Succeeded by Malik Meraj Khalid (Acting)
In office
2 December 1988 – 6 August 1990
President Ghulam Ishaq Khan
Preceded by Muhammad Khan Junejo
Succeeded by Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi (Acting)
Leader of the Opposition
In office
5 November 1996 – 12 October 1999
Preceded by Nawaz Sharif
Succeeded by Fazal-ur-Rehman
In office
6 November 1990 – 18 April 1993
Preceded by Khan Abdul Wali Khan
Succeeded by Nawaz Sharif
Minister of Finance
In office
26 January 1994 – 10 October 1996
Preceded by Babar Ali (Acting)
Succeeded by Naveed Qamar
In office
4 December 1988 – 6 December 1990
Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi (Acting)
Nawaz Sharif
Preceded by Mahbub ul Haq (Acting)
Succeeded by Sartaj Aziz
Minister of Defence
In office
4 December 1988 – 6 August 1990
Preceded by Mahmoud Haroon (Acting)
Succeeded by Ghous Ali Shah
Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party
In office
12 November 1982 – 27 December 2007
Acting until 10 January 1984
Preceded by Nusrat Bhutto
Succeeded by Asif Ali Zardari
Bilawal Zardari Bhutto
Personal details
Born (1953-06-21)21 June 1953
Karachi, Pakistan
Died 27 December 2007(2007-12-27) (aged 54)
Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Political party Pakistan Peoples Party
Spouse(s) Asif Ali Zardari (1987–2007)
Relations Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (father)
Nusrat Bhutto (mother)
Murtaza Bhutto (brother)
Shahnawaz Bhutto (brother)
Sanam Bhutto (sister)
Children Bilawal
Alma mater Harvard University
Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford
St Catherine's College, Oxford
Karachi Grammar School
Religion Islam
Website Official website

Benazir Bhutto ( Sindhi: بينظير ڀٽو; Urdu: بے نظیر بھٹو‎, pronounced  [beːnəˈziːr ˈbʱʊʈʈoː]; 21 June 1953 – 27 December 2007) was a politician and stateswoman who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from November 1988 until October 1990, and 1993 until her final dismissal on November 1996. She was the eldest daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a former prime minister of Pakistan and the founder of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), which she led.

In 1982, at age 29, Benazir Bhutto became the chairwoman of PPP – a centre-left, democratic socialist political party, making her the first woman in Pakistan to head a major political party. In 1988, she became the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state and was also Pakistan's first (and thus far, only) female prime minister. Noted for her charismatic authority and political astuteness, Benazir Bhutto drove initiatives for Pakistan's economy and national security, and she implemented social capitalist policies for industrial development and growth. In addition, her political philosophy and economic policies emphasised deregulation (particularly of the financial sector), flexible labour markets, the denationalisation of state-owned corporations, and the withdrawal of subsidies to others. Benazir Bhutto's popularity waned amid recession, corruption, and high unemployment which later led to the dismissal of her government by conservative President Ghulam Ishaq Khan.

In 1993, Benazir Bhutto was re-elected for a second term after the 1993 parliamentary elections. She survived an attempted coup d'état in 1995, and her hard line against the trade unions and tough rhetorical opposition to her domestic political rivals and to neighbouring India earned her the nickname " Iron Lady"; she was also respectfully referred to as "B.B." In 1996, the charges of corruption levelled against her led to the final dismissal of her government by President Farooq Leghari. Benazir Bhutto conceded her defeat in the 1997 Parliamentary elections and went into self-imposed exile in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 1998.

After nine years of self-exile, she returned to Pakistan on 18 October 2007, after having reached an understanding with President Pervez Musharraf, by whom she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn. Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a bombing on 27 December 2007, after leaving PPP's last rally in the city of Rawalpindi, two weeks before the scheduled 2008 general election in which she was a leading opposition candidate. The following year, she was named one of seven winners of the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights.

Personal life


Benazir Bhutto was born at Pinto Hospital in Karachi, Sindh, Dominion of Pakistan on 21 June 1953. She was the eldest child of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was of Sindhi ethnicity, and Begum Nusrat Ispahani, a Pakistani of Iranian Kurdish descent. Her paternal grandfather was Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto. She had three younger siblings: brothers, Murtaza and Shahnawaz (both of whom became active in politics), and a sister, Sanam.

Bhutto was raised to speak both English and Urdu; English was her first language; and while she was fluent in Urdu, it was often colloquial rather than grammatical. Despite her family being Sindhi speakers, her Sindhi skills were almost non-existent.

She attended the Lady Jennings Nursery School and Convent of Jesus and Mary in Karachi. After two years at the Rawalpindi Presentation Convent, she was sent to the Jesus and Mary Convent at Murree. She passed her O-level examinations at the age of 15. 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 at Harvard University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree with cum laude honours in comparative government. She was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Bhutto later called her time at Harvard "four of the happiest years of my life" and said it formed "the very basis of her belief in democracy". Later in 1995 as Prime Minister, she arranged a gift from the Pakistani government to Harvard Law School. In 1989, during her first visit, Benazir Bhutto was conferred with her honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degree from Harvard University in 1989.

In June 2006, she received an Honorary LL.D degree from the University of Toronto.

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, during which time she took additional courses in International Law and Diplomacy. After LMH she attended St Catherine's College, Oxford and in December 1976 she was elected president of the Oxford Union, becoming the first Asian woman to head the prestigious debating society. Her undergraduate career was dogged by controversy, partly relating to her father's unpopularity with student politicians. Her election to the presidency of the union was secured only when the poll was re-run after Bhutto had accused the original winner, Vivien Dinham, of canvassing.

On 18 December 1987, she married Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi. The couple had three children: two daughters, Bakhtawar and Asifa, and a son, Bilawal. When she gave birth to Bakhtawar in 1990, she became the first modern head of government to give birth while in office.


Benazir Bhutto's father, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was removed from office following a military coup in 1977 led by the then chief of army General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who imposed martial law but promised to hold elections within three months. Instead of holding general elections, General Zia charged Bhutto with conspiring to murder the father of dissident politician Ahmed Raza Kasuri.

Despite the accusation being "widely doubted by the public", and many clemency appeals from foreign leaders, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged on 4 April 1979 under the effective orders of Supreme Court of Pakistan. Appeals for clemency were dismissed by Chief Martial Law Administrator General Zia-ul-Haq. Benazir Bhutto, her siblings, and her mother were held in a "police camp" until May 1979.

Martial Law: Arrest and imprisonment

After 1979, Zulfi Bhutto's children and his wife struggle hard against the ruthless far-right military dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq, despite consequences to themselves for their opposition. Benazir Bhutto and her younger brother Murtaza spent the next eighteen months in and out of house arrest while she worked to rally political support in an attempt to force General Zia-ul-Haq to drop murder charges against her father. On behalf of Bhutto's former Law minister Abdul Hafeez Pirzada and Fakhruddin Abrahim, the Bhutto's family filed a petition at the Chief Martial Law Administrator Office for the reconsideration the sentence of Zulfikar Bhutto, and for the release of Bhutto's friend Dr. Mubashir Hassan. However, General Zia-ul-Haq claimed to have misplaced the petition, and further ignored worldwide appeals for clemency. Zulfikar Bhutto was hanged on April 1979 despite the international pressure. Following the hanging of Bhutto, Benazir and Murtaza were arrested repeatedly. Following PPP's victory in the local elections, General Zia postponed the national elections indefinitely and moved Benazir, Murtaza, and their mother Nusrat Bhutto from Karachi to Larkana Central Jail. This was the seventh time that Nusrat Bhutto and her children had been arrested within two years of the military coup. After repeatedly placing them under house arrest, the regime finally imprisoned her under solitary confinement in a desert cell at Sindh Province during the summer of 1981. She described the conditions in her wall-less cage in her book "Daughter of Destiny," which goes by the title of "Daughter of the East" in Commonwealth countries for copyright reasons:

The summer heat turned my cell into an oven. My skin split and peeled, coming off my hands in sheets. Boils erupted on my face. My hair, which had always been thick, began to come out by the handful. Insects crept into the cell like invading armies. Grasshoppers, mosquitoes, stinging flies, bees and bugs came up through the cracks in the floor and through the open bars from the courtyard. Big black ants, cockroaches, seething clumps of little red ants and spiders. I tried pulling the sheet over my head at night to hide from their bites, pushing it back when it got too hot to breathe
—Benazir Bhutto, summer of 1981

After her six-month imprisonment in Sukkur jail, she remained hospitalised for months after which she was shifted to Karachi Central Jail, where she remained imprisoned until 11 December 1981. She was then placed under house arrest in Larkana for eleven months and Karachi for fourteen.

Release and Self-exile

In January 1984, after six years of house arrests and imprisonment, General Zia succumbed to international pressure and allowed Bhutto's family to travel abroad for medical reasons. After undergoing surgery, she resumed her political activities and began to raise awareness about the mistreatment of political prisoners in Pakistan at the hands of Zia regime. This intensified pressure forced General Zia into holding a referendum to give legitimacy to his government. The referendum held on 1 December 1984 proved to be a farce: only 10% of the voters bothered to turn out despite the state machinery. In 1985, Benazir Bhutto received news at a local hotel in Nice, France that her brother Shahnawaz Bhutto was murdered by poisoning. The Bhutto family believed that this was done under orders from General Zia-ul-Haq, prompting Zulfikar Bhutto's children to hide.

Further pressure from the international community forced General Zia to hold elections, for a unicameral legislature on a non-party basis. Benazir Bhutto announced a boycott of the election on the grounds that they were not being held in accordance with the constitution of Pakistan. She continued to raise her voice against human rights violations by the Zia regime and addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 1985. In retaliation to the speech, Zia announced death sentences for 54 members of her party at a military court in Lahore headed by Zia himself.

Political campaign

At left during Parliamentary session in 1998–1999. From left: Chaudhry Muhammad Barjees Tahir, Ajmal Khattak, Aitzaz Ahsan, Benazir Bhutto.
Benazir Bhutto on a visit to Washington, D.C. in 1989

Benazir 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 to return to the United Kingdom in 1984, she became a leader in exile of Pakistan People's Party (PPP). For the first time in the history of Pakistan, a woman was chairwoman of a major political party, though she was unable to make her political presence felt in Pakistan until after the death of General Zia. She succeeded her mother as chairperson of the PPP and the pro-democracy opposition, although a left wing alliance, the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) to the far-right and ultraconservative military government of General Zia.

1988 parliamentary elections

The seat, from which Benazir contested for the safe constituency for the post of Prime Minister in 1980s, namely, NA 207. This seat was considered a Bhutto clan's post and first contested in 1926 by the late Sardar Wahid Bux Bhutto, in the first ever elections in Sindh, British Indian Empire. The elections were for the Central Legislative Assembly of India. Sardar Wahid Bux won, and became not only the first elected representative from Sindh to a democratically elected parliament, but also the youngest member of the Central Legislative Assembly at age 27. Wahid Bux's achievement was monumental as it was he who was the first Bhutto elected to a government, from a seat that would, thereafter, always be contested by his family members.

Therefore, it was he who paved the way for subsequent Bhuttos to enter Pakistani politics. Sardar Wahid Bux went on to be elected to the Bombay Council. After Wahid Bux's untimely and mysterious death at the age of 33, his younger brother Nawab Nabi Bux Bhutto contested from the same seat and remained undefeated until retirement. It was Nabi Bux who then gave this seat to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to contest in 1970. On 16 November 1988, the first open political elections in more than a decade were held and Benazir Bhutto won major provinces of Pakistan and had the largest percentile for seats in the National Assembly— a lower house of Parliament.

