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Benazir Bhutto - History

Benazir Bhutto - History



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Benazir Bhutto

1953- 2007

Pakistani Politician

Benazir Bhutto, who received an A.B. from Radcliffe and an M.A. from Oxford, is the daughter of former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Her father was executed in 1979. Shortly thereafter, Benazir assumed the leadership of the Pakistani People's Party. Returning to Pakistan from exile in 1986, she became Prime Minister in 1988. In August of 1989, Pakistan's President Ghulam Ishag Khan dismissed Bhutto, claiming she was corrupt. In 1993 she was once again elected to the to be Prime Minister. She was ousted again in 1996 once again charged with corruption. She went into exhile in Dubai. In October 2007 General Musharraf granted her amnesty and she returned to Pakistan. Soon after her return an assasination attempt was made on her life, but that failed. On December 27th while enroute to a political rally she was assasinated.


Benazir Bhutto - History

Benazir Bhutto’s Second Regime (1993-96)

A hung parliament emerged after the elections of 1993 as no party had the mandate to form government independently. Attempts were made by both PPP and PML (N) to win over small parties and independent candidates to get the required numbers in their support. However, the majority of the independents, knowing that PPP had emerged as the largest party in the house and that PML (N) was not in the good books of the Establishment, decided to support the former. Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as the Prime Minister for the second time on October 19, 1993. Besides the elected minority and independent members, PML (J) also joined the coalition government. In Punjab, despite emerging as the single largest party in the house and getting 105 out of 240 seats, PML (N) was not allowed to form the government. PML (J), a party with just 18 seats, with the support of PPP and independent members, made their ministry. Nawaz Sharif’s group was thus ousted from the power corridors of Punjab for the first time since the electoral process restarted in the country in 1985.[1] Though PML (N) managed to form government in alliance with ANP in NWFP, in April 1994 PPP managed a vote of no confidence against Pir Sabir Shah, the PML (N) Chief Minister, and then established their government in the province with Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao as their leader in the house. Within a month of the establishment of the new Federal Government, Presidential elections were held in which, PPP’s candidate, Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari defeated PML (N)’s candidate, Wasim Sajjad by 274 to 168 electoral votes. [2]

With her confidant as President and the presence of a friendly government in Punjab, Benazir Bhutto was looking like a relaxed Prime Minister. In contrast with the 1988 situation, she was neither worried about the execution of Article 58-2 (B), nor was she afraid of the leg-pulling from the biggest and the most powerful province of the country. She was even more confident as the Establishment had developed differences with Nawaz Sharif and she was in their good books.[3] Benazir Bhutto focused on the introduction of liberal policies including empowerment of women, rights for labor class, family planning, etc. but she failed to satisfy the masses. She continued with the process of privatization and stopped most of the development projects started by Nawaz Sharif’s government. Yet, she could not prevent the economy of the country from a nosedive. The popular perception was that the economic decline was because corruption had reached its zenith during that era. Berlin-based Transparency International in its report ranked Pakistan as the second most corrupt country in the world. [4] Furthermore, the law and order situation in Karachi deteriorated rapidly. Para-military forces launched an operation in the city and MQM was badly targeted. [5] Nawaz Sharif was exploiting the weaknesses of Benazir Bhutto’s regime. Her brother, Mir Murtaza Bhutto, also turned against her and started openly challenging her administrative skills as well as political views. To add fuel to the fire, Murtaza Bhutto was killed in Karachi, and his family accused Benazir Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, of the murder. [6]

The worst thing, however, for Benazir Bhutto was that President Leghari also turned against her regime. He was not happy with the undue interference of Zardari in governmental affairs. Their gulf further enhanced on the issues of the appointment of Army Chief and Benazir Bhutto’s attempt to dismiss Chief Justice, Sajjad Ali Shah. [7] Benazir Bhutto was so much annoyed with the President that she even blamed him for the murder of Murtaza Bhutto. [8] Ultimately, due to his differences with the Prime Minister, ever-increasing demand of the opposition parties, and backing of the Establishment, [9] Leghari used Article 58-2 (B) and dissolved the assemblies on November 5, 1996. Charges like corruption, terrible law and orders situation especially in Karachi, extrajudicial killings, etc., which were given earlier by Ishaq Khan in 1990 and 1993, were once again presented as an excuse to justify the decision. Like always, political opponents of the ousted government were included in the caretaker set-up. Prime Minister, Malik Miraj Khalid, and Chief Ministers of all the four provinces Mian Afzal Hayat (Punjab), Mumtaz Bhutto (Sindh), Raja Siander Zaman (NWFP), and Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali (Baluchistan), had open differences with PPP. However, one good thing was that Miraj Khan and his caretaker team, instead of involving in political activities and bashing one political party or the other, restricted them to their main function of holding elections. While in office, Miraj Khalid spent a very simple life and his favorite activity was to address children by visiting schools.[10]

[1] Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s Encounter with Democracy (Lahore: Vanguard Books, 1994), 4.

[2] Subrata Kumar Mitra, and others ed., Political Parties in South Asia (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2004), 169.

[3] Mahmood Monshipouri and Amjad Samuel, “Development and Democracy in Pakistan: Tenuous or Plausible Nexus?” Asian Survey, Vol. 35, No. 11 (University of California Press, 1995), 973-989.

[4] Ian Talbot, Pakistan: A Modern History of Pakistan (Karachi: Vanguard Books, 1999), 346.

[5] Craig Baxter and Charles H. Kennedy ed. Pakistan: 1997 (New Delhi: Harper Collins, 1998), 6.

[6] Fatima Bhutto, Songs of Blood and Sword (London: Penguin, 2010), 18.

[7] Muhammad Ali.Shiekh, Benazir Bhutto: A Political Biography (Karachi: Orient Books Publishing House, 2000), 223.

[8] Christophe Jaffrelot, ed., A History of Pakistan and Its Origin, trans., Gillian Beaumont (London: Wimbledon Publishing Company, 2000), 87.

[9] Kausar Parveen, “Eight Amendment: Its Impact on the Political Development in Pakistan” M Phil Thesis (Quaid-i- Azam University, Islamabad, 1999), 90.


Remembering Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s Legacy

Fourteen years after the martyrdom of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, “Zinda hai BB, zinda hai” still echoes in political rallies and every day, in the hearts of her party-workers. I often think that indeed, Shaheed BB still lives in our thoughts and memories. Every year, June 21 is marked as her birthday and cakes are cut to pay tribute to this phenomenal woman, who was the pride of Pakistan nationally and internationally. Despite a known threat to her life, she chose to return to her people for the sake of democracy and rule of law. Her sacrifice will be remembered in the history of Pakistan forever as part of Bhutto family’s irrefutable contribution towards the restoration of democracy.

During her tenure as the Prime Minister, she created employment opportunities and helped numerous people who had nowhere else to turn to. She even financially supported needy people from personal charity, such as the caretaker of Pak Tea House, which was a space of freedom where political, intellectual and artistic culture flourished. Today, all those whose lives she touched remember her with deep respect. Shaheed BB is an example of a true leader who stays alive in the hearts of the people long after leaving this world. Her generosity is also evident in her ideology of reconciliation instead of revenge.

Today, this legacy of respect in politics should be a lesson for everyone about promoting a culture of tolerance in politics. There are countless instances from the life of Shaheed BB that are a testimony to her courage and struggles for democracy. She never gave in to the pressures of the military regime and firmly stood by her ideologies, almost as an article of faith— she protected her vision with her life.

On 14 January 1984, Shaheed BB reached Heathrow airport in London after five years of jail and house-arrest where she received a very warm welcome from her supporters. On this occasion, she spoke to the media and said, “Pakistan is my homeland. I will live and die there. I have come to Britain to seek medical treatment. In Zia’s martial law, I stayed in confinement for five years and now I am breathing freely in a free country. After consultation with party leaders here, I will decide on the future course of action. Pakistan People’s Party does not belong to any single individual but it belongs to the people of Pakistan. I will return to Pakistan as soon as my treatment ends.” After the surgery of her ear, she increased the intensity of her struggle against the Zia regime in London.

Shaheed BB had clearly decided that she would not resort to any vengeful acts against the widow of General Zia or his family. She instructed her party workers as well to maintain an attitude of respect towards their rivals. She set a unique example for the future political leaders of our country, staying true to her great political stature, by forgiving her rivals. Her legacy is a lesson that verbal or physical abuse, personally maligning opponents or other modes of vengeance should be discouraged by political leaders. They should remember the conduct of Shaheed BB and refrain from stooping low to the level of common ruffians.

