In November 1988 Benazir Bhutto (1953-2007), daughter of former Pakistan leader Zulfika Bhutto (1928–1979) and leader of the People’s Party of Pakistan (PPP) party, became prime minister. Bhutto’s government was plagued by ethnic conflict, severe economic problems, and a lack of legislative support. She was removed from office two years later by president Ghulam Ishaq amid growing power struggles within the government. In October 1990,Mian Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Islamic Democratic Alliance (IDA), became prime minister and faced the same problems that troubled Bhutto.In 1993 Bhutto’s PPP won the National Assembly, and she once again became prime minister. However, in 1996 President Farooq Leghari dismissed Bhutto on charges of corruption, and in 1997 Nawaz Sharif replaced her.

In August 1988, a plane carrying President Zia Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq crashed under mysterious circumstances, killing Zia and 29 others. In accordance with the Constitution, Chairman of the Senate Ghu-lam Ishaq Khan became Acting President and announced that elections scheduled for November 1988 would go ahead as planned. The PPP won 94 seats out of 207 and the Islamic Democratic Alliance (IJI) won 54.The PPP, under Benazir Bhutto's leadership, succeeded in forming a coalition government with several smaller parties, including the Mutta-hida Qaumi Movement (MQM). [Source:Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2009, Gale]

According to “Countries of the World and Their Leaders”: “Differing interpretations of constitutional authority, debates over the powers of the central government relative to those of the provinces, and the antagonistic relationship between the Bhutto administration and opposition governments in Punjab and Balochistan seriously impeded social and economic reform programs. Ethnic conflict, primarily in Sindh province, exacerbated these problems. A fragmentation in the governing coalition and the military's reluctance to support an apparently ineffectual and corrupt government were accompanied by a significant deterioration in law and order.

In August 1990, President Khan, citing his powers under the eighth amendment to the Constitution, dismissed the Bhutto government and dissolved the national and provincial assemblies. In elections held in October 1990, the IJI won a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly and took control of all four provincial parliaments. Sharif, as leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML, the most prominent party in the IJI), was elected prime minister by the National Assembly. With such a strong mandate Sharif was the most powerful Pakistani prime minister since the mid-1970s. Under his rule, the IJI achieved several important political victories and economic reform, including privatization, deregulation, and encouragement of private sector boosted the economy. The passage of sharia bill in May 1991, providing for widespread Islamization, had strong support among Pakistanis.

In the end though, Nawaz Sharif was not able to bridge the difference among IJI's constituent parties. The largest religious party, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), abandoned the alliance because of its antagonism to what it regarded as PML hegemony. The government was weakened further by the military's suppression of the MQM, which had entered into coalition with the IJI to contain PPP influence, and allegations of corruption directed at Nawaz Sharif. In 1993, Nawaz Sharif was forced to resign. In 1993 Bhutto’s PPP won the National Assembly, and she once again became prime minister.

Books: “Reconciliation Islam, Democracy, and the West” by Benazir Bhutto (Harper. 2008); “Daughter of Destiny” or “Daughter of the East”, Bhutto’s 1988 autobiography.

Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto 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. Ideologically a liberal and a secularist, she chaired or co-chaired the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) from the early 1980s until her assassination in 2007.

In the late 1980s and 1990s she alternated power with Nawaz Sharif, as the country's political and economic situation worsened. According to the Columbia Encyclopedia: “In 1986, Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his heir as head of the Pakistan People's party (PPP), returned to the country... The PPP won the November elections, and Bhutto became prime minister. Despite a strong power base, Bhutto encountered numerous problems in office, including regional ethnic clashes, the difficulties of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and long-term tensions caused by Pakistan's poverty and its uneasy relationship with India.. [Source: Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed., The Columbia University Press]

Bhutto’s accession to power was widely applauded in the West. Bhutto, like her father campaigned with the promise of "bread, clothing and shelter" for the poor and was only 35 when she took office. Bhutto was unable to overcome corruption in her state. She was ousted twice by presidential decree and then defeated in the polls, most recently in a 1997 election. She ultimately proved to be just as corrupt as other Pakistani politicians and for a long time was largely reviled by Pakistanis.

A skilled and combative orator, Bhutto was better suited for leading an opposition than running a country. In some villages chiefs called he 'Your Excellency" and "Your Majesty." She was known for rousing speeches but had difficulty making a personal contact with her constituency. She seemed uncomfortable in the countryside and reportedly did not like talking with or touching ordinary people. Bhutto's sister in law once said, "You can never speak when she is in the room. There is never a dialogue." She was also accused of not accepting advise of critics, surrounding herself with sycophants and failing to acknowledge bad news.

Tim Rutten wrote in the Los Angeles Times: Bhutto “was, by her own words -- and many of her actions -- a convinced democrat with a populist bent for grass-roots development. Yet she came from a vast, aristocratic family that still holds actual -- not virtual -- feudal sway over large parts of Sindh province. Moreover, she inherited leadership of her Pakistan Peoples Party as a legacy from her father, and her will specified that her mantle was to pass to her husband. He since has stepped aside -- for their son, 19-year-old Bilawal, currently at Oxford. Most democratic parties don't work quite that way. Her commitment to education and development is well documented, yet corruption was a factor both times she was forced from office. Her husband earned the nickname "Mr. Ten Percent."” [Source: Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times, February 12, 2008]

Although educated at Harvard and Oxford, Bhutto lacked political experience and administrative skill and it showed. In April 1999, Bhutto said, "I ran the government to the best of my honest ability. And I did it for nothing but acknowledgment and love." Benazir Bhutto did little to improve her country, economically or politically. She failed to try to reform Zia's draconian laws against women and in the end was remembered more for corruption and family feuds than her determination and courage. Time correspondent Tim McGirk wrote: "Benazir may have kept the family dynasty going, but with her feudal princess arrogance, she may have brought about its destruction."

Bhutto's Early Life and Family

Bhutto wrote a 1988 autobiography called “Daughter of Destiny” or “Daughter of the East.” Her family has been wealthy landowners in the Sindh for many generations. Her grandfather founded the first political party in the Sindh region and was knighted by the British monarchy.

Benazir Bhutto was the oldest child of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. In 1943, at the age of 15, Bhutto entered an arranged marriage with Shireen Amir Begum. Bhutto married his second wife, Nusrat Ispahani, an Iranian-Kurdish woman, in Karachi in 1951. Their first child, Benazir, was born in 1953, followed by Murtaza in 1954, Sanam in 1957 and Shahnawaz in 1958.