Prime minister

First term (1988–1990)

Benazir Bhutto became 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan on 2 December 1988. Arriving at the Prime Minister Secretariat, Benazir Bhutto addressed the huge crowd:

We gather together to celebrate freedom, to celebrate democracy, to celebrate the three most beautiful words in the English language: `"We the People. "
—Benazir Bhutto on December 2, 1988, 

Initially on 2 December, Benazir Bhutto formed a coalition government with MQM, a liberal party, as her ally. As time passed, Bhutto quietly isolated MQM's influence from government and later ousted them, establishing a single party government and claiming the entire mandate from all of Pakistan. During this time, the effects of General Zia's domestic policies began to reveal themselves and she found them difficult to counter. During her first term, Bhutto vowed to repeal the controversial Hudood Ordinance and to revert the Eight Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto also promised to shift Pakistan's semi-presidential system to a parliamentary system. But none of the reforms were made and Benazir began to struggle with conservative President Ghulam Ishaq Khan over the issues of executive authority. President Khan repeatedly vetoed proposed laws and ordinances that would have lessened his presidential authority. Benazir Bhutto's accomplishments during this time were in initiatives for nationalist reform and modernisation, which some conservatives characterised as Westernization.

Relations with India and Afghanistan war

Benazir took the office in the crucial and penultimate decade of Cold War, and closely aligned with the United States President George H. W. Bush, based on a mutual distrust of Communism, although she strongly opposed United States's support of Afghan Mujaheddin which she labeled "America's Frankenstein" during her first state visit to United States in 1989. Benazir Bhutto's government oversaw and witnessed the major events in the alignment of the Middle East and the South Asia. On the Western front, the Soviet Union was withdrawing its combatant forces in Afghanistan and the United States-Pakistan alliance had broken off with the United States suspicions on Pakistani nuclear weapons, in 1990. Benazir Bhutto deliberately attempted to warm the relations with neighboring India and met with prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1989 where she negotiated for a trade agreement when the Indian premier paid a farewell visit to Pakistan. The goodwill relations with India continued until 1990 after V. P. Singh succeeded Gandhi as Premier. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) influence on Singh forced him to abrogate with agreements, and the tensions began to arise with Pakistan after BJP forced its hardline policies on Kashmir to Pakistan. Soon, the Singh administration launched the military operation in Kashmir to curbed the liberation movement. In response, Benazir allegedly gave authorization for covert operations to support Kashmiri succession movements in Indian Kashmir. In 1990, Major-General Pervez Musharraf, who was the Director-General of the Directorate-General for the Military Operations (DGMO), proposed a strategic plan against India to Benazir Bhutto calling for a Kargil Infiltration, but Benazir refused because General Musharraf didn't have a strategy for dealing with any resultant international fallout. In 1988, Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul met with Bhutto and advocated for a plan supporting the Khalistan movement, a Sikh nationalist movement. General Gul justified this strategy as the only way of preempting a fresh Indian threat to Pakistan's territorial integrity. Bhutto disagreed with his views and asked him to stop playing this "card". General Gul refused and, politely told the Prime minister in mocking French accent that, " Madame' Prime Minister, keeping [Indian] Punjab destabilized is equivalent... to the Pakistan Army.... having an extra division at no cost to the taxpayers...".

On the Western front, Bhutto also authorised further aggressive military operations in Afghanistan to topple the fragile communist regime and the Soviet influence in the region. One of her notable military authorisations was military action in Jalalabad of Soviet Afghanistan in retaliation for the Soviet Union's long unconditional support of India, a proxy war in Pakistan, and Pakistan's loss in the 1965 and 1971 wars. This operation was "a defining moment for her [Benazir's] government" to prove the loyalty to Pakistan Armed Forces. This operation planned by then-Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant- General Hamid Gul, with inclusion of U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Robert Oakley. Known as Battle of Jalalabad, it was intended to gain a conventional victory on Soviet Union after Soviet Union had withdrawn its troops. The central planner of this operation was Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul who gained Bhutto's permission and authorisation after he had briefed her on the Afghanistan situation. The mission, planned solely by Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul, brutally failed in a matter of two months with no effective results produced. The morale of the mujahideen involved in the attack slumped and many local commanders ended truces with the government. Angered and frustrated with the outcomes of the operation, Benazir Bhutto, who was already displeased with Gul, immediately deposed and sacked Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul while his rank was not degraded but his pay rate was made equivalent to Major rank officer. Bhutto's decision to depose Gul was one of her authoritative moves that surprised many senior statesman, though they did back her. She replaced Gul with another Lieutenant General Shamsur Rahman Kallu who proved to be more a capable officer in the Afghan war than Gul. After Gul's removal, Benazir Bhutto took the matter into her own hands by favouring a political settlement between all the Afghan Mujaheddin factions and hence international legitimacy for the new government. This was never achieved and the factions began fighting each other, further destabilising the country. Benazir also promoted and strengthened relations with the United Kingdom, and met with her British counterpart Margaret Thatcher where a financial assistance and trade agreement was signed by both prime ministers. In all, during her first government, Benazir Bhutto's foreign policy revolved around Afghanistan, India, and the United States.

Science policy

While on her trip to United Kingdom in 1990, Benazir Bhutto paid a visit to Dr. Abdus Salam, a Nobel laureate in Physics and science advisor of her father, where she had paid great respect to Abdus Salam. During her first and second term, Benazir Bhutto followed the same policy on science and technology as her father did in 1972, and promoted the military funding of science and technology as part of her policy. However, in 1988, Benazir Bhutto was denied access to any of the country's classified national research institutes run under the Pakistan Armed Forces which maintained under the control of civilian President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and the Chief of Army Staff. Ironically, Bhutto was deliberately kept unaware about the progress of the nuclear complexes when country passed the milestone of manufacturing fissile core decades ago. The U.S. Ambassador, Robert Oakley, was the first diplomat to have notified about the complexes in 1988. Shortly after this, Benazir summoned Chairman of the PAEC, Munir Ahmad Khan who she knew since 1975 in her office where Khan brought Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan with him and introduced Dr. Khan to the prime minister. At there, Benazir Bhutto learned to status of this crash program which had been matured since 1978, and on behalf of dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, Benazir first paid the visit to KRL in 1989 which angered the President Ghulam Ishaq Khan. Benazir Bhutto also responded to Khan when she moved the Ministry of Science and Technology's office to the Prime Minister Secretariat with Munir Ahmad Khan directly reporting to her. Benazir Bhutto had successfully eliminated any possibilities of Khan's involvement or any influence in science research programmes, a policy which also benefited Nawaz Sharif. During her first and second term, Benazir Bhutto issued funding of many projects entirely devoted to country's national defence and security. Dismissal of Lieutenant-General Gul by Benazir Bhutto had played a significant role on Chief of Army Staff General Mirza Aslam Beg who did not interfere in the matters science and technology, remained supportive towards Benazir Bhutto's hard line actions on the President. In 1990, Benazir denied to allot funds of any military science projects that would be placed under Lieutenant-General Zahid Ali Akbar, despite Akbar was known to be closed to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. In 1990, she forced Akbar from resigning from his active duty, and as director-general of Army Technological Research Laboratories (ATRL); she replaced him with Lieutenant-General Talat Masood as E-in-C of ATRL as well as director of entire military projects.

If we don't, India will go ahead and adopt aggressive designs on us... To preserve the minimum deterrence, tests should be performed this month of year....

—Benazir Bhutto, 1998,

In 1980s, Benazir Bhutto started aerospace projects such as Project Sabre II, Project PAC, Ghauri project under dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan in 1990 and the Shaheen programme in 1995 under dr. Samar Mubarakmand. The starting of the integrated space weapons programme was one of the major contributions that enhanced Pakistan's atomic bomb program as well. To some observers and historians, Benazir is widely considered as "mother" of Pakistan's space programme, is widely given credit for given the authorisation and nurturing the development of the Ghauri and Shaheen programme.

During her second term, Benazir Bhutto declared "1996", a year of " information technology", and envisioned her policy of making Pakistan a "global player" in the information technology. One of her initiatives was the launching of the an ambitious package of computer literacy through participation from the private sector. Benazir issued an executive decree allowing to complete duty-tariff free imports of hardware and software exports, and to provide a low rate for data communications in public and private sector. Benazir Bhutto also established and set up the infrastructure of soft-ware technology parks in rural and urban cities, and approved a financial assistance loan for soft-ware houses for public sector.

Atomic weapons programme

In opposition to her conservative opponent Nawaz Sharif whose policy was to make the nuclear weapons programme benefit the economy, Benazir Bhutto took aggressive steps and decisions to modernise and expand the integrated atomic weapons programme founded and started by her father in 1972, was one of the key political administrative figures of Pakistan's nuclear deterrent development. During her first time, Benazir Bhutto established the separate but integrated nuclear testing programme in the atomic bomb programme, thus establishing a nuclear testing programme where the authorisations were required by the Prime minister and the military leadership. Despite Benazir's denial for the authorisation of the nuclear testing programme in her second term, Benazir continued to modernise the programme into new heights despite the United States' embargo, which she termed this embargo as "contractual obligation".

It took only two weeks and three days for Pakistan to master the [atomic] field... and ( detonate) the nuclear devices of our own...

—Benazir Bhutto, on first nuclear tests on May 1998,

It was during her regime that Pressler amendment came in effect in an attempt to freeze the programme. While her frequent trips to United States, Benazir Bhutto refused to compromise on the nuclear weapons programme and, shifted her rogue criticism to the Indian nuclear programme, and attacked the Indian nuclear programme on multiple occasions. Benazir Bhutto had mislead the U.S. when she told the United States Government that the programme had been frozen, but the programme was progressively modernized and continued under her watch. Under her regime, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) had conducted series of improvised designs of nuclear weapons designed by Theoretical Physics Group (TPG) at PAEC. Benazir Bhutto's father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was the father of Pakistan's nuclear deterrence programme, and was instructed to keep in touch with senior scientists involved in this programme. Benazir Bhutto also carried messages to Munir Ahmad Khan from her father and back in 1979 as her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had instructed his daughter to remain in touch with the Chairman of PAEC. In this context, Bhutto had appointed Munir Ahmad Khan as her Science Adviser who kept her informed about the development of the programme. In all, the nuclear weapons and energy program remained Benazir's top priority as with the country's economy. During her first term, the nuclear program was under attack and under pressure by the Western world, particularly the United States. Despite the economic aid that was offered by the European Union and the United States in return to halt or freeze the program, Benazir did not compromise and continued this crash program under her first and second regime.

During her first term, Bhutto had approved and launched the Shaheen programme as she had advocated for this programme strongly. A vocal and avid supporter of the program, Bhutto also allotted funds for the programme, and strategic programs were launched under Bhutto's premiership. On 6 January 1996, Bhutto publicly announced that if India conducts a nuclear test, Pakistan could be forced to "follow suit". Bhutto later said that the day will never arise when we have to use our knowledge to make and detonate a [nuclear] device and export our technology.