Only a few days after arriving in London, I received a call from Sanam Bhutto that BB was looking for me. Shaheed BB asked me if I wanted to work with her as her spokesperson. I was humbled by this proposal and accepted. I responded that I would try my best to do justice to this position. It was her guidance that taught me a lot and gave me a fulfilling mission in life.

The international media gave a voice to her struggle for democracy on the world stage. A newspaper from Denmark introduced Shaheed BB in these words, “Who knew that a graduate of Harvard and Oxford, tall, slender and sophisticated ‘Princess of the East’, would become a symbol of unity for the people of Pakistan?”

Whenever she spoke about her struggles against the oppression of the military regime, there were never tears in her eyes and she never wallowed in self-pity. When she would talk about her time in jail, she always remembered her party workers awaiting punishment in the Pakistani jails. She never forgot the need to fight for her people, staying true to the legacy of her father, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. She said that we have to end this autocracy and if this can be achieved by her going to jail then she would do it again and again. She raised her voice for a democratic Pakistan on multiple forums internationally and helped to establish a strong base for the Pakistan People’s Party around the globe.

In 1986, she rendered everyone speechless when during a television interview she said that despite the oppressive tactics of General Zia, she would not resort to politics of revenge. The TV anchor repeated his question and asked that despite the fact that Zia hanged her father and kept her in jail, she will not take revenge? She replied she did not believe in revenge and this was the difference between Zia and her. This interview was seen by hundreds and thousands of people. When the next morning we went out for breakfast, she was received by a crowd of people who highly appreciated Shaheed BB’s response from the interview by applauding upon her arrival.

On 10 April 1986, when BB landed in Lahore, she asked me to exit first and see the situation regarding police behaviour. The area was surrounded by police and along with some other party leaders, I became a part of the historic welcome procession that reached Minar-e-Pakistan for a jalsa. In the general elections of 1988, the victory of the Pakistan People’s Party was a watershed moment when democracy won against terror and oppression. Shaheed BB became the first woman Prime Minister in the Muslim World, a proud moment for everyone who supported a progressive and democratic Pakistan.

Shaheed BB had clearly decided that she would not resort to any vengeful acts against the widow of General Zia or his family. She instructed her party workers as well to maintain an attitude of respect towards their rivals. She set a unique example for the future political leaders of our country, staying true to her great political stature, by forgiving her rivals. Her legacy is a lesson that verbal or physical abuse, personally maligning opponents or other modes of vengeance should be discouraged by political leaders. They should remember the conduct of Shaheed BB and refrain from stooping low to the level of common ruffians.

As I look back, I recall aspects of BB’s personality that I was fortunate to witness personally. Her generous and empathetic nature is evident from her behaviour with others. She regularly celebrated my birthday until December 2007, the year she passed away, and now only her memories are left behind. In an international conference in Portugal, she was paid tribute in these words, “Amongst all the stars in the sky, you alone are the shining star.” Only if Shaheed BB were alive today, the radiance of her generous personality and political brilliance would have lit our country on the world map many years ago.

On this occasion of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s birthday, let’s remember this great political leader and her legacy of selflessness, respect, and steadfastness on her ideology for her land where the tree of democracy is flourishing today, nourished with the blood of Bhuttos.


Contents

Bhutto had opted for self-exile while her court cases for corruption remained pending in foreign and Pakistani courts. [12] After eight years in exile in Dubai and London, Bhutto returned to Karachi on 18 October 2007 to prepare for the 2008 national elections, allowed by a possible power-sharing deal with President Pervez Musharraf. [5] [13]

Bhutto survived an assassination attempt in Karachi during this homecoming. [5] [14] [15] En route to a rally in Karachi on 18 October 2007, two explosions occurred shortly after she had landed and left Jinnah International Airport returning from her exile. [16] Bhutto was not injured, but the explosions, later found to be a suicide-bomb attack, killed 139 people and injured at least 450. [16] [17] The dead included at least 50 of the security guards from her Pakistan Peoples Party, who had formed a human chain around her truck to keep potential bombers away, as well as six police officers. [18] A number of senior officials were injured. Bhutto was escorted unharmed from the scene. [18]

After the bombing Bhutto and her husband asked Musharraf for greater security, including tinted windows, jammers for bombs, private guards, and four police vehicles. These calls were echoed by three U.S. Senators who wrote to Musharraf. Bhutto's supporters and the Pakistani government dispute whether or not she was provided adequate protection. [19] The Israeli newspaper Maariv reported that Bhutto further asked the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Britain's Scotland Yard, and Israel's Mossad several weeks before the assassination to help provide for her protection. Israel had not yet decided whether or not to provide aid because it did not want to upset relations with Pakistan and India. [20] Bhutto also tried to obtain private security personnel, approaching both the U.S.-based Blackwater and UK-based ArmorGroup. However, the Pakistani government refused to give visas to the foreign security contractors. Despite this, American diplomats provided Bhutto with confidential U.S. intelligence on threats against her. [21] After the assassination, President Musharraf denied that Bhutto should have received more security, saying that her death was primarily her own fault because she took "unnecessary risks" and should have exited the rally more quickly. [22]

Benazir Bhutto had just addressed a rally of Pakistan Peoples Party supporters in the city of Rawalpindi when the rally was rocked by an explosion. Initial police reports stated that one or more assassins fired at Bhutto's bulletproof white Toyota Land Cruiser just as she was about to drive off after the rally. [23] A suicide bomber detonating a bomb next to her vehicle followed. [24] According to Getty Images photographer John Moore, Bhutto was standing through her vehicle's sunroof to wave at supporters, and fell back inside after three gunshots. [7] [25] The Times of India aired an amateur clip showing the assassin firing three gun shots at Bhutto before the blast (video no longer available via India Times). [26] Various videos have surfaced on YouTube [27] [28] but sources are difficult to confirm.

Following the incident, an unconscious Bhutto was taken to the Rawalpindi General Hospital at 17:35 local time, [29] where doctors led by Rawalpindi Medical College Principal Mohammad Musaddiq Khan tried to resuscitate her, performing a "left anterolateral thoracotomy for open cardiac massage". [30] Sadiq Khan, Mohammad Khan's father, had tried to save Liaquat Ali Khan when he was assassinated in the same park and rushed to the same hospital in 1951. [31] Although Pakistan Peoples Party spokesman Farhatullah Babar initially said that Bhutto was safe, she was declared dead at 18:16 local time (13:16 UTC). [5] [32] [33]

Cause of death Edit

Bhutto's cause of death has been much discussed and debated. Some commentators suggested that this debate was motivated by attempts to define Bhutto's legacy: perhaps Bhutto would be considered a martyr if she died by gunshot, but not if she died by hitting her head following a bomb blast. [34] [35] Others asserted that the arguments against a death by gunshot were intended to blunt criticism that she was not adequately protected. [35]

Initial reports based on Pakistani Interior Ministry information reported that Bhutto was killed by a gunshot wound to the neck. Rehman Malik, a security adviser for Pakistan Peoples Party, suggested that the killer opened fire as Bhutto left the rally and that he hit her in the neck and chest before he detonated the explosives he was wearing. Javed Cheema, an interior ministry spokesman, stated that her injuries were caused either by her having been shot or from pellets packed into the detonated bomb that acted as shrapnel. [36]

On 28 December, however, the cause of Bhutto's death became less clear. Pakistan's Interior Ministry announced that they now felt Bhutto's death was as a result of a neck fracture sustained when she ducked or fell into her vehicle and hit the sunroof catch immediately after the gunshots but later reported her cause of death as a skull fracture. [37] [38] [39] According to an Associated Press report, the Ministry stated "Bhutto was killed when she tried to duck back into the vehicle, and the shock waves from the blast knocked her head into a lever attached to the sunroof, fracturing her skull." The Ministry further added, in contradiction of the official hospital account, that Bhutto suffered no gunshot or shrapnel injuries and that all gunshots missed her. [39]

