Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Self-Exile in London Stay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder.. Sun, 14 Feb 2016 05:55:13 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Benazir in exile benazir-bhutto-pensiveIn January 1984, giving in to international pressure, General Ziaul Haq allowed the Bhutto family, after six years of house arrests and imprisonment, to travel abroad for medical reasons.

After surgery, Benazir Bhutto resumed her political activities and began to raise concerns about the mistreatment of political prisoners in Pakistan at the behest of the Zia regime. The intensified pressure forced General Zia into holding a referendum to give a legitimacy to his government.

The referendum held on 1 December 1984 proved to be a farce: only 10% of voters bothered to turn out.

In 1985, Benazir Bhutto received the sad news of Shahnawaz Bhutto who was poisoned in a local hotel at Nice, France.

Further pressure from the international community forced General Zia to hold elections, for a unicameral legislature on a non-party basis.

Benazir Bhutto announced a boycott of the election on the grounds that they were not being held in accordance with the constitution of Pakistan.

She continued to raise her voice against human rights violations by the regime and addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 1985.

In retaliation to the speech, Zia announced death sentences for 54 workers of her party at a military court in Lahore headed by Zia himself.



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The Zia regime benazir-bhutto-wallpaperZulfiqar Ali Bhutto's children and his wife Nusrat Bhutto found the military dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq very difficult. Benazir Bhutto and her younger brother Murtaza spent eighteen months in and out of house arrest as she struggled to rally political support to force General Zia-ul-Haq to drop murder charges against her father.

On behalf of Bhutto's former Law minister Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, the Bhutto family filed a petition at the Chief Martial Law Administrator Office for the reconsideration of the sentence of Zulfiqar Bhutto, and for the release of Bhutto's friend Dr. Mubashir Hassan.

However, General Zia-ul-Haq claimed to have misplaced the petition, and further ignored worldwide appeals for clemency and had Zulfiqar Bhutto hanged in April 1979 despite appeals of clemency worldwide.

Following the hanging of Bhutto, Benazir and Murtaza were arrested repeatedly. However, following PPP's victory in the local elections, General Zia postponed the national elections indefinitely and moved Benazir, Murtaza, and their mother Nusrat Bhutto from Karachi to Larkana Central Jail.

This was the seventh time Nusrat Bhutto and her children had been arrested within two years of the military coup.

After repeatedly placing them under house arrest, the regime finally imprisoned Benazir under solitary confinement in a desert cell in Sindh during the summer of 1981. She described the conditions in her wall-less cage in her book "Daughter of Destiny", which goes by the title of "Daughter of the East" in Commonwealth countries for copyright reasons:

The summer heat turned my cell into an oven. My skin split and peeled, coming off my hands in sheets. Boils erupted on my face. My hair, which had always been thick, began to come out by the handful. Insects crept into the cell like invading armies. Grasshoppers, mosquitoes, stinging flies, bees and bugs came up through the cracks in the floor and through the open bars from the courtyard. Big black ants, cockroaches, seething clumps of little red ants and spiders. I tried pulling the sheet over my head at night to hide from their bites, pushing it back when it got too hot to breathe.

-Benazir Bhutto, summer of 1981

After her six month imprisonment in Sukkur jail, she remained hospitalized for months after which she was shifted to Karachi Central Jail, where she remained imprisoned until 11 December 1981.

She was then placed under house arrest in Larkana and Karachi for eleven and fourteen months, respectively.

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1988 Parliamentary elections benazir-bhutto-thinkingBenazir Bhutto, who had returned to Pakistan after completing her studies, found herself placed under house arrest in the wake of her father's imprisonment and subsequent execution. Having been allowed to return to the UK in 1984, she became a leader in exile of the People's Party of Pakistan (PPP). For the first time in the history of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was the first woman to head a major political party though she was unable to make her political presence felt in Pakistan until after the death of General Zia-ul-Haq. She had succeeded her mother as leader of the PPP and the pro-democracy opposition to the General Zia-ul-Haq regime.

The seat, from which Benazir contested for the safe constituency for the post of Prime Minister in 1980s, namely, NA 207. This seat was considered a Bhutto Clan's post and first contested in 1926 by the late Sardar Wahid Bux Bhutto, in the first ever elections in Sindh, British Indian Empire. The elections were for the Central Legislative Assembly of India. Sardar Wahid Bux won, and became not only the first elected representative from Sindh to a democratically elected parliament, but also the youngest member of the Central Legislative Assembly, aged 27. Wahid Bux's achievement was monumental as it was he who was the first Bhutto elected to a government, from a seat that would, thereafter, always be contested by his family members.