The People of (Pakistan)... are "security conscious" because of the ( 1971) severe trauma, and the three wars with (India). Our (Pakistan) nuclear development was peaceful... but was "an effective deterrence to India"..... because (New Delhi) had detonated a nuclear device. She (Pakistan)...., thus, had to take every step to ensure its territorial integrity and sovereignty.....
—Benazir Bhutto, on Pakistan's nuclear weapons

Space programme

Benazir Bhutto continued her policy to modernise and expand the space programme and as part of that policy, she launched and supervised the clandestine project integrated research programme (IRP), a missile programme which remained under Benazir Bhutto's watch and successfully ended in 1996, also under her auspices. As part of her policy, Benazir constituted the establishment of National Development Complex and the University Observatory in Karachi University and expanded the facilities for the space research. Pakistan's first military satellite, Badr-I, was also launched under her government through China, while the second military satellite Badr-II was completed during her second term. With launching of Badr-I, Pakistan became the first Muslim country to have launched and placed a satellite in Earth's orbit, second only after India. She declared 1990 a year of space in Pakistan and conferred national awards to scientists and engineers who took participation in the development of this satellite.

1989 military scandal

In 1989, public media reported a sting operation and political scandal codename, Midnight Jackal, when former members of ISI hatched a plan to topple the Bhutto government. Midnight Jackal was a political intelligence operation launched under President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and the Chief of Army Staff General Mirza Aslam Beg, and the objectives were to bring the vote of no confidence movement in the Parliament by bribing the members of Benazir's own party. Lieutenant-General Asif Nawaz had suspected the activities of Brigadier-General Imtiaz Ahmad, therefore, a watch cell unit was dispatched to keep an eye on the Brigadier.

This operation was exposed by ISI when it had obtained a VHS tape containing the conversation between two former army officers and former members of ISI, from the Intelligence Bureau (IB). The tape was confiscated by ISI director-general Lieutenant-General Shamsur Rahman Kallu who showed this tape to Benazir the next day. The video tape showed the conversation of Major Amir Khan and Brigadier-General Imtiaz Ahmed revealed that Chief of Army Staff General Mirza Aslam Baig of that time wanted to end government due to some issues. Though, the Brigadier had failed to prove the General Beg's involvement, General Mirza, on the other hand, sharply denied the accusation and started a full fledged courts martial of these officers with Benazir being the civilian Judge of JAG Branch to proceed the hearings. The officers were deposed from their services and placing them at Adiala military correctional institute in 1989. It was not until 1996, that the officers were released from the military correctional institute by the order of Prime minister Nawaz Sharif.


By the 1990, Benazir Bhutto had successfully lessened the role of President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in government operations as well as Khan's importance in the military. With the following revelation of Midnight Jackal, Benazir had successfully undermined Khan's importance in national politics and his influence in government-ruling operations on the day-to-day basis. Benazir Bhutto was thought by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan to be a young and inexperienced figure in politics, though highly educated. But, Khan had miscalculated the capabilities of Bhutto who emerged as a 'power player' in international politics. Benazir Bhutto's authoritative actions frustrated the President who was not taken in confidence while the decisions were made, and by 1990, the power struggle between the Prime minister and President ensued. Because of the semi-presidential system, Benazir needed permission from Khan for imposing new policies, which Khan vetoed as he seen to moderate or contradict to his point of view. Benazir, through her legislators, also attempted to shift parliamentary democracy to replace the semi-presidential system, but Khan's constitutional powers always vetoed Benazir's attempts.

The amid tales of corruption began to surfaced in the media in the nationalised industries and corporations which undermined the credibility of Benazir Bhutto. The unemployment and labour strikes began to take place which halted and jammed the economic wheel of the country and Benazir Bhutto was unable to solve these issues due to in a cold war with the President. In November 1990, after a long political battle, Khan finally used the Eighth Amendment (VIII Amendment) to dismiss the Bhutto government following charges of corruption, nepotism, and despotism. Khan soon called for new elections in 1990 where Bhutto conceded defeat.

Parliamentary opposition (1990–1993)

Following her dismissal in 1990, the Election Commission of Pakistan called for the new parliamentary elections in 1990. The Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (Islamic Democratic Alliance (IDA) under the leadership of conservative leader Navaz Sharif won the majority in the Parliament, Benazir Bhutto accepted her defeat soon after. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, the conservative forces had a chance to rule the country, and Navaz Sharif became 12th Prime Minister of Pakistan and Benazir Bhutto was took over the role of Leader of the Opposition for the next five years.

In November 1992, Benazir Bhutto attempted to perform a 10-mile march from Rawalpindi to Islamabad. However, Bhutto was forced to discontinue the rally due to a threat of being arrested from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The demonstration was an anti-government rally that upset Pakistan officials. As a result, she was placed on house arrest and vowed to bring down the Pakistani government. In December 1992, a two-day march was conducted in protest of Nawaz Sharif. In July1993, Nawaz Sharif resigned from his position due to political pressure.

From 1990 to 1993, Benazir Bhutto worked for her voice and screen image. Pakistan affair intellectual, Anatol Lieven, compared her accent as "cut-glass accent", but acknowledge her education and good-standing academic background. Benazir Bhutto began regularly to attend lunches at the Institute of Development Economics (IDE), a think tank founded in 1950s; she had been visiting IDE and reading its publications since the mid-1970s. During this time, the IDA launched a secret campaign against Benazir Bhutto's image to demoralised the party workers; this campaign brutally backfired on Nawaz Sharif when the media exposed the culprits and motives behind this plot. More than ₨. 5 million were spent on this campaign and it had undermined the credibility of the conservatives who also failed to resolve issues among between them.

Despite an economic recovery in the late 1993, the IDA government faced public unease about the direction of the country and an industrialisation revolved and centred only in Punjab Province. Amid protest and civil disorder in Sindh Province, following the imposition of Operation Clean-up, the IDA government lost the control of the province. The Peoples Party attacked the IDA government's unemployment records, and industrial racism. However, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed the conservative government on same charges when Sharif attempted to revert the 8th Amendment but was unsuccessful. Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto would unite to oust the President who lost the control of the country in matter of weeks. Khan too was forced to resign along with Nawaz Sharif in 1993, and an interim government was formed until the new elections. A parliamentary election was called after the resignation of Nawaz Sharif and Ghulam Ishaq Khan by Pakistan Armed Forces. Both Sharif and Benazir Bhutto compaigned with full force, targeting each other's personalities. Their policies were very similar but saw a clash of personalities with both parties making many promises but not explaining how they were going to pay for them.

Sharif stood on his record of privatisations and development projects and pledged to restore his taxi giveaway program. Bhutto promised price supports for agriculture, pledged a partnership between government and business and campaigned strongly for the female vote.

Second term (1993–1996)

Though the Pakistan People's Party won the most seats (86 seats) in the election but fell short of an outright majority, with the PML-N in second place with 73 seats in the Parliament. The PPP performed extremely well on Bhutto's native province, Sindh, and rural Punjab, while the PML-N was strongest in industrial Punjab and the largest cities such as Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi. On 19 October 1993, Benazir Bhutto was sworn as Prime Minister for second term allowing her to continue her reform initiatives.

Benazir Bhutto learned a valuable experience and lesson from the presidency of Ghulam Ishaq Khan, and the presidential elections were soon called after her re election. After carefully examining the candidates, Benazir Bhutto decided to appoint Farooq Leghari as for her president, in which, Leghari sworned as 8th President of Pakistan on 14 November 1993 as well as first Baloch to have became president since the country's independence. Leghari was an apolitical figure who was educated Kingston University London receiving his degree in same discipline as of Benazir Bhutto. But unlike Khan, Leghari had no political background, no experience in government running operations, and had no background understanding the civil-military relations. In contrast, Leghari was a figurehead and puppet president with all of the military leadership directly reporting to Benazir Bhutto. She first time gave the main ministry to the minorities and appointed Mr. Julius Salik (formerly J. Salik) as Minister for Population Welfare. The previous governments only give ministry for minority affairs as a minister of state or parliamentary secretary. J. Salik is a very popular leader among minorities and won the MNA seat by getting highest votes throughout Pakistan.

Domestic affairs

Benazir Bhutto was Prime Minister at a time of great racial tension in Pakistan. Her approval poll rose by 38% after she appeared and said in a private television interview after the elections: "We are unhappy with the manner in which tampered electoral lists were provided in a majority of constituencies; our voters were turned away." The Conservatives attracted voters from religious society (MMA) whose support had collapsed. The Friday Times noted "Both of them (Nawaz and Benazir) have done so badly in the past, it will be very difficult for them to do worse now. If Bhutto's government fails, everyone knows there will be no new elections. The army will take over". In confidential official documents Benazir Bhutto had objected to the number of Urdu speaking class in 1993 elections, in context that she had no Urdu-speaking sentiment in her circle and discrimination was continued even in her government. Her stance on these issues was perceived as part of rising public disclosure which Altaf Hussain called "racism". Due to Benazir Bhutto's stubbornness and authoritative actions, her political rivals gave her the nickname " Iron Lady" of Pakistan. No response was issued by Bhutto, but she soon associated with the term.

Benazir Bhutto meeting with socialist intellectuals in 1996 during a socialist convention in Pakistan.

The racial violence in Karachi was reached at peak and became a biggest problem for Benazir Bhutto to counter. The MQM attempted to make an alliance with Benazir Bhutto under her own conditions, but Benazir Bhutto refused. Soon the second operation, Operation Blue Fox was launched to wipe the MQM from country's political spectrum. The results of this operation remains inconclusive and resulted in thousands killed or gone missing, with majority contains Urdu-speaking. Benazir Bhutto issued the statement to MQM asking the MQM to surrender to her government unconditionally. Though the operation was halted in 1995, but amid violence continued and, Shahid Javed Burki, a professor of economics, noted that "Karachi problem was not so much an ethnic problem as it was an economic question. Amid union and labour strikes beginning to take place in Karachi and Lahore, which were encouraged by both Altaf Hussain and Nawaz Sharif to undermine her authority, Benazir Bhutto responded by disbanding these trade union and issuing orders to arrest the leaders of the trade unions, while on other hand, she provided incentives to local workers and labourers as she had separated the workers from their union leaders successfully. Benazir Bhutto expanded the authoritative rights of Police Combatant Force and the provisional governments that tackled the local opposition aggressively. Bhutto, through her Internal Security Minister Naseerullah Babar, intensified the internal security operations and steps gradually putting down the opposition's political rallies, while she did not complete abandoned the reconciliation policy. In her own worlds, Benazir Bhutto announced: "There was no basis for (strikes)... in view of the on going political process...".

In August 1993, Benazir Bhutto narrowly escaped an assassination attempt near her residence in the early morning. While no one was injured or killed, the culprits of this attempt went into hiding. In December 1993, disturbing news began to surface in the Swat valley when Sufi Muhammad, a religious cleric, began to mobilise the local militia calling for overthrow of the "un-Islamic rule of [Iron] Lady". Benazir Bhutto responded quickly and ordered the Pakistan Army to crackdown the militia, leading to the movement crushed by the Army and the cleric was apprehended before he could escape.

However, corruption grew during her government, and her government became increasingly unpopular amid corruption scandals which became public. One of the most internationally and nationally reported scandals was the Agosta Submarine scandal. Benazir Bhutto's spouse Asif Ali Zardari was linked with former Admiral Mansurul Haq who allegedely made side deals with French officials and Asif Ali Zardari while acquiring the submarine technology. It was one of the consequences that her government was dismissed and Asif Ali Zardari along with Mansurul Haq were arrested and a trial was set in place. Both Zardari and Haq were detained due to corruption cases and Benazir Bhutto flew to Dubai from Pakistan in 1998.