Pakistan Peoples Party spokesman Farhatullah Babar rejected claims that Bhutto's death was caused by an accident. Bhutto's lawyer and a senior official in the Pakistan Peoples Party, Farooq Naik, said that the report was "baseless" and "a pack of lies". [40] He went on to support the view that the cause of death was two bullets hitting Bhutto in the abdomen and the head. [40] An anonymous Toyota official also rejected the notion that she could have even hit the lever based on its location in the car (a Toyota Land Cruiser). [41]

In statements made to Pakistan's The News, Mohammad Mussadiq Khan, one of the doctors who treated Bhutto at Rawalpindi General Hospital, described severe and depressed skull fractures, oval in overall shape, on the right side of Bhutto's head. [42] He apparently saw no other injuries and downplayed the possibility of bullet wounds, [43] although he had previously spoken of them. [44] One anonymous doctor said that Pakistani authorities took Bhutto's medical records immediately after her death, and that they told doctors to stop talking. [44]

On 31 December, Athar Minallah of the Rawalpindi General Hospital released a statement (described as "clinical notes") signed by seven persons involved in Bhutto's treatment at the hospital. [45] [46] [47] These persons were not pathologists and did not conduct a formal autopsy. The statement first narrates the course of treatment, from Bhutto's arrival at the hospital until she was declared dead. The second part of the statement details the head wound and notes that "Detailed external examination of the body did not reveal any other external injury". X-rays had been taken of the head wound and were interpreted in the statement. The cause of death was declared to be "Open head injury with depressed skull fracture, leading to cardiopulmonary arrest".

According to The Washington Post, the crime scene was cleared before any forensic examination could be completed and no formal autopsy was performed before burial. [48] Despite the ambiguity surrounding her death, Bhutto's husband Asif Zardari did not allow a formal autopsy to be conducted citing his fears regarding the procedure being carried out in Pakistan. [49]

On 1 January 2008, Pakistan's Interior Ministry backtracked on its statement that Benazir Bhutto had died from hitting her head on the sunroof latch. Ministry spokesman, Javed Iqbal Cheema said that the ministry would wait for forensic investigations before making a conclusion on Bhutto's cause of death. [50]

On 8 February 2008, investigators from Scotland Yard concluded that Benazir Bhutto died after hitting her head as she was tossed by the force of a suicide blast, not from an assassin's bullet. However, as quoted in an article in The New York Times: "It is unclear how the Scotland Yard investigators reached such conclusive findings absent autopsy results or other potentially important evidence that was washed away by cleanup crews in the immediate aftermath of the blast." [51] In the report, UK Home Office pathologist Nathaniel Cary said that while a gunshot wound to her head or trunk could not be entirely excluded as a possibility, "the only tenable cause for the rapidly fatal head injury in this case is that it occurred as the result of impact due to the effects of the bomb-blast." [52] The findings were consistent with the Pakistani government's explanation of Bhutto's assassination, an account that had been greeted with disbelief by Bhutto's supporters.

Funeral Edit

Bhutto's funeral occurred on the afternoon of 28 December 2007. Her body was moved from Chaklala Airbase in Rawalpindi to Sukkur Airport on 28 December at 01:20. Both her children and her husband travelled with her body. Earlier they reached Chaklala Air Base by a special flight to get her body. [5] Mourners from all over Pakistan made their way to Larkana to take part in the funeral ceremony for the former Prime Minister. The family delivered the body to its site of burial via helicopter. Bhutto was laid to rest beside her father in the family tomb. [53]

Riots Edit

After Bhutto's death, supporters wept and broke the hospital's glass doors, threw stones at cars, and reportedly chanted "Dog, Musharraf, dog" outside the hospital, referring to President Musharraf. [5] [24] [54] Others attacked police and burned election campaign posters and tyres. [55] Some opposition groups said that the assassination could lead to civil war, and other commentators said that the upcoming elections would likely be postponed. [56]

Demonstrations were widespread in Pakistan with police using tear gas and batons to break up angry demonstrations in Peshawar. [5] Some protesters torched the billboards of Musharraf, firing in the air and screaming. Protests in Multan also had protesters burning tires and blocking traffic. Similar scenes were witnessed in Karachi, Bhutto's home city. [57] Police in Sindh were put on red alert. [58] Two police officers were shot in Karachi during the riots following the assassination. [59]

Musharraf ordered a crackdown on rioters and looters to "ensure safety and security." [60] The Pakistan Rangers announced shoot-on-sight orders against anyone inciting violence or arson, although attempts to avoid direct confrontation were maintained. On 28 December the riots deteriorated, especially in the Sindh Province, the homeground of Bhutto. Foreign outlets, trains, banks and vehicles were destroyed or burned and protesters took over the streets, chanting slogans and setting tires on fire in several cities. At least 47 people died in the riots. [61] Rioters destroyed 176 banks, 34 gasoline stations and hundreds of cars and shops. [61] 28 December was the first day of a general strike called by many groups, ranging from political parties to various professional groups.

Then it was the banks mainly in Sind. They were attacked and the buildings were burned in many cities of Sind. Most of the automated teller machines were destroyed. In some places, people were lucky to bring some money home.

Hundreds of private buses were burned in all parts of the country. There were also incidents of burning of trains in Sind. According to the Daily Jang:

Twenty-eight railway stations, 13 railway engines and seven trains were burned resulting over three billion rupees' loss. The whole rail system had collapsed since the night of December 27. Thousands of passengers were on the railway stations waiting for restoration. There were no sign of restoration for some days. Thousands of private cars were also damaged all over Pakistan by the angry mobs, mainly youth. The houses and offices of politicians, local government mayors and administration were the other victims of the mass reaction. They were either burned or damaged.

Over 100 people died in the incidents related to mass protest, either by police or in the crossfire of different groups.

Pakistan Peoples Party Edit

Bhutto's son, Bilawal Zardari, read her instructions on the future of the Pakistan Peoples Party on 30 December. [62] In that will, she had designated her husband Asif Ali Zardari as her political successor but Zardari made their then nineteen-year-old son, Bilawal, the Chairman of the PPP as Zardari favoured their son to represent Bhutto's legacy, in part to avoid division within the party due to his own unpopularity and he serve as Co-Chairman of the PPP. [63] [64] [65]

Elections and electoral fraud report Edit

Pakistan's election commission met on 31 December to decide whether or not to delay the January elections two days before they hinted that they would need to because pre-election preparation had been "adversely affected". [66] A senior election commission official subsequently announced that the election would be delayed until "the later part of February". [67]

Senator Latif Khosa, one of Bhutto's top aides, reported that she was planning to divulge evidence of fraud in the upcoming election following the event where the assassination took place. The pair co-wrote a 160-page dossier on the subject, with Bhutto outlining tactics she alleged would be put into play, including intimidation, excluding voters and fake ballots being planted in boxes. The report was titled Yet another stain on the face of democracy. In a statement he made on 1 January 2008, Khosa said:

The state agencies are manipulating the whole process, there is rigging by the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), the Election Commission and the previous government, which is still continuing to hold influence. They were on the rampage. [68]

Khosa said that they had planned to give the dossier to two American lawmakers on the evening of her assassination and release it publicly soon after that. One of the claims in the dossier was that US financial aid had been secretly misappropriated for electoral fraud and another was that the ISI has a 'mega-computer' which could hack into any other computer and was connected to the Election Commission's system. A spokesman for President Musharraf called the claims "ridiculous". [68]

In the run up to the election, the 'sympathy vote' was considered crucial for the Pakistan Peoples Party, which was expected to win the National Assembly. [69] [70] The election results yielded a majority for the Pakistan Peoples Party in the National Assembly, and in the Provincial Assembly of Sindh. [71]

Economy Edit

Following a three-day shut-down, the benchmark index, the KSE100 index, of the Karachi Stock Exchange fell 4.7%. The Pakistani rupee fell to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar since October 2001. [72] The stock exchange has a history of recovering after political unrest. [73] The Pakistan Railways suffered losses of PKR 12.3 billion as a direct result of riots following the assassination. [74] Sixty-three railway stations, 149 bogies, and 29 locomotives were damaged within two days of Bhutto's death. [75] In the first four days after the assassination, Karachi suffered losses of US$1 billion. [74] By the fifth day, the cost of country-wide violence amounted to 8% of the GDP. [76]