Benazir was raised like a feudal princess in a house full of servants. She studied economic and political science at Oxford and Harvard. At Oxford, she was elected president of the of the Oxford Union Society in 1976. In 1977, shortly after her return from Oxford to take place in her father's government, Zulfikar was ousted from office and arrested on charges of murder. She was also arrested and imprisoned, with a few short breaks, between 1977 and 1980. Sometimes she was kept in solitary confinement in a barren cell.

Muratza Bhutto, Benazir's brother, fled to Damascus, Syria after his father was executed in 1977. There, he set up an anti-Zia resistance group that hijacked a plane in 1981 to Kabul; that led to the release of 55 political prisoners and the shooting death of one passengers after a 13 day ordeal. Muratza was the only surviving son of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. His brother, Shah Nawaz died at the age of 28 under mysterious circumstances, possibly from poisoning, in 1985.

Bhutto and Her Father

Zulikar Bhutto, the leader of Pakistan from 1971 to 1977, appeared to have favored her daughter over his two sons, believing that she had greater political skill. Fathers and daughters are often very close in Pakistan. When asked if she was closer to her father than mother, Benazir Bhutto replied: "I ‘do’ think fathers have a special relationship with daughters. I was the eldest child, whom he hoped would follow in his footsteps. He often took me with him on trips abroad because he wanted me to have exposure to international relations.”

According to Stanley Wolpert, Zulfikar's biographer, the premier coached his daughter on political behavior. On a plane trip to India, he reportedly said, "You must not smile and give the impression that you are enjoying yourself while our soldiers are still in Indian prisoner-of-war camps. You must not look grim either, which people will interpret as pessimism."

Bhutto was 25 when her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged while she and her mother were held in a cell in the same jail. "I suddenly sat bolt upright in bed at 2:00am," she wrote in her autobiography about the night of her father's execution. "No! No!" she screamed aloud. "I couldn't breathe, didn't want to breathe. Papa! Papa! I felt cold , so cold, in spite of the heat, and couldn't stop shaking." [Source: Washington Post]

Benazir Bhutto, is clearly the beneficiary of dynastic politics and of the emotional ties of a large section of the electorate to her charismatic family. However, this legacy as the daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto has proven to be a mixed political blessing. Although she spoke of healing wounds and putting an end to the past, she was inexorably tied to her father's political legacy, which included harsh repression of political opposition. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

Bhutto After Her Father's Death

After her father was executed, Benazir was considered the heir to his Pakistan People's Party (PPP). While her brother's fled the country, Benazir Bhutto stayed in Pakistan. She spent three years under house arrest (1981-84) and refused to renounce politics if released. In 1984, Bhutto was allowed to leave Pakistan for medical treatment for a serious ear infection.

In 1985, martial laws ended but the military held on to power. In 1986, Bhutto returned to Pakistan and was welcomed with such huge crowds that it took the motorcade 12 hours to cover the eight mile distance between the airport and downtown Karachi. She was elected co-chair of the Pakistan People's Party and called for democratic elections.

Bhutto’ sfather Zulikar was ousted in a military coup in 1977 and replaced by Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, who established an unpopular U.S.-supported dictatorship and had a hand in the coup that ousted Zulikar. Zia presided over Zulikar’s execution. After that his widow, Nusrat, and his daughter, Benazir, were placed under house arrest or jailed.

In February 1985 elections were held for both the national and the provincial assemblies. Political parties were not allowed to participate and the PPP, led by Benazir Bhutto (Zulfiqar's daughter), boycotted them but other parties participated and supported Zia. The PPP resumed political activity in 1986 under Benazir’s leadership even though , although self-excluded from the National Assembly.

Bhutto's Arranged Marriage

In an arranged marriage in 1987, Bhutto was married to Asif Ali Zadari. People was surprised by the marriages because Zadari was considered beneath her. Zadari was a polo-playing former real estate developer from a down on its luck landowning family that made most of it money from a Karachi cinema. Before the marriage some had described him as "womanizing layabout." His family reportedly pursued Benazir for two years until she finally agreed to the marriage. Bhutto later said, "I never knew what real love meant until I met Asif." She has also praised her husband for remaining at her side and enduring problems brought upon him by her political career instead of fleeing abroad. She and Asif had three young children.

When asked how an independent person like herself could agree an a marriage with someone she hardly knew, Bhutto told the New York Times magazine, "I ‘couldn't’ have a love match. I was under such scrutiny. If my name had been linked with a man, it would have destroyed my political career. Actually, I had reconciled myself to a life without marriage or children for the sake of my career. And then my brothers got married. I realized I didn't even have a home, that in the future I couldn't do politics when I had to ask permission from their wives as to whether I could use the dining room or the telephone." [Source: Claudia Dreifus, New York Times magazine, May 15, 1994]

"Once my father died. I knew the day would come when, like all feudal families, they'd lock up the daughter so that the son takes over...I couldn't rent a home because a woman living on her own can be suspected of all kinds of scandalous associations. So keeping mind that many people in Pakistan looked to me, I decided to make a personal sacrifice in what I thought would be, more or less, a loveless marriage, a marriage of convenience. The surprising part is that we are very close and that it's been a very good match."

"I feel there is someone to spoil me, to take care of me, comfort me. It's so nice to have somebody who cares about you. I was so lonely after my father died. I felt I was taking care of everybody lese. With Asif, for once, I had somebody with whom I'd lay my hair on the pillow and feel I was safe. I'd love to arrange my own children's marriages. I say that because I've been so happy."

Family and Career and Benazir Bhutto

Describing Bhutto's plane in the 1990s,Claudia Dreifus wrote in the New York Times magazine: "The front section is a kind of office-cum-nursery, jammed with toys, briefcases, newspapers, nannies and Bhutto's children, Bilawal 5, Bakhtawar 4, and Asifa 1. In the main cabin, political advisors, security commandos and general are keeping an eye on the Prime Minister they cautiously support. 'Hullo, gentlemen...Hullo babies," Bhutto calls as she enters the plane. [Source: Claudia Dreifus, New York Times magazine, May 15, 1994]

Bhutto had her 4th child in office and was sometimes called the "Perpetually Pregnant P.M." "It is both jarring and interesting to see soldiers saluting a woman with children on her lap," Dreifus wrote. "It is wildly surreal to be discussing nuclear weapons with a head of state while her 4-year-old hands her candy hearts.”

Asif Ali Zardari wrote in New York Times after Bhutto was assassinated in 2008: “I married Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in 1987, and I spent less than five years living with her in the Prime Minister's House over her two terms in office interrupted by military interventions. I also spent over 11 years as a prisoner in Pakistani jails without a conviction on charges that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and General Pervez Musharraf (who brought and pursued the charges) have now publicly acknowledged were politically motivated.” [Source: Asif Ali Zardari, New York Times, January 4, 2008]

Bhutto's First Time as Prime Minister

In elections in 1988, Bhutto’s PPP party won 93 of 217 seats in the National Assembly. She was forced to form a coalition with the Muhajir Qoumi Movement (MQM), the party representing the “refugees” (Muhajir) that came to Pakistan from India after partition. The Muhajir were rivals of the Sindhi, the base of her support. The alliance lasted for only 20 months.

