Remembering Benazir Bhutto on her 64th birth anniversary

Iconic figure is remembered as the first woman to lead a Muslim state

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Charismatic and politically astute, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, who would have been 64 this year, is an icon not just in Pakistan but the entire Muslim world.

She become the first woman to lead a Muslim state and was the only female prime minister of Pakistan.

During her political career, she became the voice of the powerless and oppressed and also spent a significant time challenging dictators for restoration of democracy in the country. Many of her supporters and followers still continue to mourn her death.

She was elected as Pakistan’s prime minister twice but failed to complete her tenure both times.


Born on June 21, 1953 in Karachi, she was the eldest child of former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who founded the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Benazir completed her early education in Pakistan and then went to United States for higher studies. She graduated from Harvard University with a BA in comparative government. Later, she completed a course in international law and diplomacy from Oxford University.

After she returned to Pakistan in 1977, she was placed under house arrest after military coup overthrew her father’s government. A year later, General Mohammad Ziaul Haq ordered the execution of her father for allegedly authorising the murder of an opponent.

Eventually, she inherited her father’s leadership of PPP.

However, strict restrictions were imposed on her family due to which she moved to England in 1984 and returned on April 10, 1986, and campaigned for open elections.

She married Asif Ali Zardari on December 18, 1987, and the couple has three children; Bilawal (who is currently heading the PPP), Bakhtawar and Aseefa.

Aitzaz Ahsan on Benazir

Speaking about Benazir Bhutto, PPP senior leader Aitzaz Ahsan remarked that she initiated the concept political reconciliation for the first time in Pakistan but was criticised for it.

During former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf's rule, she joined hands with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to promote a culture of democracy. Not only did she promote new democratic traditions but she also paved way to strips dictators of their power, he added.


After being in Dubai for eight years, the two-time prime minister returned to Pakistan on 18 October, 2007. She survived a suicide attack on her welcome procession, which unfortunately killed 150 people.

On December 27, 2007, Benazir was assassinated during her ill-fated rally at Liaquat Bagh prior to the holding of elections in the country. She appeared from the sunroof of her jeep to acknowledge the cheers of the supporters when she was killed. She was 53 at the time.

Benazir was buried alongside her family members in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, Sindh.