Adnkronos claimed that al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri ordered the killing in October 2007. [77] [78] U.S. intelligence officials have said that they cannot confirm this claim of responsibility. [79] Nonetheless, U.S. analysts have said that al-Qaeda was a likely, or even prime suspect. [79] [80] For its part, the Pakistani Interior Ministry (of the previous Musharraf administration) stated that it had proof that al-Qaeda was behind the assassination, stating "that the suicide bomber belonged to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi—an al Qaeda-linked Sunni Muslim militant group that the government has blamed for hundreds of killings". [39] [81] The Interior Ministry also claimed to have intercepted a statement by militant leader Baitullah Mehsud, said to be linked to al-Qaeda, in which he congratulated his followers for carrying out the assassination. [82] [83] On 29 December a Mehsud spokesman told the Associated Press that Mehsud was not involved in the assassination: [84] "I strongly deny it. Tribal people have their own customs. We don't strike women. It is a conspiracy by government, military and intelligence agencies." [85] The Pakistan Peoples Party also called the government's blame of Mehsud a diversion: "The story that al-Qaida or Baitullah Mehsud did it appears to us to be a planted story, an incorrect story, because they want to divert the attention," said Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for Bhutto's party. [84] [86] On 18 January 2008, CIA Director Michael Hayden claimed that Mehsud and his network was responsible. [87]

Bhutto, in a letter to Musharraf written on 16 October 2007, named four persons involved in an alleged plot to kill her: current Intelligence Bureau (IB) Chief Ijaz Shah, former chief minister of Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, former chief minister of Sindh Arbab Ghulam Rahim, and the former ISI chief, Hamid Gul, as those who posed a threat to her life. [88] British newspaper The Times suggested that elements within the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence with close ties to Islamists might have been behind the killing, though it asserts that Musharraf would have been unlikely to have ordered the assassination. [89] October 2007 emails from Bhutto saying she would blame Musharraf for her death if she were killed, because the Musharraf government was not providing adequate security, were also published after Bhutto's death. [19] [90] [91] Soon after the killing, many of Bhutto's supporters believed that the Musharraf government was involved in the assassination. [92] On 30 December Scotland on Sunday quoted MI5 sources saying that factions of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence may be responsible for the assassination. [93]

United Nations inquiry Edit

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced on 5 February 2009 to send a commission to investigate Benazir Bhutto's assassination on Government of Pakistan's request. Armed with a modest mandate and a limited timeframe, a three-member team arrived at Islamabad on 16 July 2009. The unit, headed by the Chilean diplomat Heraldo Muñoz, found themselves plunged into a murky world of conspiracy theories, power politics and conflicting agendas. Muñoz was supported by the Indonesian official Marzuki Darusman and Peter Fitzgerald, a retired Irish police officer who headed the initial inquiry into the assassination of Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri in 2005.

The UN was asked to send a team to dispel away a conspiracy theory claiming that Zardari himself orchestrated his wife's death a notion most analysts dismissed because of absence of any concrete evidence. Basically the UN team's mandate was to "establish the facts and circumstances of the assassination" and not to undertake a criminal investigation, which remained responsibility of the Pakistani authorities. [94]

A formal investigation by the United Nations commenced. [95] The report concluded that the security measures provided to Bhutto by the government were "fatally insufficient and ineffective". [96] Furthermore, the report states that the treatment of the crime scene after her death "goes beyond mere incompetence". [96] The report states that "police actions and omissions, including the hosing down of the crime scene and failure to collect and preserve evidence, inflicted irreparable damage to the investigation." [96]

The UN Commission in its report mentioned that: A range of government officials failed profoundly in their efforts first to protect Ms Bhutto and second to investigate with vigour all those responsible for her murder, not only in the execution of the attack, but also in its conception, planning and financing.

Responsibility for Ms Bhutto's security on the day of her assassination rested with the Federal Government, the government of Punjab and the Rawalpindi District Police. None of these entities took necessary measures to respond to the extraordinary and urgent security risks that they knew she faced.

In short among other failings: the police co-ordinated poorly with the PPP's own security police escort units did not protect Ms Bhutto's vehicle as tasked parked police vehicles blocked the emergency route and, the police took grossly inadequate steps to clear the crowd so that Ms Bhutto's vehicle would have safe passage on leaving Liaquat Bagh. The performance of individual police officers and police leadership was poor in areas of forward planning, accountability and command and control.

The heroism of individual PPP supporters, many of whom sacrificed themselves to protect Ms Bhutto should have been properly canalised by the Chief of PPP's security [Mr Rehman Malik]. More serious, Ms Bhutto was left vulnerable in a severely damaged vehicle by the irresponsible and hasty departure of the bullet-proof Mercedes-Benz which, as the back-up vehicle, was an essential part of her convoy [perhaps purposefully taken away by Rehman Malik, Babar Awan & Farhatullah Babar].

. The collection of 23 pieces of evidence was manifestly inadequate in a case that should have resulted in thousands. Hosing down the crime scene so soon after the blast goes beyond mere incompetence and needed fixing criminal responsibility on many.

The deliberate prevention by CPO Saud Aziz of a post mortem examination of Ms Bhutto hindered a definitive determination of the cause of her death. It was patently unrealistic for the CPO to expect that Mr Zardari would allow an autopsy on his arrival in Pakistan while in the meantime her remains had been placed in a coffin and brought to the airport. The autopsy should have been carried out at RGH long before Mr Zardari arrived. The Commission was persuaded that the Rawalpindi police chief, CPO Saud Aziz, did not act independently of higher authorities, either in the decision to hose down the crime scene or to impede the post-mortem examination. [97]

Official indictment Edit

On 5 November 2011, a Pakistani court indicted two police officers in connection with Bhutto's 2007 assassination in Rawalpindi, among them the former police chief of the city. The two men were in charge of the former prime minister's security and have been previously arrested charged with "conspiracy as well as abetment in the murder" and "changing the security plan". A further 5 men have also been indicted all of whom are believed to have been affiliated with Beitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban leader blamed by the government for the attack. On 20 August 2013 ex-President Pervez Musharraf, was indicted on three chargers for murder, conspiracy to murder, and facilitation of murder in connection with his alleged failure to provide adequate security for Bhutto—charges for which he is reportedly denying responsibility. [98] [99] [100]

On 31 August 2017, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court declared Musharraf as a fugitive in Bhutto's murder and acquitted five suspected Pakistani Taliban of conspiracy to murder due to lack of evidence, and two high-ranking police officers have been sentenced to 17 years in prison, one for mishandling security at the Bhutto rally and the another for mishandling the crime scene. [101] [102] [103] On 16 December 2019, Musharraf, in exile for hospitalization in Dubai, was sentenced to death in Pakistan in absentia for high treason, for suspending the constitution and imposing a state of emergency a decade early, with right of appeal. [104] The United Arab Emirates has no current extradition with Pakistan, though Sharaf's poor health prevents him from being moved even if there was.

Pakistani government Edit

According to state television, Musharraf held an emergency cabinet meeting after he received word of the blast. He then addressed the nation, saying that "We shall not rest till we tackle this problem and eliminate all the terrorists. This is the only way the nation will be able to move forward, otherwise this will be the biggest obstacle to our advancement." [105] In a televised address, President Musharraf publicly condemned the killing of Bhutto, proclaiming a three-day mourning period with all national flags at half-mast. [106] Mahmud Ali Durrani, the Pakistani ambassador to the United States, called Bhutto's death "a national tragedy" and stated that ". we have lost one of our important, very important and, I would stress, liberal leaders." [33]

Opposition Edit

Nawaz Sharif was the first mainstream political leader to reach the hospital and express his solidarity with Bhutto's family and political workers. [107] He vowed to "fight your [Bhutto's] war from now on" and calling the day of her assassination the "darkest, gloomiest day in the history of this country". [105] [108] Despite extreme political enmity between the two leaders during the 1990s, both vowed to introduce politics of tolerance before returning from exile and had earlier signed the Charter of Democracy. After signing the charter, they said that they would work for an end to the rule of President Musharraf. [109] Earlier in the day, Nawaz Sharif's political meeting had also been shot at, resulting in the death of four people. [110]

Chairman Imran Khan of the Tehreek-e-Insaf party strongly condemned the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. "It is a dastardly act designed to destabilise Pakistan with the government responsible for not providing her security though she was demanding it. We must fight this menace of terrorism. It is a black day in the history of Pakistan and an irreparable loss to this country," Khan said. [111]

Pakistan Peoples Party Washington, D.C. chapter president Javaid Manzoor said, "We [Bhutto's supporters] are shocked. We are stunned. Every single one of us is mourning the loss of our leader," also stating that he believed that the next election, scheduled for 8 January would be cancelled. [24] Pakistan Peoples Party senior vice chairman Ameen Faheem later called for a 40-day period of mourning across Pakistan. [112] Pakistan Peoples Party spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the Pakistan Peoples Party was unhappy with the government's declaration of the death coming as a result of an accident and said that the Pakistan Peoples Party wanted to see a change in the direction of the investigation. He called for an independent inquiry into the assassination by international experts. He also said that "had the government accepted our demand of conducting an inquiry into Karachi's 18 October blast by international experts, this incident would not have happened." [113]

International reaction Edit

Bhutto's assassination was met with widespread condemnation by members of the international community, [105] including Pakistan's regional neighbours Afghanistan, [105] China, [114] India, [105] [115] Bangladesh and Iran. [33] [105] Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh praised Bhutto's efforts for the improvement of Indo-Pakistani relations. [105] [115] The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting and unanimously condemned the assassination, [116] a call echoed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. [117]


Benazir Bhutto was the first lady to rule any muslim country in this world. She was also one of the most influential leaders of south asia.