Although she inherited her father's party, the PPP, and led it to victory, the party won a very narrow plurality in the 1988 elections and was therefore forced to enter into a coalition with the MQM and several other parties in order to form a government. Benazir wanted to repeal the Eighth Amendment in order to strengthen her position as prime minister but could not muster sufficient political support and soon abandoned the effort. Benazir also faced not only the old problems of the political role of the military forces, the division of power between the central and provincial governments, and the role of Islam, but also pressing new ones, including a large budget deficit and growing ethnic violence. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

Several early actions appeared to strengthen Benazir's ability to deal with these problems. In choosing her cabinet, for example, Benazir kept the portfolios of finance and defense for herself but appointed a seasoned bureaucrat, Wasim Jafari, as her top adviser on finance and economic affairs. Her retention of Zia's foreign minister, Sahibzada Yaqub Khan, signaled continuity in pursuit of the country's policy on Afghanistan. Also, when working out their political coalition, the MQM agreed to support the PPP government at both federal and provincial levels. The agreement, signed by the Sindh-based MQM and the head of the PPP in Sindh, pledged to protect and safeguard the interests of all the people of Sindh, regardless of language, religion, or origin of birth, as well as to stamp out violence and to support the rule of law. The agreement--short-lived, as it turned out--was an effort to achieve peace and cooperation between the indigenous population and the muhajirs in Benazir's troubled home province.

Benazir's assumption of office brought great expectations from inside as well as outside Pakistan. In her first address to the nation, Benazir pledged to work for a progressive and democratic Pakistan--one guided by Islamic principles of brotherhood, equality, and tolerance. At the same time, she invoked the Quaid-i-Azam's vision for a Pakistan that would grow as a modern state. Benazir's rhetoric soared, promising much to an expectant nation: strengthened relations with the United States, the Soviet Union, and China; protected minority rights; increased provincial autonomy; improvement of education; introduction of a comprehensive national health policy; enhanced rights for women, with equal pay for equal work; and the like. When faced with the hard realities of government, however, most of Benazir's rhetoric did not translate into action. Although she was successful in advancing the democratization process in Pakistani politics and was able to achieve warmer relations with the United States and, for a short while, with India as well, Benazir's first term in office is usually looked back upon, by both foreign and domestic observers, as ineffectual--a period of governmental instability. Within months she had lost much of her political support.

Problems for Bhutto During Her First Time as Prime Minister

Benazir was often described as autocratic during her first term. Her appointment of her mother, Nusrat, as a senior minister without portfolio, followed by the selection of her father-in-law as chairman of the parliamentary public accounts committee, was viewed in some quarters as ill-advised nepotism. Benazir's government also set up the controversial Placement Bureau, which made political appointments to the civil bureaucracy, although the bureau was later abolished. Benazir let the political legacy of her family intrude, for example, when able public servants, who had earlier harbored disagreements with her father, were dismissed for reasons other than job performance. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

Benazir also had to contend with growing political opposition. As a political power broker, she was in the late 1980s no match for her main rival, then chief minister of Punjab, Nawaz Sharif. In the 1988 elections that brought Benazir to power, her party had won the largest number of seats in the National Assembly but controlled only one of the four provinces. Punjab, the most populous province, with over half of Pakistan's population, came under the control of the opposition IJI and of its leader, Nawaz Sharif, who was the only major political figure from the Zia era to survive the reemergence of the PPP. To maintain her power and implement her programs, Benazir would have needed to maneuver successfully between a powerful president and the military elite and to reach a political accommodation with Nawaz Sharif. Instead, she pursued a course of confrontation, including unsuccessful efforts to overthrow him in the provincial assembly. In addition, the failure of the PPP to share power and spoils with its coalition partners caused further alienation, including the withdrawal of the MQM from the government in October 1989.

The public's sense of disillusionment deepened as the government failed to deliver its promised employment and economic development programs. Inflation and unemployment were high, and the country's burgeoning population put increased pressure on already overburdened education and health systems. The government also failed to deal with the country's growing drug abuse problem, and there was opposition from religious conservatives who distrusted the degree of Benazir's commitment to the state's Islamic principles. Despite tensions, disagreements, and mutual misgivings, however, Benazir continued to be supported by the armed forces. The chief of the army staff, General Mirza Aslam Beg, publicly stated his intention to maintain a politically neutral army.

Benazir narrowly survived a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly in October 1989. Her government did not compile a record of accomplishment that might have helped to offset her other difficulties. No new legislation was passed, and fewer than a dozen bills, all minor amendments to existing legislation, passed the National Assembly. Benazir complained that legislation was stymied because the Senate was dominated by her opposition.

Benazir's problems were further accentuated in February 1990 when an MQM-directed strike in Karachi escalated into rioting that virtually paralyzed the city. The strike had been called to protest the alleged abduction of MQM supporters by the PPP. The resulting loss of life and property forced Benazir to call in the army to restore order. In addition to the violence in Sindh and elsewhere, she had to cope with increasing charges of corruption leveled not only at her associates, but at her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, and father-in-law. On the international front, Pakistan faced heightened tensions with India over Kashmir and problems associated with the unresolved Afghan war.

Bhutto’s Authoritarianism and Character Attacks

William Dalrymple wrote in the New York Times: “Bhutto’s governments were widely criticized by Amnesty International and other groups for their use of death squads and terrible record on deaths in police custody, abductions and torture. As for her democratic bona fides, she had no qualms about banning rallies by opposing political parties while in power. Within her own party, she declared herself the president for life and controlled all decisions. She rejected her brother Murtaza’s bid to challenge her for its leadership and when he persisted, he was shot dead in highly suspicious circumstances during a police ambush outside the Bhutto family home. Benazir Bhutto was certainly a brave and secular-minded woman. But the obituaries painting her as dying to save democracy distort history. Instead, she was a natural autocrat who did little for human rights, a calculating politician who was complicit in Pakistan’s becoming the region’s principal jihadi paymaster while she also ramped up an insurgency in Kashmir that has brought two nuclear powers to the brink of war. [Source: William Dalrymple, New York Times January 4, 2008]

Asif Ali Zardari wrote in the New York Times: “Even before Benazir was elected prime minister in 1988, the intelligence agencies of Pakistan began a campaign to discredit her, targeting me as her husband and several of her friends. The term "Mr. Ten Percent" was attached to my name as an appendage by public relations hired guns working for the intelligence agencies, just as the names of her friends abroad were besmirched by the ridiculous charges that they headed a non-existent "Indo-Zionist" lobby. [Source: Asif Ali Zardari, New York Times, January 4, 2008]

“This campaign of character assassination was possibly the first institutional application of the politics of personal destruction. She was the target, and her husband and her friends were the instruments. The purpose was to weaken the case for democratic government in Pakistan. During the years of Benazir's governments, she was constrained by a hostile establishment, an interventionist military leadership, a treacherous intelligence network, a fragile coalition and a president constantly threatening to dismiss Parliament. Despite all of this, she was able to introduce a free media, make Pakistan one of the 10 emerging capital markets in the world, build over 46,000 new schools, electrify many villages in our large country, and change the lives of women in Pakistan as well as draw attention to the cause of women's rights in the Islamic world.”

