rinalia (rinalia) wrote,

Sad. :(

Benazir Bhutto followed in her father's footsteps in life and in death, first as a political leader and promoter of democracy and, ultimately, as the victim of the enemies within her own country.

Bhutto was killed Dec. 27 in an apparent suicide bomb attack just minutes after addressing a rally of thousands of her supporters. She had been campaigning ahead of elections that she hoped would restore her to power.

Her life ended in the kind of violence that had dominated much of her life.

Bhutto's father was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the son of a wealthy land-owning family in southern Pakistan who went on to found the Pakistan Peoples Party, the party she would later lead herself.


The elder Bhutto served as president of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973 and as prime minister from 1973 to 1977 before being accused of corruption and ousted following a military coup.

He was tried and convicted of conspiring to murder the father of an opposition politician and sentenced to death. Despite clemency appeals from foreign leaders, Bhutto was hanged in April 1979.

A year later, Benazir's youngest brother, Shahnawaz, died under mysterious circumstances in France. The family insisted he had been poisoned, but no charges were ever laid.

During this time, Benazir had been completing her education, attending Radcliffe College in the U.S., and then Harvard University. Bhutto returned to Pakistan when her father was executed, recalling later: "I told him on my oath in his death cell, I would carry on his work.''

She was detained several times before being exiled to England in 1984, where she completed a course in International Law and Diplomacy at Oxford University.

Two years later, she returned again to Pakistan to lead rallies for the restoration of civilian rule

In 1987, her family arranged her marriage to Karachi businessman Asif Ali Zardari. "I haven't given myself away," she said at the time. "I belong to myself and I always shall."

The couple would have three children -- Bilawal, Bakhtwar, and Aseefa -- even while Bhutto continued her political work. Shortly after giving birth to her first child in 1988, she led her party to victory and became the first woman to lead a modern Muslim country.

Her reign did not last long, as she clashed with Pakistan's powerful military. She was removed from office 20 months into her tenure, under orders of then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan on grounds of alleged corruption.

In 1993, Bhutto was re-elected. But she was again removed in 1996, this time by then-president Farooq Leghari, after her brother Murtaza died in a gun battle with police in Karachi and Bhutto's husband was charged with his murder.

He spent eight years in prison on those accusations and others involving corrupt dealings allegedly amounting to millions of dollars. The convictions against him were eventually overturned.

Bhutto sought to return to power later in 1996, but lost to archrival Nawaz Sharif. She left Pakistan in 1999, just before a court convicted her of corruption and banned her from politics.

During her years outside Pakistan, Bhutto lived with her children in Dubai, where she was joined by her husband after he was freed in 2004. During her time in exile, she delivered lectures at Western universities and think-tanks and met with government leaders.

When President Pervez Musharraf signed an amnesty earlier this year, quashing any corruption charges against Bhutto and others, the former prime minister began making plans to return to Pakistan. Rather than trying to force Musharraf out, she was hoping to work with the army chief for a peaceful transition to civilian rule.

She arrived home in October 2007, only to face an almost immediate attempt on her life at a rally in Karachi. At least 50 of the security guards from her Pakistan Peoples Party who had formed a human chain around her truck were killed in what was later determined to be a suicide bomb attack.

"We have to modify our campaign to some extent because of the suicide bombings,'' Bhutto said following the attack."(But) we will continue to meet the public. We will not be deterred.''

After Musharraf imposed a state of emergency in early November, Bhutto angrily protested and called for the president to quit the army and hold free elections. Though Musharraf agreed, Bhutto continued to warn that his supporters would likely attempt to rig the elections.

Husain Haqqani, a former Bhutto adviser, says Bhutto was well aware of the dangers she faced in her final months but remained undeterred.

"Ms. Bhutto quite clearly was prepared for the worst, always. She had a very philosophical attitude towards life but she thought this was her obligation and duty," he told CTV Newsnet shortly after Bhutto was killed.

"I have interacted with her at the personal and human level. As a human being, she was a courageous and brave human being. At the same time, she was aware that she had threats."

Terrorism expert Eric Margolis, who worked with Bhutto as a security adviser and grew to become friends with her, says he will remember Bhutto as a woman of strength.

"She was a remarkable woman," he told Newsnet. I have met many world leaders in my time. She was very intelligent, she was very strong inside, with great self-possession, great reservoirs of inner strength.

"She went through some hellish times," he added. "Yet she went through all of this -- she was determined to get revenge on the persecutors of her family. That was a primary mission in her life."




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