Benazir Bhutto was born in Karachi, Pakistan to a prominent political family. At age 16 she left her homeland to study at Harvard’s Radcliffe College. After completing her undergraduate degree at Radcliffe she studied at England’s Oxford University, where she was awarded a second degree in 1977.

Later that year she returned to Pakistan where her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had been elected prime minister, but days after her arrival, the military seized power and her father was imprisoned. In 1979 he was hanged by the military government of General Zia Ul Haq.

Bhutto herself was also arrested many times over the following years, and was detained for three years before being permitted to leave the country in 1984. She settled in London, but along with her two brothers, she founded an underground organization to resist the military dictatorship. When her brother died in 1985, she returned to Pakistan for his burial, and was again arrested for participating in anti-government rallies. She returned to London after her release, and martial law was lifted in Pakistan at the end of the year. Anti-Zia demonstrations resumed and Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan in April 1986. The public response to her return was tumultuous, and she publicly called for the resignation of Zia Ul Haq, whose government had executed her father.

She was elected co-chairwoman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) along with her mother, and when free elections were finally held in 1988, she herself became Prime Minister. At 35, she was one of the youngest chief executives in the world, and the first woman to serve as prime minister in an Islamic country. Only two years into her first term, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed Bhutto from office. She initiated an anti-corruption campaign, and in 1993 was re-elected as Prime Minister. While in office, she brought electricity to the countryside and built schools all over the country. She made hunger, housing and health care her top priorities, and looked forward to continuing to modernize Pakistan. At the same time, Bhutto faced constant opposition from the Islamic fundamentalist movement. Her brother Mir Murtaza, who had been estranged from Benazir since their father’s death, returned from abroad and leveled charges of corruption at Benazir’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari. Mir Murtaza died when his bodyguard became involved in a gunfight with police in Karachi. The Pakistani public was shocked by this turn of events and PPP supporters were divided over the charges against Zardari.

In 1996 President Leghari of Pakistan dismissed Benazir Bhutto from office, alleging mismanagement, and dissolved the National Assembly. A Bhutto re-election bid failed in 1997, and the next elected government, headed by the more conservative Nawaz Sharif, was overthrown by the military. Bhutto’s husband was imprisoned, and once again, she was forced to leave her homeland. For nine years, she and her children lived in exile in London, where she continued to advocate the restoration of democracy in Pakistan. In the autumn of 2007, in the face of death threats from radical Islamists, and the hostility of the government, she returned to her native country.

Although she was greeted by enthusiastic crowds, within hours of her arrival, her motorcade was attacked by a suicide bomber. She survived this first assassination attempt, although more than 100 bystanders died in the attack. With national elections scheduled for January 2008, her Pakistan People’s Party was poised for a victory that would make Bhutto prime minister once again. Only a few weeks before the election, the extremists struck again. After a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, a gunman fired at her car before detonating a bomb, killing himself and more than 20 bystanders. Bhutto was rushed to the hospital, but soon succumbed to injuries suffered in the attack. In the wake of her death, rioting erupted throughout the country. The loss of the country’s most popular democratic leader has plunged Pakistan into turmoil, intensifying the dangerous instability of a nuclear-armed nation in a highly volatile region.


Traveling Destinations

A number of airlines provide traveling facilities to destinations all over the globe, among which some of the international destinations are as follow.

  • Dubai
  • Jedda
  • Riyadh
  • Beijing
  • London
  • Abu Dhabi
  • As Al Khaima
  • Wuhan
  • Kunming
  • Bahrain
  • Guangzhou
  • Kabul
  • Birmingham
  • Manchester
  • Istanbul
  • Beijing
  • Dammam
  • Doha
  • Kaula Lumpur
  • Medina
  • Tokyo
  • Toronto
  • Bangkok

National Destinations

Airlines, including PIA, provide traveling services to many local destinations, which include the following.

  • Bahawalpur
  • Chitral
  • Gilgit
  • Lahore
  • Skardu
  • Rahim Yar Khan
  • Saidu Sharif
  • Sujjur
  • Sialkot
  • Quetta
  • Karachi

The fun never really ends

By Owen Bennett-Jones

FOREIGN correspondents reporting on Pakistan fall into two categories. Some are infuriated by the doublespeak that so often emanates from Pakistan officialdom. “How dare you,” the Foreign Office used to ask in outraged tones, “even suggest we are building a nuclear bomb?” And there were those vehement denials of involvement in Kargil. “We are not there!” the Army insisted, even when the world knew they were. And today? “The Haqqani Network? Nothing to do with us.”

While that sort of thing drives some correspondents to the airport, others at least appreciate the charm with which these diplomatic untruths are delivered. And from a journalistic point of view, there are mitigating circumstances. Pakistan produces so much news. With violent jihadis, nuclear bombs, the drugs trade, insurgencies and endless amounts of vivid colour stories, it is impossible to be short of things to write about. And there’s something else. Put a microphone in front of a Pakistani and the mildest mannered individual will, at a moment’s notice, turn into an impassioned political activist proclaiming the virtues of his or her political hero whilst despairing about the venal corruption of everyone else’s. It’s all great copy. Cynics might say that the politics of Pakistan have the quality of a soap opera in which the lead characters – and their offspring – vie for power in a largely pointless competition between self interested, grossly wealthy, elitist egos. Maybe. But it’s fun to watch.

And the press itself has had a tumultuous history filled with large characters, great courage, high principles and low venality. In the early days it was all about Ayub Khan’s battles with the Pakistan Times. It was also an era when people all over the country turned to BBC Urdu as a source of impartial news. As for television, PTV, for its first quarter of a century, enjoyed a monopoly that remained intact until two international channels, the BBC and the CNN, came onto the scene offering an alternative to the official view.

As the BBC Pakistan correspondent on the night of October 12, 1999, I experienced the somewhat terrifying responsibility that came with working for what, at the time, was probably the most trusted news source in the country. PTV, always weakened by the need to reflect the views of the government, was further disabled by being caught between two authorities – the government and the Army. CNN did not have anyone one on the ground. That left the BBC.

It began with a call from a contact in PTV saying that something was going on. The BBC cameraman and I rushed down to the station’s headquarters just in time to film soldiers climbing over the gates. In the old days feeding such pictures to London would have been impossible without the cooperation of PTV which, in the circumstances, would not have been forthcoming. But using a primitive form of internet transfer software we managed to get the pictures sent. However, that was just the start of my problems. Within a few minutes I was live on the BBC being asked: “Is it a coup?”

Rumours of an Army takeover were spreading all over the country. People were tuning to the BBC to get an authoritative version of what was happening. If I called it wrong, the BBC would never live it down. When I arrived in 1998 people were still complaining about what they believed was a false BBC report about the Indian advance on Lahore in 1965. Could it, I wondered, be something less than a coup? An action to arrest the head of PTV perhaps or seize some film? A holding operation of some kind? How to be sure?

