A look into Benazir’s political journey | Pakistan Today

A look into Benazir’s political journey

ISLAMABAD – Benazir Bhutto was martyred in Rawalpindi, the same garrison town where her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, another popular leader of Pakistan, was hanged well over three decades ago by military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq.
Her murder deprived Pakistan of a great and visionary leader, whose absence is felt intensely given the grave problems confronting Pakistan these days. Bhutto, the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, became the prime minister of Pakistan twice (1988-1990; 1993-1996).
She is also the country’s only female prime minister to date. She was the spouse of incumbent President Asif Ali Zardari, who became the head of state after 2008 elections that were held following his wife’s assassination on December 27, 2007. Bhutto was sworn in as prime minister for the first time in 1988 at the age of 35, but was removed twenty months later by the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on heavy corruption and misgovernance charges.
She was re-elected in 1993 but was again shown the door in 1996 on same charges of financial embezzlement and wrongdoings, this time, however, by Pakistan People’s Party loyalist and the then President Farooq Leghari. She went into self-imposed exile to Dubai in 1998.
Former prime minister Bhutto staged a come back to Pakistan on October 18, 2007 after she reached an understanding with President Pervez Musharraf leading to grant of amnesty and all corruption charges standing withdrawn against her. Those, who were bent upon taking her out, targeted her caravan on the date of arrival first in Karachi. Luckily, she remained unhurt at that time but only to be hit later on 27 December 2007.
At the time of her assasination, she was departing for Islamabad after addressing a huge public rally at Liaqat Bagh, Rawalpindi. This happened, only two weeks before the general elections of 2008 in which she was a leading opposition candidate. In 2009, she was named one of seven winners of the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights.
Leading political columnist, Robert Novak in his Op-Ed, “Who Wants to Kill Benazir Bhutto” (30 October 07), came up with laurels for her boldness. He said, “When I interviewed Bhutto in New York in Aug-07, I asked whether she thought she might be killed if she returned to Pakistan. She answered by saying she must return. She gives the impression that being in danger is her fate.”
Despite knowing well all the threats and hazards, she decided to return to her country and that established very well that like her father, Benazir was a brave and a bold person. She was a gifted lady and a brilliant soul. Even her staunch critics, both within and outside the country, admit the fact that she was indeed a bright leader with excellent ideas.
One good example of her brilliance was an idea that she proposed in her last book, “Reconciliation – Islam, Democracy and the West. The idea was to restore communication, trust and dialogue between the Muslim world and the West. It talks about the creation of Reconciliation Corps, modeled on the Peace Corp.
According to her it would be made up of Muslims from Western societies who have been economically, socially and politically integrated into the life of their host countries while maintaining their Islamic character, culture and religion. By coming up with this idea, she has envisaged that these Muslim youths could build bridges with their countries of origin.
Benazir is no more with us but the world admired her brilliance, beauty and boldness. This was the reason that she was conferred a posthumous award for her meritorious services in the field of democracy and humanity in Paris in June of 2009.
It was in January 2009 that portion of the famous Clark Street in Chicago was named after her. The honors that she achieved are rare with which very few world leaders are bestowed.

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