Women's issues

During her election campaigns, she had promised to repeal controversial laws (such as Hudood and Zina ordinances) that curtail the rights of women in Pakistan. Bhutto was pro-life and spoke forcefully against abortion, most notably at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, where she accused the West of "seeking to impose adultery, abortion, intercourse education and other such matters on individuals, societies and religions which have their own social ethos." However, Bhutto was not supported by the leading women organisations, who argued that after being elected twice, none of the reforms were made, instead controversial laws were exercised more toughly. Therefore, in 1997 elections, Bhutto failed to secure any support from women's organisations and minorities also gave Bhutto the cold-shoulder when she approached them. It was not until 2006 that the Zina ordinance was finally repealed by a Presidential Ordinance issued by Pervez Musharraf in July 2006.

Bhutto was an active and founding member of the Council of Women World Leaders, a network of current and former prime ministers and presidents.

Economic issues

The total GDP per capita stood between 8.4% (in 1970s) and 8.3% (in 1993–96), periods of nationalisation.

Benazir Bhutto was an economist by profession; therefore during her terms, Benazir Bhutto had no Minister to lead the Ministry of the Treasury. Benazir Bhutto appointed herself as Treasury Minister, taking the charge of economic and financial affairs on her hand. Benazir sought to improve the country's economy which was declining as the time was passing. Benazir disagreed with her father's nationalization and socialist economics. Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Benazir attempted to privatize major industries that were nationalized in 1970s. Benazir Bhutto promised to end the nationalisation programme and to carried out the industrialisation programme by means other than the state intervention. But controversially Benazir Bhutto did not carry out the denationalization programme or liberalization of the economy during her first government. No nationalized units were privatized, few economic regulations were reviewed.

During the periods of 1993–96, the local local production of coal remained steady.

Pakistan suffered a currency crisis when the government failed to arrest the 30% fall in the value of the Pakistani Rupee from ₨. 21 to ₨.30 compared to the United States dollar. Soon economic progress became her top priority but her investment and industrialisation programs faced major setbacks due to conceptions formed by investors based upon her People's Party nationalisation program in 1970s. By the 1990s, Khan and Benazir Bhutto's government had also ultimately lost the currency war with the Indian currency when the Indian Rupee beat the value of Pakistan rupee for the first time in 1970s. Benazir Bhutto's denationalisation program also suffered from many political setbacks, as many of her government members were either directly or indirectly involved with the government corruption in major government-owned industries, and her appointed government members allegedly sabotaged her efforts to privatised the industries.

Justice is economic independence. Justice is social equality...

—Benazir Bhutto, 1996, Cited source

Overall, the living standard for people in Pakistan declined as inflation and unemployment grew at an exponential rate particularly as UN sanctions began to take effect. During her first and second term, the difference between rich and poor visibly increased and the middle class in particular were the ones who bore the brunt of the economic inequality. According to a calculation completed by the Federal Bureau of Statistics, the rich were statistically were improved and the poor declined in terms of living standards. Benazir attributed this economic inequality to be a result of ongoing and continuous illegal Bengali immigration. Benazir Bhutto ordered a crackdown on and deportation of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. Her action strained and created tensions in Bangladesh–Pakistan relations, with prime minister Khaleda Zia, who was in power in Dhaka during the time. Zia refused to accept the deportees and reportedly sent two planeloads back to Pakistan. Religious parties also criticised Bhutto and dubbed the crackdown as anti-Islamic.

This operation backfired and had devastating effects on Pakistan's economy. President Khan saw this as a major economic failure despite Khan's permission granted to Benazir Bhutto for the approval of her economic policies. Khan blamed Benazir for this extensive economic slowdown and her policy that failed to stop the illegal immigration. Khan attributed Benazir Bhutto's government members corruption in government-owned industries as the major sink hole in Pakistan's economy that failed to compete with neighbouring India's economy.

Privatization and era of stagflation
The GDP growth rate was at ~4.37% in 1993, which fell to ~1.70% in 1996, before Bhutto's dismissal.

During her second term, Benazir Bhutto continued to follow former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's privatisation policies, which she called a "disciplined macroeconomics policy". After the 1993 general elections, the privatisation programme of state-owned banks and utilities accelerated; more than ₨ 42 billion was raised from the sale of nationalised corporations and industries, and another $20 billion from the foreign investment made the United States. After 1993, the country's national economy again entered in the second period of the stagflation and more roughly began bite the country's financial resources and the financial capital. Bhutto's second government found it extremely difficult to counter the second era of stagflation with Pressler amendment and the US financial and military embargo tightened its position. After a year of study, Benazir Bhutto implemented and enforced the Eighth Plan to overcome the stagflation by creating a dependable and effective mechanism for accelerating economic and social progress. But, according to American ambassador to Pakistan, William Milam's bibliography, "Bangladesh and Pakistan:Flirting with Failure in South Asia", the Eighth Plan (which reflected the Soviet styled highly centralized and planned economic system) was doomed to meet with failure from the very beginning of 1994, as the policies were weak and incoherent.

On many occasions, Benazir Bhutto resisted to privatise the globally competitive and billion dollar worth state-owned enterprises (such as Pakistan Railway and Pakistan Steel Mills), instead the grip of nationalisation in those state-owned enterprises was tightened in order to secure the capital investment of these industries. The process of privatisation of the nationalised industries was associated with the marked performance and improvement, especially the terms of labour productivity. A number of privatization of industries such as gas, water supply and sanitation, and electricity general, were natural monopolies for which the privatization involved little competition. Interestingly, the currency gained in the process of privatization was avoided not spent on people's living standard, and it was in 1997, when the Auditor-General and Institute of Public Finance Accountants founded that the amount gained in privatization had gone somewhere else and it was no where to be found in government's account.

Furthermore, Benazir denied that privatisation of the Pakistan Railways would take place despite the calls made in Pakistan, and was said to have told to Chairman of the Planning Commission Naveed Qamar, "Railways privatization will be the "blackhole" of this government. Please never mention the railways to me again". Benazir Bhutto always resisted to privatised the UBL, but UBL management sent the recommendation for the privatisation which dismayed the labour union. The United Group of Employees Management (UGEM) asked the Madame Prime minister for issue of regulation sheet which she denied. The holding of UBL in government control turned out to be a move that ended in "disaster" for Benazir Bhutto's government.

Foreign policy

Benazir Bhutto's foreign policy was controversial. As for her second term, Benazir Bhutto expanded Pakistan's relations with the rest of the world. As before like her father, Benazir Bhutto sought to strengthen the relations with socialist states, and Benazir Bhutto's first visit to Libya strengthened the relations between the two countries. Benazir also thanked Muammar al-Gaddafi for his tremendous efforts and support for her father during before Zulfikar's trial in 1977. Ties continued with Libya but deteriorated after Nawaz Sharif became prime minister in 1990 and again in 1997. In Pakistan, Gaddafi was said to be very fond of Benazir Bhutto and was a family friend of Bhutto family, but disliked Nawaz Sharif due to his ties with General Zia in the 1980s. Benazir Bhutto is said to have paid a state visit to North Korea in early 1990 and in 1996, and according to journalist Shyam Bhatia, Bhutto smuggled CDs containing uranium enrichment data to North Korea on a state visit that same year in return for data on missile technology. According to the expert, Benazir Bhutto acted as female "James Bond", and left with a bag of computer disks to pass on to her military to North Korea.

Benazir Bhutto in the United States, 1989.

Major-General Pervez Musharraf closely worked with Benazir Bhutto and her government in formulating the foreign strategy with Israel. In 1993, during Benazir Bhutto's state visit to the United States, Major-General Pervez Musharraf who was tenuring as the Director-General of the Pakistan Army's Directorate-General for the Military Operation (DGMO), was ordered by Bhutto to join this state visit. As unusual and unconventional it was for the Director of the Directorate-General for Military Operations (DGMO) to join this trip, Benazir Bhutto and her DGMO had chaired a secret meeting with Israeli officials in New York in 1993 who especially flew to Washington. Under her guidance, General Musharraf had intensified the ISI's liaison with Israel's Mossad. A final meeting took place in 1995, and General Musharraf had also joined this meeting with Benazir Bhutto after she ordered General Musharraf to fly to New York immediately. Benazir Bhutto also strengthened relations with communist state Vietnam and visited Vietnam to sign the mutual trade and international political cooperation between both countries. In 1995, Benazir Bhutto paid a state visit to United States where she held talks with U.S. President Bill Clinton. During the visit, Benazir Bhutto urged the United States to amend the Pressler Amendment and emphasized United States to launch a campaign against the extremism. Though, the Prime Minister criticized U.S.'s nonproliferation policy and demanded that the United States honour its contractual obligation. She was successful in getting the United States to pass the Brown Amendment which released Pakistani government funds which had been frozen after the Pressler Amendment, However the arms exports ban remained.

During her second term, the relationship with P. V. Narasimha Rao of India further deteriorated. As like her father, Benazir Bhutto used the rhetoric opposition to India, campaigning international community against the Indian nuclear programme. On 1 May 1995, Benazir Bhutto used harsh language and publicly warned India for her "continuation of [Indian] nuclear programme would have terrible consequences". India responded to this statement as interfering in India's "internal matter", and the Indian Army fired a RPG near at the Kahuta which further escalating the events leading into the full-fledged war. When the news reached to Benazir Bhutto, she responded by high-alerting the Air Force Strategic Command which, heavily armed Arrows, Griffins, Black Panthers and the Black Spiders (all of these squadrons are part of the Strategic Command) began to take the air sorties and patrol the Indo-Pakistan border on day and night regular missions. On 30 May, India test fired the Prithvi-1 missile near the Pakistan border, which was condemned by Benazir Bhutto. Following this test, Benazir responded by deploying Shaheen-I missile, however these missiles were not armed. Benazir Bhutto permitted PAF to deploy the Crotale missile defence and the Anza-Mk-III near at the Indian border which escalated the conflict, but it had produced effective results that kept the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force from launching any surprise attack. In 1994, she bought the Agosta submarines and the AIP technology from France to replace the aging Daphné-class submarines for the Pakistan Navy. It was a highly controversial agreement, but it had tripled the Pakistan's naval capabilities that later posed a substantial threat to Indian Navy to launch a naval adventure against Pakistan.; Benazir Bhutto later deployed the Pakistan Navy's Mu-90 torpedo, and authorised a submarine operation to patrol the vicinity of Pakistan naval borders in order to keep Indian Navy away from the economical ports.

In 1995, the ISI reported to the Bhutto that P.V. Narasimha Rao, Indian Premier had given an authorisation for nuclear tests, and the tests could be conducted any minute. Benazir responded by putting the country's nuclear arsenal programme on high-alert emergency preparations were made by the government, and Benazir Bhutto ordered the Pakistan Armed Forces to stay on high-alert. However, after the United States interfered, the Indian operations for conducting the nuclear tests were called off and the Japanese tried to provide mediation between both countries. However, in 1996, Benazir Bhutto met with the Japanese officials where she warned India about conducting the nuclear tests, and in the first time, Benazir Bhutto revealed that Pakistan has achieved "parity" with India in its "capacity" to produce nuclear weapons and their "delivery capability." While talking to Indian press, Benazir Bhutto said that Pakistan "cannot afford to negate the parity we maintain with India" in the nuclear area. Benazir Bhutto's statements represent a departure from Pakistan's previous policy of "nuclear ambivalence. Soon after learning this news, Prime minister Benazir Bhutto issued a statement concerning the tests in which she reportedly told the international press and condemned Indian nuclear tests, as she put it:

if (India) conducts a nuclear test, it would forced her (Pakistan) to.. "follow suit...The day will never arise... when we (Pakistan)...have to use our knowledge to make and detonate a [nuclear] device and export our [nuclear] technology...
—Benazir Bhutto, 6 January 1996

Benazir Bhutto also intensified her policy on Indian-held Kashmir by rallying against India. Benazir Bhutto, accompanied by her then- Speaker of the National Assembly Yousaf Raza Gillani (future prime minister) at the Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting at the United Nations, gave a vehement and intensified criticism to India which upset and angered the Indian delegation headed by prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Vajpayee responded by saying: It is Pakistan which is flouting the United Nations resolution by not withdrawing its forces from Kashmir...You people create problems every time. You know the Kashmiri people themselves acceded to India. First, the Maharajah, then the Kashmiri parliament both decided to go with India".