“Soldiers have climbed into PTV,” I hedged. “I can’t say it is a coup but it certainly looks like one.” And then some anxious minutes to see if even that rather mealy-mouthed version of events stood the test of time. That was only 20 years ago but already those days seem like ancient history. General Pervez Musharraf’s decision to enable the establishment of private channels transformed Pakistan’s media scene. It is often said that the military only agreed to the reform because India outdid them when it came to whipping up a war fever during the Kargil conflict. India’s private-sector channels had a clear, melodramatic edge over the rather stolid efforts of PTV. Whatever the Army’s true motives, the outcome has been remarkable, with a babble of news channels both radio and TV now churning out news in many languages 24/7.

The impression of media diversity, however, is illusory. The channels may compete for viewers but they air strikingly similar opinions. It’s free speech of a kind – but everyone knows the limits.

It was ever thus. Many of Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders have bribed friendly journalists and imprisoned hostile ones. Some have even, to put it generously, failed to stop journalists being murdered. For the politicians it’s normally a case of trying to prevent negative coverage. The soldiers see it slightly differently. The press, they believe, is a weapon to be deployed on the information frontline, serving the Army’s version of the national interest. But both the politicians and the military top brass do agree about one thing: journalists are, by and large, upstarts who should know their station and do as they are told.

The journalists – or at least an impressive proportion of them – have had different ideas. Even when General Ziaul Haq was describing the Karachi Press Club as “enemy territory”, many journalists responded by resisting authority. It was a difficult time. But the contest isn’t over yet. Whether its Geo’s 2015 allegations about the ISI or this year’s [Dawn story by Cyril Almeida], the state continues to draw red lines and the press continues to bump up against them.

So where does Dawn sit in this new media age? The last decade has seen a number of Masters and PhD students conduct content analysis of Pakistan’s newspapers. Having read half-a-dozen of these rather heavy going theses, I can summarise their conclusions: ‘The English language press is less sensational than the Urdu language press’. It may sound like a recipe for low circulation but dawn.com’s growing international readership suggests otherwise. Some Pakistanis may find Dawn a shade liberal but many readers abroad looking for an independent, reliable voice, see it rather differently.

The writer is a British journalist and author of ‘Pakistan: Eye of the Storm’.

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Benazir Bhutto Aur “Meesaq-e- Jamhurait”

Nawaz sharif jab Pervez Musharraf ki “karwai” kay shikar hokar jila watan honay per majbor huye to iss tajurbay nay unhain aur Benazir bhutto ko bhi bahot kuch sochnay par majbur kar deya. Mulk mein ayenda jamhuriyat ko farog daynay kay leye unhon nay apas mein mulaqaton ka aik silsila shuru keya jo ARD kay qayam par muntahij huwa. ARD nay General Pervez Musharraf ki hukumat kay khelaf bhar pur mazahmat ka alan keya. Iss daur ki sab say aham paish raft iss waqt hui. Jab 14 May 2006 mein London mein Nawaz sharif aur Benazir kay darmayan “meesaq-e- jamhurait” par dastakhat huya Jis kay tayhat donon nay jamhuryat ko bahal karnay aur aik dosray kay khaylaf istaymal na honay ka faisla keya.

Dosri pesh qadmi iss waqt huie jab 28 July 2007 ko Abu Dhabi mein General Pervez Musharaf aur Benazir Bhutto kay darmeyan aik aham mulaqat huie jis kay baad people’s party ki chairperson taqriban sarah 8 saal ki jila watni khatam kar kay 18 October 2007 ko watan wapis ayein to unka Karachi Airport par faqedul misal istaqbal keya gaya. Benazir Bhutto ka karwan Shara-e-faisal par Mazar Quaid ki janib barh raha tha kay achanak zordar dhamakay huye. Inn dhamakon mein paunay do sau kay lag bhag afrad jan bahaq huye aur sankron zakhmi hoye. Qiamat e sughra kay iss manzar kay dauran Benazir Bhutto ko bahefazat Bilawal house paucha deya gaya people’s party ki chairperson jab apnay bachchon (Bilawal, Bakhtawar aur Asifa ) say milnay.

Dobarah.Dubai gayein to mulk kay andar General Parvez Musharraf nay 3 November ko emergency nafiz kar di. Yeh khabar suntay hi Benazir Dubai say wapis watan lout ayein. Emergency kay khatmay,TV channels say pabandi hatanay aur Supreme Court kay jujus ki bahali ka motalba kartay huye hukumat kay khaylaf tahrek chalanay ka alan keya. Us waqt tak mulk mein nigran hukumat ban chki thie aur mukhtalif parteyan intakhabat mein hissah lanay kay mamlay mein bati huye nazar arahi thein. Iss surat hal mein people’s party nay maidan khali na chornay ki hikmat amli kay tayhat tamam halqon mein umedwar kharay keye aur kaghzat-e-namzadgi jama karay. Agar chay ARD kay faislay kay tahat Nawaz Sharif nay bhi intekhabat mein hissah na lanay ka faisla keya tha lakin Benazir Bhutto nay unhain qayel keya kay herkaron ko khuli chott na de jaye aur halat khwa kaisay bhi hon, intekhabat mein hissah zarur leya jaye.


History of Indian Subcontinent

Benazir Bhutto was a Pakistani politician who served as Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996.

She was the first woman to head a democratic government in a Muslim majority nation.

Benazir Bhutto Young

Bhutto was born on 21 June 1953 in the Pakistani city of Karachi.

Of mixed Sindhi and Kurdish parentage, Bhutto was born in Karachi to a politically important, wealthy aristocratic family.

Benazir’s first language was English as a child she spoke Urdu less frequently, and barely spoke the local Sindhi language.

Benazir Bhutto education

Benazir initially attended the Lady Jennings Nursery School in Karachi. From 1969 to 1973, Bhutto studied for an undergraduate degree at Radcliffe College, Harvard University.

In December 1976, student elected Benazir the president of the Oxford Union. She become the first Asian woman to head the prestigious debating society. After completing university, she returned to Pakistan.

Benazir Bhutto With her children

Benazir wanted to join the Foreign Service but her father wanted her to contest the Assembly election. However, because of her age, she was not allowed to do so, and hence Bhutto assisted her father as an advisor.

Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had been elected Prime Minister.

In July 1977, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq led a military coup to overthrown Zulfikar Bhutto. Zulfikar urged his wife and daughter to leave Pakistan, but they refused.

Army executed him on April 1979. Bhutto was repeatedly imprisoned by Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq’s military government and then exiled to Britain in 1984. She returned in 1986.

Benazir Bhutto Husband

On returning to Pakistan in the 1987, Bhutto’s mother arranged for her marriage to the businessman Asif Ali Zardari.

She consistently presented an image of loyalty to her husband, throughout the many accusations and periods of imprisonment he faced.

The couple had three children: a son, Bilawal, was born in September 1988, while she was campaigning for that year’s election.

She also had two daughters, Bakhtawar and Aseefa. When she gave birth to Bakhtawar in 1990, she became the first elected head of government to give birth while in office.

Benazir Bhutto Biography

She transformed the PPP’s platform from a socialist to a liberal one, before leading it to victory in the 1988 election.

As Prime Minister, conservative and Islamist forces stifled her attempts at reform, including President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and the powerful military.

Later President Ghulam Ishaq Khan accused her administration of corruption and nepotism, and dismissed her in 1990.

Intelligence services rigged that year’s election to ensure a victory for the conservative Islamic Democratic Alliance (IJI). Later Bhutto served as the Leader of the Opposition.

After president dismissed the IJI government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on corruption charges, Bhutto led the PPP to victory in the 1993 elections.

Later her second term oversaw economic privatisation and attempts to advance women’s rights.

Several controversies damaged image of her government, including the assassination of her brother Murtaza, a failed 1995 coup d’état, and a further bribery scandal involving her and her husband Asif Ali Zardari.

In response to the latter, the President again dismissed her government. The PPP lost the 1997 election and in 1998 she went into self-exile in Dubai, leading her party mainly through proxies.

A widening corruption inquiry culminated in a 2003 conviction in a Swiss court.

Benazir Bhutto Return & Death

Following United States-brokered negotiations with President Pervez Musharraf, she returned to Pakistan in 2007 to compete in the 2008 elections her platform emphasised civilian oversight of the military and opposition to growing Islamist violence.

On the morning of 27 December 2007, Bhutto met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

In the afternoon, she gave a speech at a PPP rally held in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat National Bagh. On leaving in a bulletproof vehicle, she opened the car’s escape hatch and stood up to wave to the surrounding crowds.

A man stood within two to three metres of the car, fired three gunshots at her. He also detonated a suicide vest packed with ball bearings.

