When it comes to Benazir Bhutto there is much more than the eye can see or what a person can learn. On 21 June 2020, her 67th birthday was celebrated, remembering for the person she was. Born to Begum Nusrat Ispahani; an Iranian public figure and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto; a wealthy political figure. She was part Kurdish and part Sindhi given the fact of her mother’s Iranian heritage. Growing up she found herself in the public spotlight and political environment; given her father’s position in the Pakistani government. Her emergence as an important political figure became evident when she was elected the first-ever female prime minister of a democratic system in a Muslim majority country in 1988.
Born to ‘waderas’ (meaning wealthy landowners in the local language), she had a chance to study at the best schools and colleges; being sent to Lady Jennings Nursery as a toddler and the convent of Jesus and Mary in Karachi after which she was enrolled into a boarding school in Murree under the same name. Her passion for learning was recognized when she graduated from her O-levels with high grades back in 1968.
Throughout her life her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto encouraged her development in studies which led her to idolized him from an early age After her education in Pakistan was complete she did her undergraduate degree from Radcliffe College, Harvard University and in 1973 got her second undergraduate degree from Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford and a one-year postgraduate degree on request of her father from St Catherine’s College, Oxford. She recalled her time there to be the happiest years of her life.
When Z.A Bhutto was arrested with several charges, He was sentenced to death by hanging in 1979, two years prior Benazir returned and along with her mother Nusrat took hold of the PPP and led the movement for restoration of democracy. She transformed the PPP into a liberal platform from the previous socialist. In 1998 she started her election campaign which proved to be successful, her first cabinet was the largest in the history of Pakistan at the time. When she came to office it was promised that education will be made free and health care would be improved and many housing schemes would be started each year, she pledged that the increasing narcotics trade will be dealt with. She also tried to improve the position of women during her time at the office, the First Women Bank was set during her time (1989) which remains to be a token of struggle she faced to improve women’s position in the Pakistani society. During her time she continued to put effort to improve the relation of Pakistan and India.
The demise of Benazir Bhutto remains to be unforgettable as assassination attempts were made on her, on 27 December 2007 when she was rallying in Liaquat National Bagh, her rally was ambushed by a group of assassins. Two bullets were fired at her followed by a suicide blast. Benazir was immediately rushed to Rawalpindi General Hospital. However, she could not sustain the injuries and passed away at 18:16. It was initially stated that she had died because of the skull fracture she sustained as a result of the suicide bombing. However, her supporters rejected the claim, stating that she passed away because of the bullet wounds. Whatever the case might be, her death was indeed a shock to the whole nation as she had survived an assassination attempt the same year, which had killed over 180 people. She was buried in the Bhutto family mausoleum alongside her father’s grave.
Benazir Bhutto remained to be a very important political figure of her time. She is the source of inspiration for many women in Pakistan today.