Benazir Bhutto

Biography of Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto (21 June 1953 – 27 December 2007) was a public left-wing 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 is 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an understanding with President Pervez Musharraf, by which she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn.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.

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