The following day, her family buried her next to her father in the Bhutto family mausoleum, her family graveyard near Larkana. PPP supporters rioted in various parts of Pakistan.

The Salafi jihadi group al-Qaeda claimed responsibility, although media suspected the involvement of the Pakistani Taliban and rogue elements of the intelligence services. She was buried at her family mausoleum.


The Bhuttos and their books

Over the past four decades, the name Bhutto has come to symbolize — depending on which version of history you believe — Pakistan. It has become our lot in life to obsess over the Bhuttos, discuss their macabre deaths — Zulfikar was hanged, Shah Nawaz poisoned, Murtaza and Benazir shot — and wonder how many more Bhuttos will come to rule over Pakistan.

The latest author to chronicle the Bhuttos is Fatima Bhutto, Murtaza’s daughter and the much-fawned over columnist and poet whose book, Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter’s Memoir, was recently released in Pakistan, India, and the United Kingdom. Songs of Blood and Sword is Fatima’s attempt at writing a memoir of her father, Mir Murtaza Bhutto, who died in 1996 when the Karachi police fired on his convoy while his sister, Benazir Bhutto, was prime minister.

On first read, this memoir often feels like a rehash of Daughter of the East, Benazir Bhutto’s 1988 autobiography that documented her life in prison under General Zia ul-Haq’s regime and the events that preceded it, including her father being hanged by Haq’s administration, simply because Fatima is as defensive of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s domestic and foreign policies as Benazir was.

But Fatima Bhutto’s grief is palpable on every page — anyone who has lost a parent can empathize with her pain, and anyone who hasn’t will still commiserate. But in her attempt to document her father’s life from his birth to his years in exile in Syria from the early 1980s and eventual return toPakistan in 1993, Fatima tries to wipe the slate clean and goes down the sameroute that Benazir did in Daughter of theEast: selectively using quotes from those who agree with her worldview.

Fatima traces Murtaza’s history and finds witty gems and beautiful ex-girlfriends as she travels to Boston and Athens to discover her father’s life. She finds professors reminiscing about their talented young student, and old friends sharing anecdotes and letters written by Zulfikar to Murtaza.

She writes at length about their shared memories, their bond as father and daughter, strengthened further by the fact that he brought her up almost single-handedly, since her parents divorced shortly after Shah Nawaz Bhutto’s death. Fatima’s account of their life in Damascus is poignant, peppered with their shared interests, anecdotes of Murtaza’s boisterous sense of humor and conversations about life and love. These parts are engaging, make for a compelling read and deserve to be documented. He writes a poem to her in a letter while he was in jail, excerpted here:

Here is a small one on Wadi [Benazir] and Slippery Joe [presumably Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir’s husband]
Inky, Pinky, Ponky
Her husband is a donkey
Both loot the country
Her husband is a monkey
Inky, Pinky, Ponky.

Fatima also paints a chilling narrative of the night Murtaza was shot dead along with several of his supporters, an account that explains why this book is laden with not-so-quiet rage. In the epilogue, she writes of an occasion when President Asif Ali Zardari and his entourage were being received at the British consulate, close to Fatima’s residence, as she stood at the same spot her father had been shot. "Here I was, standing where my father was murdered, and the man who I believe was in part responsible for the execution was across the road from me, being received diplomatically. I felt my knees buckle. I sat down on the curb."

She transports the reader back to the streets of Karachi and the frenzied scenes in the hospital where doctors tried to save Murtaza’s life. It is the story of yet another Bhutto trying to come to terms with yet another strange and unexpected death, the fourth in as many decades. These are the losses that have shaped Pakistan’s history to a great extent and will be an influential factor for the foreseeable future.

But given that this is a grieving daughter’s memoir of her father who was killed at the young age of 42, it is clear that she does not intend to criticize his actions in any way. Fatima Bhutto glosses over the time he spent in Libya as a guest of Colonel Gaddafi or in Kabul, as the alleged head of the Al-Zulfikar Organization (AZO) that was set up to avenge the death of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Unsurprisingly, Murtaza is absolved of all responsibility for AZO. The famed 1981 hijacking of a Pakistan International Airlines plane in Kabul that AZO took credit for is explained differently. Fatima quotes a friend of Murtaza’s extensively, who claims that the hijacker, Salamullah Tipu, was not a member of the AZO and that Murtaza was actually negotiating with the hijackers to release the women and children on board. It is an account that is widely disputed by former members of the AZO (Raja Anwar, The Terrorist Prince, 1997).

But in this new episode in the saga of the Bhutto dynasty that Fatima has chronicled, the blame — as well as the acerbic barbs and the retorts — are all directed at her aunt Benazir Bhutto. Fatima criticizes Benazir from her choice of room décor at the Bhuttos’ Karachi residence to Benazir’s decision to wear a headscarf and her wit — anecdotes all dissected to form a portrayal of a self-centered, power-hungry woman who Fatima squarely holds responsible for everything that has gone wrong in the Bhutto dynasty.

In her quest to absolve Murtaza of lingering criticism surrounding his name and paint Benazir as the "bad guy," Fatima blames her aunt for everything from Murtaza’s incarceration after he returned from exile, to alienating Nusrat Bhutto, Benazir’s mother and Fatima’s grandmother, from the PPP and being hungry for power. She does share anecdotes of her memories with her aunt, but writes that "since we returned to Pakisan I had seen a different, ugly side of my aunt," citing an incident where Fatima asked her to visit Murtaza in jail with her and Benazir refused, saying "I couldn’t get permission from the jail to come." Fatima couldn’t fathom this, given that Benazir was prime minister at the time, and writes, "I couldn’t shift the blame from her any more. She was involved. She was running the show." The final blow came after Murtaza’s death, when Benazir reportedly called his widow, Ghinwa, a ‘bellydancer’ from the ‘backwoods of Lebanon.’ Fatima writes, "After Papa was killed, I never saw that old Wadi again. She was gone."

In her quest though, Fatima even attempts to hold Benazir responsiblefor the death of Shah Nawaz, Benazir and Murtaza’s brother, who died under rather strange circumstances in France in 1985. (While the Bhutto family was on holiday in Cannes, where Shah Nawaz lived with his wife and daughter, they was alerted by his wife one morning that Shah Nawaz had "taken something" (p.250, Daughter of the East). They discovered he was dead, allegedly having taken poison, but the Bhutto family believes he was murdered while his wife was charged (and then cleared) with not assisting Shah Nawaz in time.) Her source? The observations of the lawyer Murtaza and Benazir engaged to fight the case in French courts, Jacques Verges. The insinuation that Benazir may have ordered Shah Nawaz’s killing and the remarks she chooses to include by Benazir (such as indulgent postcards she sent to Murtaza at university) sour the book. It no longer feels like a memoir, but yet another blame game in the history of the Bhutto family that is still at odds with each other. Their conflict shows no signs of dissipating or staying within the family. Last week, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s nephew Tariq Islam sent a letter to the Dawn newspaper disputing at least one account in Songs of Blood and Sword by quoting conversations he had with Zulfikar before Zulfikar was executed in 1979.

Fatima Bhutto’s rage at Benazir, who she believes was either involved in or complicit in covering up the killing of her father, Murtaza– the woman she once thought of as her favorite aunt — is understandable. But it is a niece’s anger, not a historian’s or a memoirist’s.

Songs of Blood and Sword is not, and should not be treated as, a chapter in the Bhuttos’ history. It is a self-serving charade discounting other versions or charactersbecause they do not fit with Fatima’s take on events that occurred in Murtaza’s life.

The book has reportedly sold well in Pakistan (ExpressTribune), but the reviews in the Pakistani press have been rather scathing (TheNews, Dawn, ExpressTribune). It is hard to gauge Pakistani public approval or disapproval of the book, given that Fatima Bhutto flew out of Pakistan for a book tour after it launched and has reportedly refused to sit down for face-to-face interviews with Pakistani journalists. Conventional readings and Q&A sessions would have given insights, but this is no conventional book. It will continue to sell well — anything with the Bhutto name does — but whether it can spark any negative public reaction to Fatima or Zardari remains to be seen.

Ultimately, Songs of Blood and Sword is yet another in the series of books written by the Bhuttos about their versions of history as they see it. Mark your calendars: 22 years from now, another Bhutto will be penning a memoir. As Tariq Islam says Zulfikar Ali Bhutto told him in jail, "I will go down in history. Songs will be written about me." He probably didn’t expect the songs would be written by members of his own family.