In 1996, Benazir Bhutto attacked the Indian nuclear programme and warned India of "tragic consequences". Bhutto criticised Indian held-Kashmir and described it as the worst example of Indian intransigence. Benazir also countered Indian allegation for Pakistan's putative nuclear test as "baseless allegation". Bhutto criticised India as a bid to hide its plan to explode a nuclear device, and failure to cover up its domestic problems including its failure in suppressing the freedom struggle in Kashmir.

Relations with military

During her first term, Benazir Bhutto had strained relationship with the Pakistan Armed Forces, especially with Pakistan Army. Chief of Army Staff General Mirza Aslam Beg had cold relations with the elected prime minister, and continued to undermine her authority. As for the military appointments, Benazir Bhutto refused to appoint General Beg as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, instead invited Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey to take the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 1988, Benazir Bhutto appointed Air Chief Marshal Hakimullah as the Chief of Air Staff and Admiral Jastural Haq as the Chief of Naval Staff. In 1988, shortly after assuming the office, Benazir Bhutto paid a visit to Siachen region, to boost the moral of the soldiers who fought the Siachen war with India. This was the first visit of any civilian leader to any military war-zone area since the country's independence in 1947. In 1988, Benazir appointed Major-General Pervez Musharraf as Director-General of the Army Directorate General for Military Operations (DGMO); and then-Brigadier-General Ishfaq Pervez Kayani as her Military-Secretary. In 1989, the Pakistan Army exposed the alleged Operation Midnight Jackal against the government of Benazir Bhutto. When she learned the news, Benazir Bhutto ordered the arrest and trial of former ISI officer Brigadier Imtiaz Ahmad and Major Amir Khan, it was later revealed that it was General Beg who was behind this plot. General Beg soon paid the price in 1993 elections, when Benazir Bhutto politically destroyed the former general and his career was over before taking any shifts in politics. During her first term, Benazir Bhutto had successfully removed senior military officers including Lieutenant-Generals Hamid Gul, Zahid Ali Akbar, General Jamal Ahmad Khan, and Admiral Tarik Kamal Khan, all of whom had anti-democratic views and were closely aligned to General Zia-ul-Haq, replacing them with officers who were educated in Western military institutes and academies, generally the ones with more westernised democratic views.

During her second term, Benazir Bhutto's relations with the Pakistan Armed Forces took a different and pro-Bhutto approach, when she carefully appointed General Abdul Waheed as the Chief of Army Staff. General Abdul Waheed was an uptight, strict, and a professional officer with a views of Westernized democracy. Benazir also appointed Admiral Saeed Mohammad Khan as Chief of Naval Staff; General Abbas Khattak as Chief of Air Staff. Whilst, Air Chief Marshal Farooq Feroze Khan was appointed Chairman Joint Chiefs who was the first (and to date only) Pakistani air officer to have reached to such 4 star assignment. Benazir Bhutto enjoyed a strong relations with the Pakistan Armed Forces, and President who was hand-picked by her did not questioned her authority. She hand-picked officers and promoted them based on their pro-democracy views while the puppet President gave constitutional authorisation for their promotion. The senior military leadership including Jehangir Karamat, Pervez Musharraf, Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Ali Kuli Khan, Farooq Feroze Khan, Abbas Khattak and Fasih Bokhari, had strong Western democratic views, and were generally close to Bhutto as they had resisted Nawaz Sharif's conservatism. Unlike Nawaz Sharif's second democratic term, Benazir worked with the military on many issues where the military disagreement, solving many problems relating directly to civil-military relations. Her tough and hardline policies on Afghanistan, Kashmir and India, which the military had backed Benazir Bhutto staunchly.

After the assassination was attempted, Benazir Bhutto's civilian security team headed under Rehman Malik (now current interior minister), was disbanded by the Pakistan Army whose X-Corps' 111th Psychological Brigade— an army brigade tasked with countering the psychological warfare— took control of the security of Benazir Bhutto, that directly reported to Chief of Army Staff and the Prime Minister. Benazir Bhutto ordered General Abdul Waheed Kakar and the Lieutenant-General Javed Ashraf Qazi director-general of ISI, to start a sting and manhunt operation to hunt down the ringmaster, Ramzi Yousef. After few arrests and intensive manhunt search, the ISI finally captured Ramzi before he could flew the country. In matter of weeks, Ramzi was secretly extradited to the United States, while the ISI managed to kill or apprehend all the culprits behind the plot. In 1995, she personally appointed General Naseem Rana as the Director-General of the ISI, who later commanded the Pakistan Army's assets in which came to known as " Pakistan's secret war in Afghanistan. During this course, General Rana directly reported to the prime minister, and led the intelligence operations after which were approved by Benazir Bhutto. In 1995, Benazir also appointed Admiral Mansurul Haq as the Chief of Naval Staff, as the Admiral had personal contacts with the Benazir's family. However, it was the Admiral's large-scale corruption, sponsored by her husband Asif Zardari, that shrinked the credibility of Benazir Bhutto by the end of 1996 that led to end of her government after all.

Policy on Taliban

The year of 1996 was crucial for Benazir Bhutto's policy on Afghanistan when Pakistan-backed extremely religious group, the Taliban, took power in Kabul in September 1996. It was during Benazir Bhutto's rule that the Taliban gained prominence in Afghanistan and many of her government, including herself, had backed the Taliban for gaining the control of Afghanistan. She continued her father's policy on Afghanistan taking aggressive measures to curb the anti-Pakistan sentiments in Afghanistan. During this time, many in the international community at the time, including the United States government, viewed the Taliban as a group that could stabilise Afghanistan and enable trade access to the Central Asian republics, according to author Steve Coll.

He claims that her government provided military and financial support for the Taliban, even sending a small unit of the Pakistan Army into Afghanistan. Benazir had approved the appointment of Lieutenant-General Naseem Rana who she affectionately referred to him as " Georgy Zhukov"; and had reported to her while providing strategic support to Taliban. During her regime, Benazir Bhutto's government had controversially supported the hardline Taliban, and many of her government officials were providing financial assistance to the Taliban. Fazal-ur-Rehman, a right-wing cleric, had a traditionally deep influence on Benazir Bhutto as he convinced and later assisted Benazir Bhutto to help the regime of Taliban she established the Taliban's Afghanistan. In a reference written by American scholar, Steve Coll in Ghost Wars, he dryly put it: "Benazir Bhutto was suddenly the matron of a new Afghan faction— the Taliban."

Under her government, Pakistan had recognised the Taliban regime as legitimate government in Afghanistan, allowing the Taliban to open an embassy in Islamabad. In 1996, the newly appointed Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef presented her diplomatic credentials while he paying a visit to her. However during 2007, she took an anti-Taliban stance, and condemned terrorist acts allegedly committed by the Taliban and their supporters.

Coup d'état attempt

In 1995, Benazir Bhutto's government survived an attempted coup d'état hatched by renegade military officers of the Pakistan Army. The culprit and ringleader of the coup was a junior level officer, Major-General Zahirul Islam Abbasi, who had radical views. Others included Brigadier-Generals Mustansir Billa, and Qari Saifullah of Pakistan Army. The secret ISI learned of this plot and tipped off the Pakistan Army and at midnight before the coup could take place, it was thwarted. The coup was exposed by Lieutenant-General (retired) Ali Kuli Khan, at that time Major-General and head of the Military Intelligence, and Lieutenant-General (retired) Jehangir Karamat, Chief of General Staff. The Military Intelligence led the arrest of 36 army officers and 20 civilians in Rawalpindi; General Ali Kuli Khan reported to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto early morning and submitted his report on the coup. After learning this, Benazir was angered and dismayed, therefore a full-fledged running court martial was formed by Benazir Bhutto. Prime Minister Benazir issued arrests of numbers of religiously conservatives leaders and therefore denied the amnesty and clemency calls made by the Army officers. By the 1996, all of the dissident officers were either jailed or shot dead by the Pakistan Army and a report was submitted to the Prime minister. General Kuli Khan and General Karamat received wide appreciation from the prime minister and were decorated with the civilian decorations and award by her.

Death of younger brother

In 1996, the Bhutto family suffered another tragedy in Sindh Province, Benazir Bhutto's stronghold and political lair. Murtaza Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto's younger brother, was controversially and publicly shot down in a police encounter in Karachi. Since 1989, Murtaza and Benazir had a series of disagreements on formulating the Pakistan Peoples Party's policies and Murtaza's opposition towards Benazir's operations against the Urdu-speaking class. Murtaza also developed serious disagreement with Benazir's spouse Asif Ali Zardari, and unsuccessfully attempted to remove his influence in the government. Benazir and Murtaza's mother, Nusrat Bhutto, sided with Murtaza which also dismayed the daughter. In a controversial interview, Benazir declared that Pakistan only needed one Bhutto, not two, though she denied giving or passing any comments. Her younger brother increasingly made it difficult for her to run the government after he raised voices against Benazir's alleged corruption. Alone in Sindh, Benazir lost the support of the province to her younger brother. At the political campaign, Murtaza demanded party elections inside the Pakistan Peoples Party, which according to Zardari, Benazir would have lost due to Nusrat backing Murtaza and many workers inside the party being willing to see Murtaza as the country's Prime minister as well as the chair of the party. More problems arose when Abdullah Shah Lakiyari, Chief Minister of Sindh, and allegedly her spouse created disturbances in Murtaza's political campaign. On 20 September 1996, in a controversial police encounter, Murtaza Bhutto was shot dead near his residence along with six other party activists. As the news reached all of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto hurriedly returned to Karachi, and an emergency was proclaimed in the entire province. Benazir Bhutto's limo was stoned by angered PPP members when she tried to visit Murtaza's funeral ceremonies. Her brother's death had crushed their mother, and she was immediately admitted to the local hospital after learning that her son had been killed. At Murtaza's funeral, Nusrat accused Benazir and Zardari of being responsible, and vowed to pursue prosecution.

President Farooq Leghari, who dismissed the Bhutto government seven weeks after Murtaza's death, also suspected Benazir and Zardari's involvement. Several of Pakistan's leading newspapers alleged that Zardari wanted his brother-in-law out of the way because of Murtaza's activities as head of a breakaway faction of the PPP. In all, after this incident, Benazir Bhutto lost all support from Sindh Province. Public opinion later turned against her, with many believing that her spouse was involved in the murder, a claim her spouse strongly rejected.


In spite of her tough rhetorical actions to subdue her political rivals and neighbouring India and Afghanistan, the government corruption heightened and exceeded its limits during her second regime by her appointed government members and cabinet ministers, most notable figures were both Asif Ali Zardari and Admiral Mansurl Haq. Soon after the death of her younger brother, Benazir Bhutto widely became unpopular and public opinion turned against her government. In Sindh Province, Benazir Bhutto lost all the support from the powerful feudal lords and political spectrum that turned against her. In 1996, the major civil-military scandal became internationally and nationally known when her spouse Asif Ali Zardari (now the current President of Pakistan) was linked with then- Chief of Naval Staff and former Admiral Mansurol Haque. Known as Agosta class scandal, many of higher naval admirals and government officials of both French and Pakistan were accused to have gotten heavy commissions while the deal was disclosed to sell this sensitive submarine technology to Pakistan Navy.