Therefore, it was he who provided the breakthrough and a start to this cycle. Sardar Wahid Bux went on to be elected to the Bombay Council as well. After Wahid Bux's untimely and mysterious death at the age of 33, his younger brother Nawab Nabi Bux Bhutto contested from the same seat and remained undefeated until retirement. It was Nabi Bux who then gave this seat to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to contest in 1970. On 16 November 1988, in the first open political elections in more than a decade were held, and Benazir Bhutto securing the victory in major provinces of Pakistan and had the largest percentile for the seats in the National Assembly - a lower house of Parliament.

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Rocky road to power benazir-bhutto-dupattaBenazir Bhutto took the mantle of power from her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, getting elected twice as Prime Minister of Pakistan. She inherited her bearing and physical presence from her mother Nusrat Bhutto. Her family and close friends knew her as "Pinky."

As a Muslim woman leader, Bhutto was almost an iconic figure in the West. She became the first woman prime minister of an Islamic state.

However, her career was a cycle of exile, house arrest, ascent to power and dismissal. Jailed and then exiled after her father's fall, Bhutto returned to campaign in 1986 after Zia's military government gave in to international pressure to slowly restore democracy.

In a scene reminiscent of her second coming in October 2007, she was greeted in April 1986 by hundreds of thousands of supporters, who enveloped her motorcade and staged a daylong demonstration that was the largest display in memory of discontent with Zia's government.

Zia's death in a plane crash in August 1988 helped to further loosen the military strictures around the country, and Bhutto became Prime Minister by December of that year. As a ruler, Bhutto got few favorable reviews in Pakistan. Her government passed no legislation except a budget during its first 14 months in power. Much of its energy was squandered feuding with the opposition.

Among the first acts of Bhutto's party after coming to power was a campaign to bribe and threaten legislators in Punjab. The goal was to overthrow Bhutto's opposition, Mian Nawaz Sharif, Punjab's chief minister, a close associate of Zia's.

Worse yet, her Cabinet stank with corruption scandals, including allegations against her husband Asif Ali Zardari and her father-in-law Hakim Ali Zardari, who was chairman of the parliamentary public-accounts committee. With so much fscandal, Bhutto's first government lasted only until August 1990, dismissed by the country's President for "horse-trading for personal gain." Soon after, in November 1990, Nawaz Sharif, campaigning on an anti-corruption platform, became Prime Minister.

Bhutto returned to power in 1993, after Sharif was felled by his own corruption scandal. But despite her claims, she did not have a working majority in parliament and had to wobble through her next few years in office as head of a fractious coalition, beholden to contentious blocs of power.

At the same time, Pakistan owed huge amounts to the International Monetary Fund as part of servicing its enormous $28.6 billion in foreign debts. Bhutto had raised taxes, which raised the level of discontent in the country. But even so, her government did not collect enough revenue. In an effort to appease the IMF, Bhutto gave up the finance portfolio she had held since retaking the government. "The debt servicing is breaking our backs — debt that I didn't incur," she told TIME. "But as Prime Minister, I have to pay it back." Rumors soon spread that her government would be dismissed. "Rubbish," she said. But that is exactly what happened. Soon, Nawaz Sharif was Prime Minister again.

Nawaz Sharif himself would be overthrown in a coup by General Pervez Musharraf in 1999. Musharraf became an ally of the U.S. after September 11, 2001, when he became the guarantor of Pakistan against the tide of Islamic radicalism.

The popularity of Musharraf collapsed while the world looked at the future of Pakistan. In exile once again and with corruption charges against her, Benazir struck a deal with Musharraf, who was under pressure to restore democracy. Washington welcomed the process and she returned to retake what she always believed was hers.

Thousands showed up to welcome her and more than 100 died when the parade was attacked by unknown bombers. The last quarter of 2007 was filled with political maneuverings between herself, Musharraf and Nawaz Sharif, who had also returned from exile.

After one more stint under house arrest while Musharraf imposed a brief emergency rule, she seemed set for another triumph at the polls. But in the end, the violent cycle of Pakistani politics claimed another victim. She was killed on December 27, 2007 by an unkown assailant.

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