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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.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011