Over the past four decades, the name Bhutto has come to symbolize — depending on which version of history you believe — Pakistan. It has become our lot in life to obsess over the Bhuttos, discuss their macabre deaths — Zulfikar was hanged, Shah Nawaz poisoned, Murtaza and Benazir shot — and wonder how many more Bhuttos will come to rule over Pakistan.

The latest author to chronicle the Bhuttos is Fatima Bhutto, Murtaza’s daughter and the much-fawned over columnist and poet whose book, Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter’s Memoir, was recently released in Pakistan, India, and the United Kingdom. Songs of Blood and Sword is Fatima’s attempt at writing a memoir of her father, Mir Murtaza Bhutto, who died in 1996 when the Karachi police fired on his convoy while his sister, Benazir Bhutto, was prime minister.

On first read, this memoir often feels like a rehash of Daughter of the East, Benazir Bhutto’s 1988 autobiography that documented her life in prison under General Zia ul-Haq’s regime and the events that preceded it, including her father being hanged by Haq’s administration, simply because Fatima is as defensive of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s domestic and foreign policies as Benazir was.

But Fatima Bhutto’s grief is palpable on every page — anyone who has lost a parent can empathize with her pain, and anyone who hasn’t will still commiserate. But in her attempt to document her father’s life from his birth to his years in exile in Syria from the early 1980s and eventual return toPakistan in 1993, Fatima tries to wipe the slate clean and goes down the sameroute that Benazir did in Daughter of theEast: selectively using quotes from those who agree with her worldview.

Fatima traces Murtaza’s history and finds witty gems and beautiful ex-girlfriends as she travels to Boston and Athens to discover her father’s life. She finds professors reminiscing about their talented young student, and old friends sharing anecdotes and letters written by Zulfikar to Murtaza.

She writes at length about their shared memories, their bond as father and daughter, strengthened further by the fact that he brought her up almost single-handedly, since her parents divorced shortly after Shah Nawaz Bhutto’s death. Fatima’s account of their life in Damascus is poignant, peppered with their shared interests, anecdotes of Murtaza’s boisterous sense of humor and conversations about life and love. These parts are engaging, make for a compelling read and deserve to be documented. He writes a poem to her in a letter while he was in jail, excerpted here:

Here is a small one on Wadi [Benazir] and Slippery Joe [presumably Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir’s husband]
Inky, Pinky, Ponky
Her husband is a donkey
Both loot the country
Her husband is a monkey
Inky, Pinky, Ponky.

Fatima also paints a chilling narrative of the night Murtaza was shot dead along with several of his supporters, an account that explains why this book is laden with not-so-quiet rage. In the epilogue, she writes of an occasion when President Asif Ali Zardari and his entourage were being received at the British consulate, close to Fatima’s residence, as she stood at the same spot her father had been shot. "Here I was, standing where my father was murdered, and the man who I believe was in part responsible for the execution was across the road from me, being received diplomatically. I felt my knees buckle. I sat down on the curb."

She transports the reader back to the streets of Karachi and the frenzied scenes in the hospital where doctors tried to save Murtaza’s life. It is the story of yet another Bhutto trying to come to terms with yet another strange and unexpected death, the fourth in as many decades. These are the losses that have shaped Pakistan’s history to a great extent and will be an influential factor for the foreseeable future.

But given that this is a grieving daughter’s memoir of her father who was killed at the young age of 42, it is clear that she does not intend to criticize his actions in any way. Fatima Bhutto glosses over the time he spent in Libya as a guest of Colonel Gaddafi or in Kabul, as the alleged head of the Al-Zulfikar Organization (AZO) that was set up to avenge the death of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Unsurprisingly, Murtaza is absolved of all responsibility for AZO. The famed 1981 hijacking of a Pakistan International Airlines plane in Kabul that AZO took credit for is explained differently. Fatima quotes a friend of Murtaza’s extensively, who claims that the hijacker, Salamullah Tipu, was not a member of the AZO and that Murtaza was actually negotiating with the hijackers to release the women and children on board. It is an account that is widely disputed by former members of the AZO (Raja Anwar, The Terrorist Prince, 1997).

But in this new episode in the saga of the Bhutto dynasty that Fatima has chronicled, the blame — as well as the acerbic barbs and the retorts — are all directed at her aunt Benazir Bhutto. Fatima criticizes Benazir from her choice of room décor at the Bhuttos’ Karachi residence to Benazir’s decision to wear a headscarf and her wit — anecdotes all dissected to form a portrayal of a self-centered, power-hungry woman who Fatima squarely holds responsible for everything that has gone wrong in the Bhutto dynasty.

In her quest to absolve Murtaza of lingering criticism surrounding his name and paint Benazir as the "bad guy," Fatima blames her aunt for everything from Murtaza’s incarceration after he returned from exile, to alienating Nusrat Bhutto, Benazir’s mother and Fatima’s grandmother, from the PPP and being hungry for power. She does share anecdotes of her memories with her aunt, but writes that "since we returned to Pakisan I had seen a different, ugly side of my aunt," citing an incident where Fatima asked her to visit Murtaza in jail with her and Benazir refused, saying "I couldn’t get permission from the jail to come." Fatima couldn’t fathom this, given that Benazir was prime minister at the time, and writes, "I couldn’t shift the blame from her any more. She was involved. She was running the show." The final blow came after Murtaza’s death, when Benazir reportedly called his widow, Ghinwa, a ‘bellydancer’ from the ‘backwoods of Lebanon.’ Fatima writes, "After Papa was killed, I never saw that old Wadi again. She was gone."

In her quest though, Fatima even attempts to hold Benazir responsiblefor the death of Shah Nawaz, Benazir and Murtaza’s brother, who died under rather strange circumstances in France in 1985. (While the Bhutto family was on holiday in Cannes, where Shah Nawaz lived with his wife and daughter, they was alerted by his wife one morning that Shah Nawaz had "taken something" (p.250, Daughter of the East). They discovered he was dead, allegedly having taken poison, but the Bhutto family believes he was murdered while his wife was charged (and then cleared) with not assisting Shah Nawaz in time.) Her source? The observations of the lawyer Murtaza and Benazir engaged to fight the case in French courts, Jacques Verges. The insinuation that Benazir may have ordered Shah Nawaz’s killing and the remarks she chooses to include by Benazir (such as indulgent postcards she sent to Murtaza at university) sour the book. It no longer feels like a memoir, but yet another blame game in the history of the Bhutto family that is still at odds with each other. Their conflict shows no signs of dissipating or staying within the family. Last week, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s nephew Tariq Islam sent a letter to the Dawn newspaper disputing at least one account in Songs of Blood and Sword by quoting conversations he had with Zulfikar before Zulfikar was executed in 1979.

Fatima Bhutto’s rage at Benazir, who she believes was either involved in or complicit in covering up the killing of her father, Murtaza– the woman she once thought of as her favorite aunt — is understandable. But it is a niece’s anger, not a historian’s or a memoirist’s.

Songs of Blood and Sword is not, and should not be treated as, a chapter in the Bhuttos’ history. It is a self-serving charade discounting other versions or charactersbecause they do not fit with Fatima’s take on events that occurred in Murtaza’s life.

The book has reportedly sold well in Pakistan (ExpressTribune), but the reviews in the Pakistani press have been rather scathing (TheNews, Dawn, ExpressTribune). It is hard to gauge Pakistani public approval or disapproval of the book, given that Fatima Bhutto flew out of Pakistan for a book tour after it launched and has reportedly refused to sit down for face-to-face interviews with Pakistani journalists. Conventional readings and Q&A sessions would have given insights, but this is no conventional book. It will continue to sell well — anything with the Bhutto name does — but whether it can spark any negative public reaction to Fatima or Zardari remains to be seen.

Ultimately, Songs of Blood and Sword is yet another in the series of books written by the Bhuttos about their versions of history as they see it. Mark your calendars: 22 years from now, another Bhutto will be penning a memoir. As Tariq Islam says Zulfikar Ali Bhutto told him in jail, "I will go down in history. Songs will be written about me." He probably didn’t expect the songs would be written by members of his own family.


Watch the video: Biography of Benazir Bhutto, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan u0026 1st woman leader of a Muslim nation (August 2022).