Growing Up in the Bhutto Era

Huma Yusuf, a Karachi-based journalist, wrote in the Boston Globe: “Until 1996, Benazir had seemed like a real-life Wonder Woman, having expanded the conditions of possibility for Pakistani women for over a decade since her entry into politics. While the boys at school emulated buff cricketers, my girl friends and I would drape white scarves across our heads and try to imitate Benazir's awkward accent when speaking in Urdu, a vestige of her privilege and power. And who could blame us? During her first term as prime minister, Benazir was a role model, the likes of which Pakistan will be hard-pressed to find again. In 1988, at the age of 35, she became the youngest person, and the first woman, to head a Muslim nation. [Source: Huma Yusuf, Boston Globe, December 28, 2007]

“Too young to understand the dynastic politics that spurred her career, I saw in Benazir a vision of femininity that had yet to materialize in the world around me. She was a sister who outshone her brothers by carrying forth her father's legacy; a daughter of privilege who knew the travails of solitary confinement; a woman who deigned to marry only after she was confident that her career would not stall; a young bride who kept her last name; a mother who did not let pregnancy get in the way of politics; a Harvard and Oxford graduate who could move with ease amongst the throng of truckers, farmers, and day laborers who attended Pakistan Peoples Party rallies.

“The fact that Benazir happily assumed the responsibility of inspiring millions of women still recovering from General Zia-ul Haq's rigid and repressive regime became apparent to me when she presided over my high school's annual athletics meet in 1990. All the young girls who had won races earned a wink, a warm hug, or had words of wisdom whispered in their ears. To this day, I regret not having run a wee bit faster.

“Over the years, though, I have found my enthusiasm for Benazir slowing down. Her charisma suffered, owing to well-circulated jokes about conjugal visits during her husband Asif Zardari's eight-year imprisonment. She disappointed Pakistani women when she failed to repeal the Draconian Hudood and Zina Ordinances that continue to curtail the rights of Pakistani women, especially those who have been raped. Her glamorous visage — well-cut shirts, stark-white scarves, a slick of red lipstick — had been supplanted by images of gore from Mir Murtaza's

Bhutto Ousted in 1990

On August 6, 1990, Bhutto’s arch rival and former coalition partner, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, dismissed the Benazir government, dissolved the National Assembly as well as the Sindh and North-West Frontier provincial assemblies, and appointed a caretaker government headed by Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, the leader of the Combined Opposition Parties in the National Assembly. Bhutto's government was charged with corruption and mismanagement. She was replaced by another rival Nawaz Sharif.

Ghulam Ishaq had used his powers as president to remove Bhutto from leadership then declared a state of emergency, dissolving the National Assembly. Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi was the leader of the opposition. A Punjab high court upheld the constitutionality of his actions. In election held on October 24, 1990, the Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), a multiparty coalition dominated by a partnership of the PML and the JI, won the most seats . Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, PML leader and former chief minister of Punjab, became prime minister on November 6 and the state of emergency was ended.

Bhutto's ouster was greeted with surprise in the West but not at home. Her gender was sometimes an issue. Conservative legislators, who were also Muslim clerics, said it was improper for a woman to head an Islamic state. Female journalists in leading new magazines gave "catty critiques" of Bhutto's clothing and sandals. But that wasn’t all, she often came off as haughty and inexperienced at the same time. Her “foreignness,” her privileged background and her ties to the ruling elite were often more of an issue than her gender.:

Bhutto was hurt by some things that were beyond her control. After the Soviets left Afghanistan, , foreign aid dried up and the economy tanked. The American cut aid payments by 80 percent. Bhutto’s administration was especially hit hard by rises in fuel prices and basic things like food and clothing. She was blamed for indecisiveness and not making any major policies to tackle Pakistan’s problems. She also managed to alienate many people, including members of her own party and family.

In accordance with the constitution, the president scheduled national and provincial elections for October 1990. Ishaq Khan said his actions were justified because of corruption, incompetence, and inaction; the release of convicted criminals under the guise of freeing political prisoners; a failure to maintain law and order in Sindh; and the use of official government machinery to promote partisan interests. A nationwide state of emergency was declared, citing both "external aggression and internal disturbance." Benazir called her dismissal "illegal, unconstitutional, and arbitrary" and implied that the military was responsible. She added that the PPP would not take to the streets to avoid giving Ghulam Ishaq Khan's regime's any pretext for not holding scheduled elections. The military proclaimed that its only interest was in maintaining order.

Bhutto's Husband's Imprisonment After Her Ouster

In 1990, after Bhutto's government was dissolved, her husband Zadari was arrested on charges of extortion and illegal bank loans. After spending two years in jail, he was eventually cleared of the charges. Benazir Bhutto told the New York Times: "Our bond grew much deeper as a consequence of his imprisonment, because he then shared what I had known and we became closer emotionally...It was a terrible time. Two officials came to tell me: 'Leave the country. If you leave , nothing will happen. But if you stay, your husband will be hanged and you will be disqualified [from holding office]." And I said, "I won't go!" [Source: Claudia Dreifus, New York Times, May 15, 1994]

"Later, some of them told her: "You don't have to go abroad now, but don't file [nomination petitions for the October 1990 election]. Your husband doesn't file and you mother doesn't file. If you do you husband will be hanged and you will be disqualified and imprisoned...

