Years have passed since the death of Benazir Bhutto, the stories are all but gone from the newspapers and articles written about her. However, she will always be remembered for her bravery and willingness to fight for what she believed in. Despite what some people may believe, Benazir Bhutto was born in a well to do family. She was born in Karachi, Dominion of Pakistan on June 21, 1953. She was born to parents, Begum Nusrat Ispahaniin and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto . Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was a widely know politician in their home country. He presided as the President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973 and as Prime Minister from 1973 to 1977. One of the most prominent and largest political parties was founded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) which Benazir Bhutto was a huge part of. Benazir Bhutto was very well educated. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree cum laude honors form Radcliffe College at Harvard University in 1973. She also attended Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and St Catherine’s College, Oxford shortly thereafter. She served briefly as Prime Minister in 1988-1990 when she was dismissed due to charges of corruption. She was also elected again in 1993 and again removed for similar charges. In spite of her somewhat privileged life, Benazir did not let that stop her from exposing the widely controversial political views and discrimination that existed in her country.
One of the most debatable forums that Benazir fought for was democracy. At the time when Benazir was campaigning, Pakistan’s government was in a state of confusion. Pakistan’s claim to be a democratic country is far from the truth. There was obvious rigging at the elections and corruption that lies deep within its government. Benazir was the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party which was a party formed that stood for democracy. The party creed is: “Islam is our faith; democracy is our politics; socialism is our economy; all power to the people.” (Zaman) Months before Bhutto’s death, the president of Pakistan consented to drop all charges against Bhutto in hopes of possibly retaining power himself by creating a power-sharing deal between the both of them. Bhutto’s was vocal in her concern that she would not agree to such a deal unless there was a return of democracy to her country and only if Musharraf abandoned his military post. Another great fear of Bhutto’s at the time was that the Pakistani president had agreed to allow terrorists to live in the western tribal regions. This clearly created great conflict between her and Musharraf. Bhutto’s one and only concern during her campaign was the welfare and equality of her people particularly the hard working middle class.
Another issue that has always plagued Pakistan is its treatment of women. Pakistan has had a long standing belief that a woman’s place is in the house and that it is shameful or dishonorable or socially unacceptable for a Muslim woman to work. Bhutto wanted to fight the notion that woman should be treated with second class status but rather as equal. Before her death, Bhutto declared her plans to establish women’s police stations, courts, and women’s development banks. Although none of these plans were established, Bhutto’s role as leader for the woman of Pakistan was widely recognized. Bhutto was also recognized for founding a group called the Council of Women World Leaders, a network of current and former prime ministers and presidents.
Regardless of Bhutto’s well educated and extensive political background, Bhutto did not sit back and let life pass her by. Instead, she fought for the people of her country. Despite being overthrown not once, but twice, placed on house arrest and several attempts made to assassinate her, Bhutto continued to stand up for what she believed in until her death. She and her family have endured a lifetime of heartache and turmoil. Democracy and Women’s rights were just a few of the issues that Bhutto believed needed to be reformed and although most of her plans were never established she will always be remembered for her courage and bravery.
CNN. “Bhutto Vows Return of Democracy.” World Wide Web 18 Oct. 2007.
Zaman, Fakhar. “Pakistan Peoples Party.” World Wide Web 2007.
Benazir Bhutto PPP History. World Wide Web 2007.
Wikipedia. “Benazir Bhutto” World Wide Web 2 June 2008.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benazir_Bhutto Mail Online. “Benazir Bhutto: The Opposition leader martyred fighting for democracy.” World Wide Web 27 December 2007. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-504738/Benazir-Bhutto-The-Opposition-leader-martyred-fighting-democracy.html