In November 1996, Bhutto's government was dismissed by Leghari primarily because of corruption and Murtaza's death, who used the Eighth Amendment discretionary powers to dissolve the government. Benazir was surprised when she discovered that it was not the military who had dismissed her but her own hand-picked puppet President who had used the power to dismiss her. She turned to the Supreme Court hoping for gaining Leghari's actions unconstitutional. But the Supreme Court justified and affirmed President Leghari's dismissal in a 6–1 ruling. Many military leaders who were close to Prime minister rather than the President, did not wanted Benazir Bhutto's government to fall, as they resisted the Nawaz Sharif's conservatism. When President Leghari, through public media, discovered that General Kakar ( Chief of Army Staff), General Khattak ( Chief of Air Staff), and Admiral Haq ( Chief of Naval Staff) had been backing Benazir to come back in the government; President Leghari aggressively responded by dismissing the entire military leadership by bringing the pro-western democracy views but neutral military leadership that would supervise the upcoming elections. This was the move that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (elected in 1997) did repeat in 1999, when Nawaz Sharif had deposed General Jehangir Karamat after developing serious disagreements on the issues of national security. (see Dismissal of General Jehangir Karamat).

Criticism against Benazir Bhutto came from the powerful political spectrum of the Punjab Province and the Kashmir Province who opposed Benazir Bhutto, particularly the nationalisation issue that led the lost of Punjab's privatised industries under the hands of her government. Bhutto blamed this opposition for the destabilisation of Pakistan. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Jehangir Karamat at one point intervened in the conflict between President and the Prime Minister, and urged Benazir Bhutto to focus on good governance and her ambitious programme of making the country the welfare state, but the misconduct of her cabinet ministers continued and the corruption which she was unable to struck it down with a full force. Her younger brother's death had devastating effect on Benazir's image and her political career that shrunk her and her party's entire credibility. At one point, Chairman of Joint Chiefs General Jehangir Karamat noted that:

In my opinion, if we have to repeat of past events then we must understand that Military leaders can pressure only up to a point. Beyond that their own position starts getting undermined because the military is after all is a mirror image of the society from which it is drawn.
—General Jehangir Karamat commenting on Benazir's dismissal, 

Soon after her government was ended, the Naval intelligence led the arrest of Chief of Naval Staff and acquitted him with a running court-martial sat up at the Naval Judge Advocate General Corps led by active duty 4-star admiral. Many of her government members and cabinet ministers including her spouse were thrown in jails and the trials were sat up at the civilian Supreme Court. Faced with serious charges by the Navaz Sharif's government, Bhutto flew to Dubai with her three young children while her spouse was thrown in jail. Shortly after rising to power in a 1999 military coup, General Pervez Musharraf characterized Bhutto's terms as an "era of sham democracy" and others characterized her terms a period of corrupt, failed governments.

Parliamentary opposition (1996–1999)

Benazir Bhutto suffered wide range public disapproval after the intense corruption cases were made public, and it was clearly seen after Benazir Bhutto's defeat in 1997 parliamentary elections. Soon, Benazir left for Dubai taking her three children with her, while her husband was set to face trial.

Bhutto assumed the position of Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament despite living in Dubai, working to enhance her public image whilst being supportive of public reforms. In 1998, soon after the Indian nuclear tests, Benazir publicly called for the tests, rallying and pressuring the elected Prime minister Nawaz Sharif to take the decision. Benazir had political intelligence from within close circles of the prime minister that Nawaz Sharif was reluctant and hesitated to give authorisation to the tests. Therefore, it was felt, her public call for the Test would increase her popularity. However, this move backfired when the Prime minister indeed authorised and gave orders to the scientists from PAEC and KRL to conduct the tests. A wide range of approvals of these tests was conceived by the Prime Minister; the public image and prestige of Nawaz Sharif was at its peak point. As for Benazir, it was another political defeat and her image gradually declined in 1998.

However, Pakistan entered in the year of 1999 that brought dramatic changes for Benazir Bhutto as well as the entire country. Benazir criticized Sharif for violating the Armed Forces's code of conduct when the prime minister illegally appointed General Pervez Musharraf as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Senior scientist, dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, also criticised the Prime minister for making this move and rendered as prime minister's unforgettable and biggest mistake, though he traced his remarks later.

In early months of 1999, Sharif remained widely popular while Sharif took initiatives to make peace with neighbouring India. However, this all changed when Pakistan became involved with unpopular and undeclared war with India. This conflict, known as Kargil war, brought international embarrassment for the country, and the prime minister's public image and prestige was destroyed in matter of two months. Benazir gave rogue criticism to the prime minister, and called the Kargil War, "Pakistan's greatest blunder"

Lieutenant-General (retired) Ali Kuli Khan, Director-General of ISI at that time, also publicly criticised the prime minister and labelled this war as "a disaster bigger than East Pakistan". Benazir Bhutto, now joined by religious and liberal forces, made a tremendous effort to destroy the prestige and credibility of her political enemy, according to south Asia expert William Dalrymple. In August 1999, Sharif soon faced an event that completely shattered what remained of his image and support. Two Indian Air Force MiG-21FL fighters shot down a Pakistan Navy reconnaissance plane, killing 16 naval officers. Benazir Bhutto criticised Sharif for having failed to gather any support from the navy. Sharif's relations with the Pakistan Armed Forces deteriorated as the Armed Forces began to criticise the prime minister for causing the military disasters. During this time, Benazir's approval ratings were favourable and received a wide range of positive approvals in society. The Armed Forces Chiefs remained sympathetic towards Benazir as she continued to criticise the now unpopular Sharif.

I went over the statement with [American] officials.... and [I] find there is (nothing) which supports the ...(Nawaz) Government. Before December of...(1999)... Nawaz Sharif's premiership and his... government would fall....
—Benazir Bhutto, Statement issued on 25 September 1999

Benazir Bhutto was highly confident that her party would secure an overwhelming victory in the coming Senate elections on 1999 on Nawaz Sharif's conservatives in the Senate due to widespread unpopularity of the prime minister. Controversially, when the coup d'état was initiated by the Pakistan Armed Forces, Benazir Bhutto did not issue any comments or criticism, rather remaining silent in support of General Pervez Musharraf, as noted by south Asia expert William Dalrymple.

Benazir remained supportive towards General Musharraf's coordinated arrests of Nawaz Sharif's supporters and staff in Pakistan. Ultimately, General Musharraf had destroyed and shattered Nawaz Sharif's political presence in Sindh and Kashmir Provinces. Many political offices of Sharif's constituency were forcefully closed and Sharif's sympathetic elements were jailed. In 2002, Benazir Bhutto and the MQM made a side-line deal with General Musharraf that allows both to continue underground political activities in Sindh and Kashmir Provinces and to fill the gap after Musharraf had destroyed Sharif's presence in the both provinces. The effects of the arrests was seen clearly in the 2008 parliamentary elections, when Nawaz Sharif failed to secure support back in Sindh and Kashmir Provinces. The PPP and the MQM formed the coalition government in 2008 in Sindh and Kashmir Provinces and strongly opposed Nawaz Sharif in both provinces.

Charges of corruption

After the dismissal of Bhutto's first government on 6 August 1990 by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on the grounds of corruption, the government of Pakistan issued directives to its intelligence agencies to investigate the allegations. After national elections held shortly after, Nawaz Sharif became the Prime Minister and intensified prosecution proceedings against Bhutto. Pakistani embassies through western Europe, in France, Switzerland, Spain, Poland and Britain were directed to investigate the matter. Bhutto and her husband faced a number of legal proceedings, including a charge of laundering money through Swiss banks. Though never convicted, her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, spent eight years in prison on similar corruption charges. After being released on bail in 2004, Zardari suggested that his time in prison involved torture; human rights groups have supported his claim that his rights were violated.

A 1998 New York Times investigative report claims that Pakistani investigators have documents that uncover a network of bank accounts, all linked to the family's lawyer in Switzerland, with Asif Zardari as the principal shareholder. According to the article, documents released by the French authorities indicated that Zardari offered exclusive rights to Dassault, a French aircraft manufacturer, to replace the air force's fighter jets in exchange for a 5% commission to be paid to a Swiss corporation controlled by Zardari. The article also said a Dubai company received an exclusive license to import gold into Pakistan for which Asif Zardari received payments of more than $10 million into his Dubai-based Citibank accounts. The owner of the company denied that he had made payments to Zardari and claims the documents were forged.

Bhutto maintained that the charges levelled against her and her husband were purely political. An Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) report supports Bhutto's claim. It presents information suggesting that Benazir Bhutto was ousted from power in 1990 as a result of a witch hunt approved by then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan. The AGP report says Khan illegally paid legal advisers 28 million rupees to file 19 corruption cases against Bhutto and her husband in 1990–92.

Yet the assets held by Bhutto and her husband continue to be scrutinised and speculated about. The prosecutors have alleged that their Swiss bank accounts contain £740 million. Zardari also bought a neo- Tudor mansion and estate worth over £4 million in Surrey, England, UK. The Pakistani investigations have tied other overseas properties to Zardari's family. These include a $2.5 million manor in Normandy owned by Zardari's parents, who had modest assets at the time of his marriage. Bhutto denied holding substantive overseas assets.

Despite numerous cases and charges of corruption registered against Bhutto by Nawaz Sharif between 1996 and 1999 and Pervez Musharraf from 1999 until 2008, she was yet to be convicted in any case after a lapse of twelve years since their commencement. The cases were withdrawn by the government of Pakistan after the return to power of Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party in 2008.

Early 2000s (decade) in exile

By the end of 1990s, the one-time populist prime minister Nawaz Sharif had became widely unpopular, and following the military coup, Sharif's credibility, image, and even his career was destroyed by General Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan. Musharraf formed the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) in order to politically banish the former prime minister's party support in Balochistan, Punjab, Sindh, Khyber, and Kashmir Provinces. The Pakistan Muslim League (Q) had consisted of those who were initially part of the former prime minister's party but then moved with Musharraf in order to avoid prosecution and going to jail. The year of 2000 brought positive changes for Benazir Bhutto who widely became unpopular in Pakistan in 1996. In the 2000s decade, following the declassification of secret Hamoodur Rahman Commission's papers and other secret documents of 1970s, Benazir Bhutto's support in Pakistan began to rally. Her image in the country widely became positive and People's Party seemed to be coming back in the government soon the new elections were scheduled to take place. Amid fear of coming back of Benazir Bhutto threatened Pervez Musharraf, therefore, Musharraf released many of the political prisoners of the liberal-secular force, the Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM). Musharraf saw MQM as the vital political weapon of holding back of Pakistan Peoples Party. But, MQM had only support in Karachi at that time, and lacked its support to urban areas of Sindh, which remained a vital threat for Musharraf.

Therefore, in 2002, Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf amended Pakistan's constitution to ban prime ministers from serving more than two terms, fearing the comeback of Benazir Bhutto. This disqualified Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif from ever holding the office again. This move was widely considered to be a direct attack on former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. On 3 August 2003, Bhutto became a member of Minhaj ul Quran International (an international Muslim educational and welfare organisation).