"Forty-eight hours after I filed, my husband was arrested. It was a harrowing time. A one stage a sympathetic police officer told me that Government would kill my husband and arrest me for the crime. So I addressed a press conference: "I have information that the Government of Sindh plans to bump off my husband and put the blame on me." And instead of denying it, the head of the government said, "Oh, yes, she wants to bump him off, but we're taking measures to keep him safe." After what happened to her father, she said, "I ‘knew’ they could do it...When Asif was released I was crying not only with relief that he had returned home. I was crying because I was thinking of my father who never came home." "

Bhutto's Second Term as Prime Minister

Bhutto became prime minister again in October 1993 after forming a coalition government after her party the PPP took 86 of the National Assembly's 217 seats. Her closest rival, Nawaz Shari’s PML party, won 72 seats. Others won 44. In the two weeks that followed the election, Benazir was successful in mustering the allegiance of a number of small regional and independent members of the assembly and on October 19, 1993, was able to reclaim power with 121 seats in her coalition government. The October elections were hailed as the fairest in Pakistan's history and were, according to international observers, held "without hindrance or intimidation." Voter turnout, however, was lower than usual, as only about 40 percent of registered voters participated. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

According to Countries of the World and Their Leaders: The PPP's control of the government depended upon the continued support of numerous independent parties, particularly the PML/J (Pakistan Muslim League-Junejo). The unfavorable circumstances surrounding PPP rule—the imperative of preserving a coalition government, the formidable opposition of Nawaz Sharif's PML/N (Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz) movement, and the insecure provincial administrations—presented significant difficulties for the government of Prime Minister Bhutto. However, the election of Prime Minister Bhutto's close associate, Farooq Leghari, as President in November 1993 gave her a stronger power base.” [Source: Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2009, Gale]

Benazir benefited in the 1993 national elections from the MQM's boycott. In the 1990 national elections, the MQM, which had captured fifteen seats, supported Nawaz Sharif's IJI coalition. Benazir also benefited by the poor showing of the religious parties. After only one month in office, Benazir was able to strengthen her position considerably. On November 13, 1993, Benazir's candidate for president, Farooq Leghari, an Oxfordeducated PPP stalwart, easily defeated acting President Wassim Sajjad, who was backed by Nawaz Sharif. In a vote by the two parliamentary chambers--the National Assembly and the Senate--and the four provincial assemblies, Leghari won 273 votes to Sajjad s 167. Bhutto hailed Leghari's election as a triumph for democracy and predicted that he would contribute to the country's stability. *

Although the new president retained the constitutional authority vested in the Eighth Amendment to dismiss the popularly elected National Assembly as well as the prime minister, he appeared willing to support Benazir in curbing the power of his office. Leghari promised not only to support a constitutional amendment to annul the extraordinary presidential powers granted by the Eighth Amendment but also to challenge restrictive laws that related to Islamic religious courts and to women's rights. In order to amend the constitution, however, a three-quarters majority in the parliament is needed--a formidable task, considering the strength of Benazir's opposition and the unproven staying power of her coalition. Leghari's victory, nonetheless, was expected to end the pattern of disruptive power struggles between prime minister and president that had so undermined previous governments. *

Bhutto's Second Term as Prime Minister

During her second term as prime minister, Bhutto tried to create a separate police force for women, impose a 10 percent quota for women in government jobs, enact legislation to prevent rape victims from being charged with adultery and provide more educational opportunities for girls. She didn't have much success.

During her second tern Bhutto mismanaged the economy and alienate people at home and lost credibility overseas. The outspoken democrat, had political opponents, including the former and next prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, arrested and thrown in prison. Protests mounted against her and sectarian violence that she was unable to stop flared up. When anarchy descended on Karachi after the elected government was ousted, she hired a helicopter pilot to run the city.

Early in her term, Benazir declared that she would end Pakistan's isolation and, in particular, that she would strive to improve her country's troubled relations with the United States. At the same time, however, she vowed to maintain Pakistan s nuclear program and not allow the "national interest to be sacrificed." Relations between the United States and Pakistan had deteriorated sharply during 1992 when the former threatened to classify the latter as a terrorist state because of its aid to militants fighting in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Although the United States withdrew its threat in mid-July 1993, the Kashmir issue still loomed large and threatened to complicate Pakistan's relations with both India and the United States. When Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto came to speak before the Senate in 1995, Senator Jesse Helms introduced her by saying, "The Foreign Relations Committee has the had the honor of welcoming the distinguished prime minister of India." [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

Benazir faced another, personal challenge. As her administration settled into office, a bitter Bhutto family feud played out on the front pages of the Pakistani press. The feud pitted Benazir against her younger brother Murtaza and her mother, Nusrat, over dynastic control of the PPP. Nusrat organized Murtaza's election campaign for the Sindh provincial assembly, in which her son contested (in absentia) more than twenty constituencies as an anti-Benazir candidate. Although he could only occupy one seat in the assembly, Murtaza contested multiple seats because if he had won more than one, his political stature would have risen. The electorate gave Murtaza only one victory, however, and as he returned to Pakistan from years in exile in Damascus, he was jailed by the government on long-standing terrorist charges. In retaliation for her mother s championing of Murtaza's political ambitions over her own, Benazir ousted Nusrat from her position as cochairperson of the PPP, further deepening the family rift. These family squabbles were a distraction for the new government.

Growth of the Taliban Under Benazir Bhutto

In 1994, former students of a Taliban-supported madrassah gained control of an important trade route that was subject to banditry. Grateful, Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto decided to support the Taliban rather than the mujahidin in the conflict in Afghanistan. Under the disastrous the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan, women were brutally it subjected and Al Qaeda was allowed to set up training camps within Afghanistan.

Tim Rutten wrote in the Los Angeles Times: Bhutto “was prime minister when fateful connections were made between Pakistan's powerful, shadowy Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) group and the militantly fundamentalist Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Islam and the Afghan Taliban. [Source: Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times, February 12, 2008]

William Dalrymple wrote in the New York Times: “It was under Ms. Bhutto’s watch that the Pakistani intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, first installed the Taliban in Afghanistan. It was also at that time that hundreds of young Islamic militants were recruited from the madrassas to do the agency’s dirty work in Indian Kashmir. It seems that, like some terrorist equivalent of Frankenstein’s monster, the extremists turned on both the person and the state that had helped bring them into being. [Source: William Dalrymple, New York Times January 4, 2008]

“While it is true that the recruitment of jihadists had started before she took office and that Ms. Bhutto was insufficiently strong — or competent — to have had full control over either the intelligence services or the Pakistani Army when she was in office, it is equally naïve to believe she had no influence over her country’s foreign policy toward its two most important neighbors, India and Afghanistan.

