Today marks a decade since Benazir Bhutto was assassinated at an election campaign rally in Rawalpindi. Rather than talking about the untimely demise of the daughter of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) founder and prime minister Zulfikhar Ali Bhutto, we want to shed light on her life, career and accomplishments.
The eldest child of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir completed her higher education from Harvard and Oxford University. At Harvard, she graduated with a B.A degree in comparative government and at Oxford she studied International Law and Diplomacy. Till date, Bhutto has been the only female prime minister of Pakistan. She served two terms, the first from 1988-1990 and the second from 1993-1996. Raised in a prominent political family, Bhutto was no stranger to political ideas and policies.
While she was eloquent and charismatic, due to her political shrewdness and ceaseless courage Bhutto was popularly known as the Iron Lady of Pakistan.
Bhutto’s political career didn’t lack for scandal and surely had it’s ills, but she remains responsible for opening the door of politics to the women of Pakistan. Her personal life was marred by one tragedy after another starting with the execution of her father and the murder of her two brothers. In the end, Bhutto met the same tragic demise. However, she left behind an undeniable yet controversial legacy for the PPP and Pakistan.
One of the greatest lessons a person can learn from Bhutto’s life is that of perseverance in the face of adversity. Bhutto was put under house-arrest, jailed multiple times, exiled, and ousted as Prime Minister. But being the woman that she was, she refused to back down and fought for what she believed in, regardless of public opinion and criticism. She was not a perfect human being nor a perfect leader, but her fearlessness and determination are still an inspiration to many.
Here are a few memorable pictures from the lifetime of the Iron Lady of Pakistan:
Nusrat Bhutto with her three children
A childhood picture of Benazir Bhutto
Picture of a young Benazir Bhutto at Oxford
Benazir Bhutto alongside her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Indira Gandhi
Benazir making the victory sign for her supporters
Benazir Bhutto at her family home in Larkana
Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari on their wedding day
Benazir Bhutto with Margaret Thatcher
Benazir Bhutto taking oath as prime minister of Pakistan
Benazir Bhutto addressing a rally of 80,000 supporters in 1986
Benazir Bhutto with Hilary and Chelsea Clinton in Islamabad
Benazir Bhutto with a young Bilawal Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto is presented with the Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Dr. David Herbert Donald at the 2000 Achievement Summit in London
Benazir Bhutto receives Women’s Tolerance Award in 2005
Benazir Bhutto returns to Pakistan in 2007
Aftermath of bomb blast attack on Benazir Bhutto on 27 December, 2007 in Rawalpindi
The assassination of Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto’s funeral
Benazir Bhutto’s personal and political legacy is full of contradictions and complexities that will continue to be examined by historians, grasping politicians, her supporters and critics. Yet she has a special place in the heart of every girl and woman in Pakistan who was ever told that being a woman stopped her from reaching for the stars. This was probably her greatest legacy.