Public life

While living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, she cared for her three children and her mother Nusrat, who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease, travelling to give lectures and keeping in touch with the PPP's supporters. They were reunited with her husband in December 2004 after more than five years. In 2006, Interpol issued a request for the arrest of Bhutto and her husband on corruption charges, at the request of Pakistan. The Bhuttos questioned the legality of the requests in a letter to Interpol. On 27 January 2007, she was invited by the United States to speak to President George W. Bush and Congressional and State Department officials. Bhutto appeared as a panellist on the BBC TV programme Question Time in the UK in March 2007. She has also appeared on BBC current affairs programme Newsnight on several occasions. She rebuffed comments made by Muhammad Ijaz-ul-Haq in May 2007 regarding the knighthood of Salman Rushdie, citing that he was calling for the assassination of foreign citizens.

Intention to return to Pakistan

Bhutto had declared her intention to return to Pakistan within 2007, which she did, in spite of Musharraf's statements of May 2007 about not allowing her to return ahead of the country's general election, due late 2007 or early 2008. It was speculated that she may have been offered the office of Prime Minister again.

Attitudes toward Urdu-speaking class

In 1980s, Benazir Bhutto removed the Urdu-speaking Dr. Mubashir Hassan, co-founder of Pakistan People's Party and close friend of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Some attribute this is her dislike of " muhajirs" whilst others attribute it to Dr Hasan being unhappy with PPP's move away from traditional socialism and anti US spirit. From the inception of the party, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had enjoyed a strong relations with Urdu-speaking communities and muhajirs had strong base in People's Party of Pakistan, and remained supporter of her father until the end. Many attribute Benazir's hatred towards Muhajir, was the imposition of martial law and then hanging of her father by General Zia-ul-Haq, a Punjabi muhajir from Jalandhar.

U.S. attempt for a Musharaff-Bhutto deal

By mid-2007, the U.S. appeared to be pushing for a deal in which Musharraf remained president and step down as military head, and either Bhutto or one of her nominees became prime minister.

On 11 July 2007, the Associated Press, in an article about the possible aftermath of the Red Mosque incident, wrote:

Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister and opposition leader expected by many to return from exile and join Musharraf in a power-sharing deal after year-end general elections, praised him for taking a tough line on the Red Mosque. "I'm glad there was no cease-fire with the militants in the mosque because cease-fires simply embolden the militants," she told Britain's Sky TV on Tuesday. "There will be a backlash, but at some time we have to stop appeasing the militants."

This remark about the Red Mosque was seen with dismay in Pakistan as reportedly hundreds of young students were burned to death and remains are untraceable and cases are being heard in Pakistani supreme court as a missing persons issue. This and subsequent support for Musharraf led Elder Bhutto's comrades like Khar to criticise her publicly. Benazir Bhutto however advised Musharraf in an early phase of the latter's quarrel with the Chief Justice, to restore him. Her PPP did not capitalise on its influential CEC statesman, Aitzaz Ahsan, the chief Barrister for the Chief Justice, in successful restoration. Rather, he was seen as a rival of Benazir Bhutto, and was isolated on that issue with PPP.

2002 election

The Bhutto-led PPP secured the highest number of votes (28.42%) and won eighty seats (23.16%) in the national assembly during the October 2002 general elections. Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N) managed to win only eighteen seats. Some of the elected candidates of PPP formed a faction of their own, calling it PPP-Patriots, which was being led by Faisal Saleh Hayat, the former leader of Bhutto-led PPP. They later formed a coalition government with Musharraf's party, PML-Q.

Return to Pakistan

Possible deal with the Musharraf Government

In mid-2002 Musharraf implemented a two-term limit on Prime Ministers. Both Bhutto and Musharraf's other chief rival, Nawaz Sharif, had already served two terms as Prime Minister.

In July 2007, some of Bhutto's frozen funds were released. Bhutto continued to face significant charges of corruption. In an 8 August 2007 interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Bhutto revealed the meeting focused on her desire to return to Pakistan for the 2008 elections, and of Musharraf retaining the Presidency with Bhutto as Prime Minister. On 29 August 2007, Bhutto announced that Musharraf would step down as chief of the army. On 1 September 2007, Bhutto vowed to return to Pakistan "very soon", regardless of whether or not she reached a power-sharing deal with Musharraf before then.

On 17 September 2007, Bhutto accused 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 of Pakistan 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."

Musharraf prepared to switch to a strictly civilian role by resigning from his position as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He still faced other legal obstacles to running for re-election. On 2 October 2007, Gen. Musharraf named Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, as vice chief of the army starting 8 October with the intent that if Musharraf won the presidency and resigned his military post, Kayani would become chief of the army. Meanwhile, Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed stated that officials agreed to grant Benazir Bhutto amnesty versus pending corruption charges. She has emphasised the smooth transition and return to civilian rule and has asked Pervez Musharraf to shed uniform. On 5 October 2007, Musharraf signed the National Reconciliation Ordinance, giving amnesty to Bhutto and other political leaders—except exiled former premier Nawaz Sharif—in all court cases against them, including all corruption charges. The Ordinance came a day before Musharraf faced the crucial presidential poll. Both Bhutto's opposition party, the PPP, and the ruling PMLQ, were involved in negotiations beforehand about the deal. In return, Bhutto and the PPP agreed not to boycott the Presidential election. On 6 October 2007, Musharraf won a parliamentary election for President. However, the Supreme Court ruled that no winner can be officially proclaimed until it finishes deciding on whether it was legal for Musharraf to run for President while remaining Army General. Bhutto's PPP party did not join the other opposition parties' boycott of the election, but did abstain from voting. Later, Bhutto demanded security coverage on-par with the President's. Bhutto also contracted foreign security firms for her protection.

Return to Pakistan and the assassination attempt

While under house arrest, Benazir Bhutto speaks to supporters outside her house.

Bhutto was well aware of the risk to her own life that might result from her return from exile to campaign for the leadership position. In an interview on 28 September 2007, with reporter Wolf Blitzer of CNN, she readily admitted the possibility of attack on herself.

After eight years in exile in Dubai and London, Bhutto returned to Karachi on 18 October 2007, to prepare for the 2008 national elections.

En route to a rally in Karachi on 18 October 2007, two explosions occurred shortly after Bhutto had landed and left Jinnah International Airport. She was not injured but the explosions, later found to be a suicide-bomb attack, killed 136 people and injured at least 450. The dead included at least 50 of the security guards from her PPP who had formed a human chain around her truck to keep potential bombers away, as well as six police officers. A number of senior officials were injured. Bhutto, after nearly ten hours of the parade through Karachi, ducked back down into the steel command centre to remove her sandals from her swollen feet, moments before the bomb went off. She was escorted unharmed from the scene.

Bhutto later claimed that she had warned the Pakistani government that suicide bomb squads would target her upon her return to Pakistan and that the government had failed to act. She was careful not to blame Pervez Musharraf for the attacks, accusing instead "certain individuals within the government who abuse their positions, who abuse their powers" to advance the cause of Islamic militants. Shortly after the attempt on her life, Bhutto wrote a letter to Musharraf naming four persons whom she suspected of carrying out the attack. Those named included Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, a rival PML-Q politician and chief minister of Pakistan's Punjab province, Hamid Gul, former director of the Inter-Services Intelligence, and Ijaz Shah, the director general of the Intelligence Bureau, another of the country's intelligence agencies. All those named are close associates of General Musharraf. Bhutto had a long history of accusing parts of the government, particularly Pakistan's premier military intelligence agencies, of working against her and her party because they oppose her liberal, secular agenda. Bhutto claimed that the ISI has for decades backed militant Islamic groups in Kashmir and in Afghanistan. She was protected by her vehicle and a "human cordon" of supporters who had anticipated suicide attacks and formed a chain around her to prevent potential bombers from getting near her. The total number of injured, according to PPP sources, stood at 1000, with at least 160 dead (The New York Times claims 134 dead and about 450 injured).

A few days later, Bhutto's lawyer Senator Farooq H. Naik said he received a letter threatening to kill his client.

2007 State of Emergency and response

On 3 November 2007, President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency, citing actions by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and religious extremism in the nation. Bhutto returned to the country, interrupting a visit to family in Dubai. She was greeted by supporters chanting slogans at the airport. After staying in her plane for several hours she was driven to her home in Lahore, accompanied by hundreds of supporters. While acknowledging that Pakistan faced a political crisis, she noted that Musharraf's declaration of emergency, unless lifted, would make it very difficult to have fair elections. She commented that "The extremists need a dictatorship, and dictatorship needs extremists."

On 8 November 2007, Bhutto was placed under house arrest just a few hours before she was due to lead and address a rally against the state of emergency.

The following day, the Pakistani government announced that Bhutto's arrest warrant had been withdrawn and that she was free to travel and to appear at public rallies. However, leaders of other opposition political parties remained prohibited from speaking in public.

Preparation for 2008 elections

On 2 November 2007, Bhutto participated in an interview with David Frost on Al Jazeera, stating Osama Bin Laden had been murdered by Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who is one of the men convicted of kidnapping and killing U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl. Frost never asked a follow up question regarding the claim that Bin Laden was dead. Her interview could later be viewed on BBC's website, although it was initially distorted by the BBC as her claim about Bin Laden's death was taken out. But, once people discovered this and started posting evidence on YouTube, the BBC replaced its version with the version that was originally aired on Al Jazeera.

On 24 November 2007, Bhutto filed her nomination papers for January's Parliamentary elections; two days later, she filed papers in the Larkana constituency for two regular seats. She did so as former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, following seven years of exile in Saudi Arabia, made his much-contested return to Pakistan and bid for candidacy.

When sworn in again on 30 November 2007, this time as a civilian president after relinquishing his post as military chief, Musharraf announced his plan to lift the Pakistan's state of emergency rule on 16 December. Bhutto welcomed the announcement and launched a manifesto outlining her party's domestic issues. Bhutto told journalists in Islamabad that her party, the PPP, would focus on "the five E's": employment, education, energy, environment, equality.

On 4 December 2007, Bhutto met with Nawaz Sharif to publicise their demand that Musharraf fulfill his promise to lift the state of emergency before January's parliamentary elections, threatening to boycott the vote if he failed to comply. They promised to assemble a committee that would present to Musharraf the list of demands upon which their participation in the election was contingent.

On 8 December 2007, three unidentified gunmen stormed Bhutto's PPP office in the southern western province of Balochistan. Three of Bhutto's supporters were killed.


Memorial at the site of the assassination

On 27 December 2007, Benazir Bhutto was killed while leaving a campaign rally for the PPP at Liaquat National Bagh in the run-up to the January 2008 parliamentary elections. After entering her bulletproof vehicle, Bhutto stood up through its sunroof to wave to the crowds. At this point, a gunman fired shots at her, and subsequently explosives were detonated near the vehicle killing approximately 20 people. Bhutto was critically wounded and was rushed to Rawalpindi General Hospital. She was taken into surgery at 17:35 local time, and pronounced dead at 18:16. The cause of death, whether it was gunshot wounds, the explosion, or a combination thereof, was not fully determined until February 2008. Eventually, Scotland Yard investigators concluded that it was due to blunt force trauma to the head as she was tossed by the explosion.

The events leading up to Benazir Bhutto's death correlated with the protest in 1992. In the month of December, Bhutto met with Nawaz Sharif and expressed frustration with their government. In response, a rally was conducted in Rawalpindi, the same place as 1992. Alternatively, these events resulted in her death in 2007.

Al-Qaeda commander Mustafa Abu al-Yazid claimed responsibility for the attack, and the Pakistani government stated that it had proof that Baitullah Mehsud, affiliated with Lashkar i Jhangvi—an al-Qaeda-linked militant group—was the mastermind. However this was vigorously disputed by the Bhutto family, the Pakistan Peoples Party that Bhutto had headed, and by Mehsud. On 12 February 2011, an Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi issued an arrest warrant for Musharraf, claiming he was aware of an impending assassination attempt by the Taliban, but did not pass the information on to those responsible for protecting Bhutto.