Growth of Kashmir Jihadis Under Benazir Bhutto

William Dalrymple wrote in the New York Times: “Bhutto’s tenure” was central to “the turning of Kashmir into a jihadist playground. In 1989, when the insurgency in the Indian portion of the disputed region first began, it was largely an amateur affair of young, secular-minded Kashmiri Muslims rising village by village and wielding homemade weapons — firearms fashioned from the steering shafts of rickshaws and so on. By the early ’90s, however, Pakistan was sending over the border thousands of well-trained, heavily armed and ideologically hardened jihadis. Some were the same sorts of exiled Arab radicals who were at the same time forming Al Qaeda in Peshawar, in northwestern Pakistan. [Source: William Dalrymple, New York Times January 4, 2008]

“By 1993, during Ms. Bhutto’s second term, the Arab and Afghan jihadis (and their Inter-Services Intelligence masters) had really begun to take over the uprising from the locals. It was at this stage that the secular leadership of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front began losing ground to hard-line Islamist outfits like Hizbul Mujahedeen. I asked Benazir Bhutto about her Kashmir policy and the potential dangers of the growing role of religious extremists in the conflict during an interview in 1994. “India tries to gloss over its policy of repression in Kashmir,” she replied. “India does have might, but has been unable to crush the people of Kashmir. We are not prepared to keep silent, and collude with repression.” Hamid Gul, who was the head of the intelligence agency during her first administration, was more forthcoming still. “The Kashmiri people have risen up,” he told me, “and it is the national purpose of Pakistan to help liberate them.” He continued, “If the jihadis go out and contain India, tying down their army on their own soil, for a legitimate cause, why should we not support them?”

Tim Rutten wrote in the Los Angeles Times: During her first term, she approved a plan by an ambitious general who ultimately would become president and her chief political rival, Pervez Musharraf, to unleash the fanatic Lashkar-e-Talib militia against the Indians in Kashmir. Over the years, Bhutto told various stories about her role in the decision to link Pakistani military and intelligence policies to militant Islam. As a Western-educated female leader, she was anathema to her military's new clients -- indeed, they would one day kill her -- but the degree of her enthusiasm for the connections at their inception remains unclear. She later would say that unscrupulous and fundamentalist elements in the Pakistani intelligence service allowed, even encouraged, the groups to slip beyond control for their own purposes. While it's true that it's always dangerous for a lady to mount a tiger, the precise record remains unclear. [Source: Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times, February 12, 2008]

Martin Edwin Andersen wrote: “In July 1990, I accompanied Alan Cranston, the California Democrat who at the time was the Senate majority whip, to India and Pakistan. He wanted to show bipartisan support for confidence-building measures offered by Robert M. Gates, the deputy national security adviser, to avert the possibility of a war between the de facto nuclear powers over common claims of territory in Indian-held Kashmir. Prime Minister Bhutto played a dangerous double game of inflaming popular passions over Kashmir while portraying herself to the world, and to us over lunch, as a voice of moderation. Peter Galbraith, a friend of Ms. Bhutto and a fellow staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, gamely tried to interpret one of Ms. Bhutto’s more inflammatory speeches urging direct action against India as merely a rhetorical flourish — something neither Senator Cranston nor I bought at the time.” [Source: Martin Edwin Andersen, Letter to the Editor, New York Times

Pakistani Military Under Benazir Bhutto

The Zia era ended as it had begun, with a Bhutto in power, for Benazir's party emerged with a narrow victory. Her position was much different from that of her father. She became prime minister under a constitution that left great power in the hands of the president, her parliamentary majority was narrow, and the army was strong, self-confident, and unwilling to renounce its political role. As the price of power, Benazir had to negotiate an arrangement with President Ishaq Khan and General Beg by which she reportedly promised to keep Zia's constitutional changes and to limit her involvement in military affairs, including management of the fighting in Afghanistan and nuclear weapons policy. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

Several times Benazir ineffectually challenged the armed forces and the president on military matters. She was never able to find a comfortable relationship with these other two major players of the triangle of political power in Pakistan. She showed interest in improving relations with India but had little scope to take concrete steps. She skillfully cultivated her good ties to Washington, but overall her performance as prime minister was disappointing, and when the president — with the obvious backing of the army — dismissed her in August 1990 and called for new elections, there was little opposition.*

On balance, the army preferred to avoid direct involvement unless the political order threatened to collapse completely. The crucial question for Pakistan's political future was in the shaping of the middle ground. Should the armed forces simply be recognized as having a voice in Pakistan's politics, or should their role be formally institutionalized? Zia's attempts to do the latter through creation of a National Security Council had been successfully resisted by Junejo, but the question remained central to Pakistan's security as well as to its politics.*

Deterioration of Relations with the U.S. e in the 1990s

The external relations of the military deteriorated sharply in the post-Zia period because of the collapse of Pakistan's relationship with the United States. President George Bush determined in October 1990 that he could no longer certify that Pakistan did not possess nuclear weapons and, as required by the Pressler Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, terminated all United States assistance to Pakistan that was not already in the pipeline. Pakistan handled the cutoff with little public rancor and committed itself to freezing the nuclear program in an attempt to placate the United States. Washington permitted such commercial purchases as spare parts for aircraft and the continued joint naval and special forces exercises, but such key items as fighter aircraft on order were kept in abeyance. Further, the United States moved to reclaim nine ships that were on loan — about half of Pakistan's surface fleet. [Source: Peter Blood, Library of Congress, 1994 *]

In late 1993, the administration of President William J. Clinton, citing what it considered to be asymmetrical treatment accorded to Pakistan and India over their respective nuclear programs, proposed revising the Pressler Amendment and certain "country-specific" sections of the Foreign Assistance Act. The administration argued that by the time nuclear nonproliferation provisions had been added to the Foreign Assistance Act, India had already acquired the capability to build nuclear weapons and thus Pakistan had borne the brunt of most United States sanctions. In early 1994, the administration withdrew its proposal to revise the amendment because of strong criticism from a number of influential members of Congress, including Senator Pressler himself. In March the administration was reported as "floating" a proposal for releasing to Pakistan up to twenty- eight F-16 fighter aircraft — already paid for and part of a long- standing commercial order but undeliverable because of the Pressler Amendment. The proposal, which was certain to be challenged in the United States Congress, was to be part of a broader initiative to get India and Pakistan to halt their production of weapons-grade nuclear material and to discourage them from deploying surface-to-surface ballistic missiles.*

The impact on Pakistan's military readiness by the United States decision to halt assistance has been described by observers as near catastrophic, but even more important than the money and equipment involved was the strategic signal sent by the aid cutoff. As long as Pakistan was in the front line of opposition to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the United States found ways of continuing its aid despite Pakistan's nuclear program. Once the Soviet forces left Afghanistan and the Soviet Union itself ceased to exist, Pakistan's importance dwindled. Whatever limited successes Pakistan may have had in salvaging parts of the relationship with the United States, it was clear that the end of the Cold War marked the end of Pakistan's strategic role.*

