Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Web Desk

On her 69th birth anniversary: Remembering Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto’s family, friends and well-wishers posted to Twitter in memory of the slain former prime minister

Web Desk
Former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto. — Reuters
Former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto. — Reuters

On what would have been her 69th birthday, Benazir Bhutto’s family, friends and well-wishers took to Twitter in memory of the slain former prime minister.

Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who is the federal minister for foreign affairs and the son of the late leader, wished his mother by posting several snapshots of the mother-son duo in a series of tweets.

“On the longest day of the year, we remember Shaheed Benazir Bhutto on what would have been her 69th birthday,” he wrote.

Highlighting her contributions to the country, Bilawal added: “She fought for 30+ years for the restoration of democracy, economic emancipation of the poor, and for the peaceful message of Islam.”

Bilawal lamented that “terrorists, dictators and cowards” have assassinated her. But she lives on in the hearts and minds of the people of her country and across the world. “In life, she was Benazir, in death she is Benazir. To her assassins, we say: “Tum zinda ho kr murda ho, wo mar kr phir bhi zinda hai.”

The foreign minister also shared a video released in 2019 where all renowned journalists paid tribute to the former prime minister: “Happy birthday to my mother, our leader, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto,” Bilawal captioned the video.

Benazir’s elder daughter Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari also shared a portrait of her mother to pay tribute to her on her birthday.

Democracy is poorer without her: PM Shehbaz

"I pay my rich tribute to Shaheed Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto on her 69th birthday," Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif wrote on Twitter. 

"Our democracy is poorer without her [and] the void left by her martyrdom will never be filled. She fearlessly [and] staunchly advocated the causes she believed in," he added.

‘Journey together is still unfinished’

Federal Minister for Climate Change and PPP Vice President Sherry Rehman also shared her picture with the slain leader claiming that she lives on in the hearts in ways no one else could.

“Our journey together is still unfinished. Your redemptive light still guides many of us on a path you trod with infinite grace and courage. May you shine on forever,” she wrote on Twitter.

The Senator mentioned that she misses Benazir more during these tough times that the country is experiencing. “If Benazir would have been alive the country wouldn’t have been facing these internal and external issues,” she added.

The life and times of Benazir Bhutto

Benazir was a Pakistani democratic socialist who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996. She was the daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto‚ a former prime minister of Pakistan and the founder of the PPP.

In 1982‚ at the age of 29‚ Benazir became the chairperson of PPP, 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, she drove initiatives for Pakistan's economy and national security‚ and she implemented policies for industrial development and growth.

Read more: My last interview with Benazir Bhutto

Benazir's popularity waned amid recession‚ corruption‚ high unemployment which later led to the dismissal of her government by then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan.

In 1993‚ Benazir Bhutto was re-elected for a second term after the 1993 parliamentary elections. 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 conceded her defeat in the 1997 Parliamentary elections and went into self-imposed exile in Dubai‚ United Arab Emirates in 1998.

Read more: Benazir Bhutto’s politics of resistance and reconciliation

After nine years of self-exile‚ she returned to Pakistan on October 18, 2007‚ after having reached an understanding with Pervez Musharraf‚ following which she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn.

Benazir was assassinated on December 27, 2007‚ after leaving 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.