After the assassination, there were initially a number of riots resulting in approximately 20 deaths, of which three were of police officers. President Musharraf decreed a three-day period of mourning.

Bhutto's 19-year-old son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari succeeded his mother as titular head of the PPP, with his father effectively running the party until his son completes his studies at Christ Church, Oxford.


Atomic proliferation with North Korea

The defence cooperation between North Korea and Pakistan started sometime in 1994 and the country led by Benazir Bhutto and her personal role had much more deeper and controversial role in North Korea's nuclear programme. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had lasting friendship with Kim Il-sung— founder of the North Korean communist state. In a state visit paid by Benazir Bhutto in 1994, Benazir Bhutto closed the deal with the transfer of North Korean missile technology in return of nuclear technology, an allegation Benazir Bhutto had strongly dismissed. According to Zahid Hussain, author of "Frontline Pakistan", there was a huge respect for Benazir Bhutto and as directly persuaded by the North Korean military leadership to go and meet with Kim Jong-il.

Shyam Bhatia, an Indian journalist, alleged in his book Goodbye Shahzadi that in 1993, Bhutto had downloaded secret information on uranium enrichment, through Pakistan's former top scientist dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, to give to North Korea in exchange for information on developing ballistic missiles ( Rodong-1) and that Benazir Bhutto had asked him to not tell the story during her lifetime. David Albright of the Institute of Science and International Security said the allegations "made sense" given the timeline of North Korea's nuclear program. George Perkovich of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace called Bhatia a "smart and serious guy." Selig Harrison of the Centre for International Policy called Bhatia "credible on Bhutto." The officials at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, D.C. sharply denied the claims and the senior U.S. State Department officials dismissed them, insisting that, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, who had been earlier accused of proliferating secrets to North Korea (only to deny them later, prior to Bhatia's book), was the source. In spite of Pakistan Government's denial. In 2012, senior scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, summed up to The News International that "the transfer of atomic technology was not so easy that one could put it into his pocket and hand it over to another country." Abdul Qadeer Khan also asserted that: "The-then prime minister (Mohtarma) Benazir Bhutto summoned me and named the two countries which were to be assisted and issued clear directions in this regard."

The members of Pakistan Peoples Party and the government itself strongly dismissed all the "allegations" made by Qadeer Khan regarding Benazir Bhutto's role in atomic proliferation. The Foreign Office categorically rejected Qadeer Khan's claim, and maintained to the fact that "the proliferation activity was an individual act, and did not carry authorization of any Pakistan Government, at any stage." The spokesperson of peoples party, Farhatullah Babar, also rebutted the claims as "a desperate attempt to wash his own guilt."

Position on 1998 Tests

In May 1998, India detonated its five nuclear devices in Pokhran Test Range, and established itself as the sixth nuclear power. Benazir and the top elite members her central committee publicly called for Pakistan's nuclear tests in response. It was later confirmed that Benazir and the People's Party had political gains for the calls of conducting atomic tests to increase their popularity numbers on the country's political scoring board, which had been shattered in the 1996 scandals. However, Benazir's calls for the tests gained momentum on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to order and authorise the nuclear testing programme, which bloomed the Prime minister's reputation at a record level, despite Benazir Bhutto being first to publicly call for them.

In recent declassified and undated papers released by Wikileaks in 2011, Benazir Bhutto falsely assured the American diplomats that she was against conducting nuclear tests, as the similar assurances given by Nawaz Sharif to American diplomats. But it later turns out that Benazir Bhutto did not keep to that commitment and made another public calls for Pakistan to conduct tests in reply to Indian nuclear tests (see Pokhran-II). Benazir Bhutto justified that the "eat grass" statements – frequently used by her father Zulfikar Bhutto and rival Navaz Sharif – have been used to assure people of Pakistan that austerity measures would be adopted but national security would not be compromised. In an undated leaks, Benazir Bhutto was sought by the American diplomats multiple times to soften her stance and support for nuclear tests, and cautioned Benazir Bhutto that her reaction to India's tests had been criticized in the West media. At that meeting, Benazir Bhutto and her party's elite officials notified the senior U.S. diplomats that "PPP publicly state that the issue of tests was too important to be used as a “political football”. While talking to an unnamed American diplomat, Bhutto said that: "The time for the test had passed and it would have a disastrous impact on Pakistan's national economy and an international reputation. She maintained and famously quoted: "I cannot say these things publicly, but neither will I call for a (nuclear) detonation".

After observing the successful detonation and her rival's public speech, Benazir Bhutto calculated her rival's popularity in Pakistan after the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had authorized the tests. Benazir Bhutto asserted that these tests "had erased the existed doubts and fear from the minds of people of Pakistan who questioned Pakistan's deterrence capability after 1971 collapse".


Commenting on her legacy, the acclaimed south Asia expert William Dalrymple commented that "It's wrong for the West simply to mourn Benazir Bhutto as a martyred democrat since her legacy was far murkier and more complex". Despite her western and positive image in the world, Bhutto's controversial policies and support have made her legacy much more complicated. Benazir Bhutto failed to revert the controversial Hudood Ordinance — a controversial presidential ordinance enforced which is criticised for to subordinate and suppressing woman's rights. In 2009, the CBS News, described her legacy as "mixed", and commented that: "It's only in death that she will become an icon — in some ways people will look at her accomplishments through rose-tinted glasses rather than remembering the corruption charges, her lack of achievements or how much she was manipulated by other people."

Domestic challenges

Original cabinet members of Zulfikar Bhutto did not join Benazir's government, most notably Dr. Mubaschir Hassan who declined to work with Benazir Bhutto supposedly due to disagreement with her policies, notably the issue nationalization. Critics accused Benazir Bhutto of sidelining Urdu-speaking sentiment in the party, feudal leaders, and notable Sindhi nationalists from her party during both terms in government.

Assessment of 1997 elections

For some observers, it was the worst parliamentary defeat of People's Party and Bhutto since the party's inception where People's party secured only 21.8% of the vote.

Honours and eponyms

In spite of criticism, Benazir Bhutto, the Iron Lady, remains respected among her rivals, and is often remembered with good wishes. Her rivals always referred to her as B.B. and have never called her by her actual name in accordance to her respect. Benazir Bhutto is often seen as a symbol of women empowerment and participation in national politics as many parties ranging from Liberal-secular, national conservatives to the religious society have now allowed women to be part of their political ideology and fully participate in elections.

Her efforts and struggle to save her father and democracy remain a lasting legacy that is deeply respected among in her rivals. The Pakistan government honored Bhutto on her birthday by renaming the Islamabad International Airport as Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Muree Road of Rawalpindi as Benazir Bhutto Road and Rawalpindi General Hospital as Benazir Bhutto Hospital. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, a member of Bhutto's PPP, also asked President Pervez Musharraf to pardon convicts on death row on her birthday in honour of Bhutto. The city of Nawabshah in Sindh was renamed Benazirabad in her honour. A university in the Dir Upper district of NWFP was founded in her name. Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), a program which provides benefits to the poorest Pakistanis, is named after Bhutto.

Benazir Bhutto's books

  • Benazir Bhutto (1983). Pakistan: the gathering storm. ISBN  978-0-7069-2495-4.
  • Benazir Bhutto (1989). Daughter of the East. Hamish Hamilton. ISBN  978-0-241-12398-0.

Daughter of the East was also released as:

  • Benazir Bhutto (1989-03). Daughter of Destiny: An Autobiography. Simon & Schuster. ISBN  978-0-671-66983-6.

At the time of Bhutto's death, the manuscript for her third book, to be called Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West, had been received by HarperCollins. The book, written with Mark Siegel, was published in February 2008.

  • Benazir Bhutto (2008). Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West. HarperCollins. ISBN  978-0-06-156758-2.

Books about Benazir Bhutto

  • W.F.Pepper, (1983), Benazir Bhutto, WF Pepper, ISBN 978-0-946781-00-3
  • Rafiq Zakaria (1990). The Trial of Benazir. Sangam Books. ISBN  978-0-86132-265-7.
  • Katherine M. Doherty; Craig A. Doherty (1 September 1990). Benazir Bhutto. Franklin Watts. ISBN  978-0-531-10936-6.
  • Rafiq Zakaria (1989). The trial of Benazir Bhutto: an insight into the status of women in Islam. Eureka Pubns. ISBN  978-967-978-320-9.
  • Diane Sansevere-Dreher (1 August 1991). Benazir Bhutto. Skylark. ISBN  978-0-553-15857-1.
  • Christina Lamb (18 November 1992). Waiting for Allah: Pakistan's struggle for democracy. ISBN  978-0-14-014334-8.
  • M. Fathers, (1992), Biography of Benazir Bhutto, W.H. Allen / Virgin Books, ISBN 978-0-245-54965-6
  • Elizabeth Bouchard (1 February 1992). Benazir Bhutto: Prime Minister. Blackbirch Press, Incorporated. ISBN  978-1-56711-027-2.
  • Iqbal Akhund (2000). Trial and error: the advent and eclipse of Benazir Bhutto. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN  978-0-19-579160-0.
  • Libby Hughes (2000-05). Benazir Bhutto: From Prison to Prime Minister. ISBN  978-0-595-00388-4.
  • Iqbal Akhund; Fahmīdah Riyāz̤ (15 September 2001). Benazir Hukoomat: Phela Daur, Kia Khoya, Kia Paya?. ISBN  978-0-19-579421-2.
  • Mercedes Padrino Anderson; Mercedes Padrino (2004-03). Benazir Bhutto. Chelsea House Pub. ISBN  978-0-7910-7732-0.
  • Mary Englar (28 February 2007). Benazir Bhutto: Pakistani Prime Minister and Activist. Coughlan Publishing. ISBN  978-0-7565-1798-4.
  • Ayesha Siddiqa; Ayesha Siddiqa-Agha (2007). Military Inc: inside Pakistan's military economy. Pluto Press. ISBN  978-0-7453-2545-3.
  • Benazir Bhutto Selected Speeches 1989–2007, 600 Pages
  • Articles written to pay tribute to Benazir Bhutto; Sani Panhwar, (2010) 247 Pages

Other related publications

  • Abdullah Malik, (1988), Bhutto se Benazir tak: Siyasi tajziye, Maktabah-yi Fikr o Danish, ASIN B0000CRQJH
  • Bashir Riaz, (2000), Blind justice, Fiction House, ASIN B0000CPHP8
  • Khatm-i Nabuvat, ASIN B0000CRQ4A
  • Mujahid Husain, (1999), Kaun bara bad °unvan: Benazir aur Navaz Sharif ki bad °unvaniyon par tahqiqati dastavez, Print La'in Pablisharz, ASIN B0000CRPC3
  • Ahmad Ejaz, (1993), Benazir Bhutto's foreign policy: A study of Pakistan's relations with major powers, Classic, ASIN B0000CQV0Y
  • Lubna Rafique, (1994), Benazir & British Press, 1986–1990, Gautam, ASIN B0000CP41S
  • Sayyid Afzal Haidar, (1996), Bhutto trial, National Commission on History & Culture, ASIN B0000CPBFX
  • Mumtaz Husain Bazmi, (1996), Zindanon se aivanon tak, al-Hamd Pablikeshanz, ASIN B0000CRPOT
  • Unknown author, (1996), Napak sazish: Tauhin-i risalat ki saza ko khatm karne ka benazir sarkari mansubah, Intarnaishnal Institiyut af Tahaffuz-i
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