The loss of United States support came at a difficult time. Unrest in Indian Kashmir had developed rapidly after 1989, and Pakistan inevitably supplied moral and covert matériel support, thus raising the specter of a new conflict with India. There were serious concerns in early 1990 that a war might break out. At United States prompting, both sides took effective steps to reduce the danger. Neither country wanted a conflict, but Pakistan remained in a quandary because it could not ignore events in Kashmir although it did not have substantial international support for its position. The United States and China made clear their unwillingness to provide political or matériel support to Pakistan, thus increasing still further the latter's sense of isolation.*

The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan removed a potential threat to Pakistan, and the substantial retreat of Russia from the security affairs of the subcontinent offset somewhat the withdrawal of the United States. For the first time since 1947, Pakistan was not concerned about a two-front threat. Further, the emergence of five independent Muslim republics in Central Asia raised hopes that they might become allies and offer Pakistan both the political support and the strategic depth it lacked. As long as Afghanistan was in chaos, Pakistan would lack direct access to the new republics. However, it was still far from certain in the early 1990s whether or not the republics would find Pakistan an interesting political partner.*

Approaching the next century, Pakistan faces yet another reconfiguration of the forces that determine its security environment. As Russia, China, and the United States stand back from South Asia, there are fewer constraints on India. Yet other sweeping changes are under way in the international environment. Pakistan remains engaged in its search for outside help to ensure its security. The end of the Cold War was only changed the terms of the problem.*

Mir Muratza Bhutto, Benazir's Brother

Mir Ghulam Muratza Bhutto, Benazir's brother, suddenly returned to Pakistan from exile, shortly after Benazir was reelected in 1993. He was arrested on arrival and placed in jail on charges of sedition and terrorism in connection with the plane hijacking in 1981 and a 1992 attack on Pakistani naval officials. He pleaded not guilty to both charges, neither of which carry a death sentence. He was released on bail after spending seven months in prison.

After Bhutto came to her brother's house after his release from jail, Murtaza's wife Ghinwa said, "We thought she had come to meet her brother. But she started collecting everything from the house. We were horrified. And then she asked Mir to cut the carpets on half so that she could take them away."

Muratza Bhutto set off a family feud by organizing his own party — the Pakistan People's Party-Shahid) — which fielded 24 candidates in races for seats held by Benazir's Pakistan People's Party. Running as an independent, Muratza only ended up winning one seat, for the Provincial Legislature of the Sindh, the Bhutto's home territory.

Benazir Bhutto told Dreifus, she told her brother, "Don't do this. Fight for just one seat. "I'll leave a seat open for you. We won't contest it. And if you run uncontested, it won't put mother in the position of having to campaign against her own party. But, he was not prepared to listen. My brother's “never” listened to me on anything I told him...he still thinks of me as ‘a sister.’ He doesn't think of me as a political leader who stayed behind and waged a political battle and triumphed."

Clash Between Benazir Bhutto and Her Mother

Muratza Bhutto was supported by his mother, Begum Nusrat Bhutto, the wife of Zulfikar and the matriarch of the Bhutto clan. She said that her son was the true heir of the Bhutto dynasty. She also called him a "freedom fighter." Nusrat Bhutto said: "She tells a lot of lies, this daughter of mine." She also accused her government of being "ruthless" and "worse than the days of the dictator."

Molly Moore of the Washington Post wrote: "Within weeks of taking office, Benazir Bhutto engineered her 63-year-old mother's ouster as co-chair of the...PPP. She had held the position since her husband was toppled and imprisoned in 1977. "I kept the party alive since the day my husband was executed," she said."I love my mother dearly," Benazir Bhutto told Dreifus. "I was always an obedient daughter and I always craved my mother's love...But in my family it was always a joke that my mother had a soft spot for my brother. We all knew he was her favorite, that she spoiled him."

"Perhaps my mother found it difficult to accept that when the time came for a decision between political responsibility and obedience as a daughter, I chose political responsibility. She's basically angry with me because she was removed as chairperson of the party. She blames me for it. But that was a party decision endorsed by a party convention of several hundred people...I'm trying to reconstruct my relationship with her." [Source: Claudia Dreifus, New York Times Magazine, May 15, 1994]

On January 5, 1994, government police opened fire on demonstrators at a rally organized by Nustat Bhutto to mark what would have been the 66th birthday of her husband. Three people died and 20 were wounded, After saying that the feud between her and her mother "deeply pained" her, Benazir Bhutto said, "I do feel she says it to damage me and pave the way for the son that she feels should be, in her own words, the heir." She told Henry Kamm of the New York Times, "I hoped the day would never come when I would have to battle male prejudice in my own family. It was a cruel stab to my heart when my mother declared that the male should inherit."

Mir Muratza Bhutto's Death

On September 20, 1996, Muratza was gunned down at a police roadblock set up 100 meters from his home on the Arabian Sea after he returned from political rally. A 25 minute shootout occurred after Murattza' motorcade, included three cars filled with armed guards, was asked to stop. Muratza was hit with six bullets and seven of his bodyguards and companions were killed; two police received minor injuries.

After seeing her brother's bullet ridded body, Benazir reportedly wept for 45 minutes. After Muratza's murder, Bhutto sent two women to fetch her mother out of the family mansion while she waited in a car. "These two women went directly upstairs, dressed her and took her away," Ghinwa said. "My mother-in-law kept telling them that she still wanted to stay in the house, but they didn't listen."

Shortly after the murder, Benazir's husband Zardari was arrested on imprisoned on charges of organizing the murder of Muratza. Prosecutors sought the death penalty.

Bhutto’s Husband Zardari: Mr. 30 Percent

During he second term, Bhutto had made her husband Zardari her investments minister and used him as her intermediary between businessmen and investors, which critics said was like a putting drug addict in charge of a pharmacy or "Al Capone in charge of the national bank." Zardari reportedly brought in some old school friend and examined state programs for opportunities to make money. Known first as "Mr. 10 Percent" and later as "Mr. 30 Percent," he was accused of assisting his friends rob the national treasury, according to Newsweek, "on a scale unrivaled almost anywhere in the world."

Zardari helped set up a kickback scheme with a Dubai-based gold dealer, granting him a monopoly on the sale of gold into Pakistan. The Bhuttos set up a company in the British Virgin Islands that received money through a Citibank account. The gold trader shipped around US$500 million worth of gold to Pakistan over three year and deposited at least US$40 million in the Citibank account.

In 1995, Zardari and a partner were promised a US$200 million commission for a US$4 billion deal with the French military contractor Dassault Aviation for US$4 billion worth of jet fighters. The deal never went through because Bhutto was ousted.

