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Friday, October 7, 2011

First female prime minister of a Muslim country.


Benazir Bhutto (21 June 1953 – 27 December 2007) was a Pakistani woman socialist-democratic politician who was the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan, and also the 3rd chairwoman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)— a democratic socialist, centre-left, and the largest political party in Pakistan. Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, having twice been Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms (1988–1990; 1993–1996). She was Pakistan's first and to date only female prime minister and was the eldest child of former Prime minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and former First Lady of Pakistan Nusrat Bhutto, and was the wife of current President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari.

Noted for her charismatic authority and political astuteness, Benazir Bhutto took initiatives for Pakistan's economy, national security, and adhered capitalism policies for the industrial development. Benazir disbanded her father's nationalization policies and replaced with privatization in an attempt to improve the economy. Many of the industries that brought under the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1970s were privatized by her government during her first government. Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister for the first time in 1988 at the age of 35, but was removed from office 20 months later under the order of conservative President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on grounds of alleged corruption. However, Benazir Bhutto and the Pakistan Peoples Party won the 1993 parliamentary elections and was sworned as Prime minister. A serious coup d'état was attempted by the senior officers of Pakistan Army, however, the M.I. led by Major-General Ali Kuli Khan exposed the culprits behind this plot. In retaliation, Benazir Bhutto ordered the trial and the dissidents were detained in the military jails by her government. After this attempt, her term was cut short and her government was dismissed in 1996 on similar corruption charges, this time by her party's own hand-picked and elected President Farooq Leghari. Bhutto again participated and campaigned in the 1997 Parliamentary elections, but was defeated in by a large-scale margin by the conservative leader Navaz Sharif. As wake of this elections, Benazir Bhutto departed from Pakistan and went into self-imposed exile in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 1998.

After 9 years of self-exile, Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan on October 18, 2007, after having reached an understanding with Military President General Pervez Musharraf by which she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn. Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on 27 December 2007, after departing a PPP's last rally in the city of Rawalpindi, two weeks before the scheduled Pakistani general election of 2008 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.

Benazir Bhutto was born at Pinto Hospital in Karachi, Dominion of Pakistan on 21 June 1953. She was the eldest child of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a Pakistani Shia Muslim of Sindhi Rajput descent, and Begum Nusrat Ispahani, a Pakistani Shia Muslim of Kurdish-Iranian descent.Her paternal grandfather was Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto.Bhutto was raised to speak both English and Urdu;English was her first language and while her Urdu was fluent it was often also ungrammatical.Despite her family being Sindhi speakers, her Sindhi skills were almost non-existent.

On 18 December 1987, she married Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi. The couple had three children: two daughters, Bakhtawar and Asifa, and a son, Bilawal. When she gave birth to Bakhtawar in 1990, she became the first modern head of government to give birth while in office.

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