Some analysts believe Zardari swindled the country out of billions of dollars. Zardari owned several Mercedes-Benzes, a stable full of racehorses and properties scattered all over the world. In Surrey, England he purchased a 355-acre country estate for US$4 million and spent US$1.5 million for improvements such as an indoor swimming pool, 15-acre garden, a helicopter landing pad and a replica of a local pub. He also had stables built for his polo ponies and hired a couple to turn it a "stud farm."

When journalist raised question about the sale Zardari replied, "How can anyone think of buying a mansion in England when people in Pakistan don't even have a roof over their heads." During an eight month shopping spree in 1994 and 1995, Zardari used his American Express card to buy US$660,000 worth of jewelry—including US$246,000 spent at Cartier and Bulgari in Beverly Hills.

Arrest of Bhutto's Husband from Murder and Corruption

In 1996, Zardari, was arrested on corruption charges in connection with and taking bribes in the sale of a steel factory and issuing of shares for natural gas reserves, and then placing the money into foreign bank accounts and property holdings in Europe.

Zardari was convicted of corruption and drug-smuggling charges. He was found guilty of receiving kickbacks and, based on testimony that in September 1995, he received bribes of US$520,000 over a contact involving Pakistan Steel Mills and a private corporation, Zardari was sentenced to seven years in prison with hard labor for corruption and abuse of power in 2002.

Zardari was in prison from 1996 to 2004. In May 1999, he was hospitalized after he fell unconscious from profuse bleeding from his mouth. Zardari claimed the police were trying to kill hom. Authorities said Zardari had tried to kill himself by slicing his tongue.

In November 2004, Zardari was freed on bail from eight years in jail on charges of corruption, murder and drug smuggling. In December 2004, Zardari was ordered released from house, arrest, a day after he was arrested for failing to attend a court hearing in a murder case against him.

Bhutto's Ouster

On November 5, 1996, Bhutto's government was dismissed on charges of corruption, ruining the economy, undermining the judiciary, and sanctioning police hit squads. In some cities festive crowds gathered in the street and fired off guns to celebrate her ouster. The Karachi stock market leaped over 5 percent. Bhutto's political position was too weak to mount a comeback. After Bhutto's ouster in 1996, she said she told her children, "if people tell you your mother is not prime minister anymore, you just turn around and say, 'So what? My mummy's been prime minister twice. How many times has your mummy been prime minister."

According to the “Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations”: “During late 1992 and early 1993, the president and the new prime minister moved toward a new confrontation over the exercise of their respective powers. Challenged by Nawaz Sharif on the president's choice of a new army chief, Ghulam Ishaq again used his eighth amendment powers to dismiss the government and dissolve the assembly on 18 April, alleging mismanagement and corruption. But public reaction to the president's actions was strong, and on 26 May, a supreme court ruling restored Nawaz Sharif to power, creating a period of constitutional gridlock until 18 July when the army chief brokered a deal in which both Ghulam Ishaq and Nawaz Sharif left office. Sharif resigned and was replaced by Ishaq Khan as interim prime minister by Moeen Qureshi, a former World Bank vice president; the president was then replaced by Wasim Sajjad, chairman of the senate. [Source: “Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations”, Thomson Gale, 2007]

“Under Qureshi, Pakistan entered a period of fast-paced nonpartisan rule and reform in which widespread corruption was exposed, corrupt officials dismissed, and political reforms undertaken. In his actions, Qureshi was strengthened by public support and his disavowal of interest in remaining in power. He held elections as promised on 19 October, and the PPP, leading a coalition called the People's Democratic Alliance (PDA), was returned to power, with Benazir Bhutto again prime minister. On 13 November, with her support, longtime PPP stalwart Farooq Leghari was elected president. Three years later in 1996, Leghari dismissed Bhutto and her cabinet and dissolved the National Assembly. Bhutto challenged her dismissal and the dissolution of the National Assembly in the Supreme Court. In a 6–1 ruling, the Court upheld the president's actions and found her ousted government corrupt.”

Benazir Bhutto Corruption

At a Harvard commencement speech in 1989, Bhutto condemned "avaricious politicians" who loot national treasures and rob countries of their means to tackle social problems. In September, 1997, investigators announced that they believed the Bhuttos had stashed away more than US$1 billion away in nine countries and said they had proof in the form of a money trail from Pakistan to Switzerland. "Our finds show that Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari ransacked each and very sector of the government," one investigator said.

Investigators found the Bhutto received kickbacks from rice deals and government land sales and even skimmed government welfare programs. In May 1998, courts froze US$300 million in assets, belonging to Bhutto and her husband and two dozen associates, including 20 bank accounts and five sugar mills.

In April 1999, Bhutto and her husband were found guilty by a Lahore High Court of accepting US$9 million kickbacks from a Swiss company, Societe Generale de Surveillance, which was paid millions to curb customs fraud by checking shipments coming and going from Pakistan. Bhutto said, "This is nothing but the murder of justice by a kangaroo court." The man who sentenced her was the son of the man who condemned her father to death. Bhutto and Zardari were given five-year prison sentences, fined a total of US$8.6 million, and disqualified from Parliament for seven years. Bhutto was sentenced in absentia. She never did any jail time.

In April 2001, Pakistan's Supreme Court overturned the corruption conviction and ordered a retrial on the ground that Lahore judged had been politically pressured. Defying a ban on political rallies, around 2000 Bhutto supported held a rally in Karachi. In June 2001, Bhutto was sentenced to three years in jail for not appearing on court for the trial on corruption charges. In August 2003, Bhutto was given a six-month suspended sentence by a Swiss court for laundering millions of dollars,

While Zardari had been in prison since 1996, Bhutto raised her three children in comfortable exile in Britain and Dubai. In the early 2000s, she visited India and met with Indian Pakistan Vajpayee. If she returned to Pakistan she faced arrest on corruption charges. Bhutto’s party continued to operate and held seats in parliament with Bhutto still viewed as its leader. In 2002, Bhutto announced her intentions of running in the October elections and campaigned in Britain but was prevented from running in Pakistan by new laws prohibiting candidates convicted in absentia on corruptioncharges from running. Gen. Pervez Musharraf had been in power since 1999. Bhutto’s rival and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif put his support behind Bhutto. Pakistanis responded to her call for the restoration of democracy but were not excited about Bhutto herself.

In November 2004, Zardari was released after eight years in prison after a Supreme Court set bail for other cases involving corruption. In December 2004, Zardari was rearrested in connection with the killing of a judge and his son in 1996. In April 2005, he returned from an overseas trip

In February 2005, Bhutto announced that she and Sharif would try to make a political comeback join forced to bring back democracy to Pakistan.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (, Official Gateway to the Government of Pakistan (, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Wikipedia and various books, websites and other publications.

Last updated February 2022

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