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Shaheed Benazir Bhutto's Achievements as the Prime Minister of Pakistan

The following achievements, which were unprecedented at the time and were made in the face of extreme internal and external challenges difficulties, truly helped in mapping out a strong and vibrant future for Pakistan. These are also an indication of the sufferings of the people of Pakistan at the time and how Shaheed Benazir Bhutto made historic and comprehensive policy measures and initiatives to set the country and the people on the path of development and a brighter future.

-- International Serat Conference

-- Ulema Conventions in all provinces

-- Re-organisation of Council of Islamic Ideology

-- Appointment of a renowned Islamic scholar, Maulana Siraj Din Pun as Advisor to the Prime Minister on religious affairs

-- Initiation of Haj flights from Lahore

-- Establishment of a Nuclear Power Plant under a bilateral agreement with China

-- Agreements with Russia for more steel mills in Pakistan

-- Re-admission of Pakistan to the Common Wealth nations

-- Organisation of SAARC conference in Pakistan

-- Reestablishment of bilateral relations with India. Historic Non-Nuclear Aggression Agreement between the two countries under which the two neighbours could neither attack nor assist other countries in attacking each other's nuclear facilities signed in 1988

-- Successful negotiations with IMF for easier lending terms

-- Withdrawal of Russian army and peace initiatives in Afghanistan

-- Several awards by international bodies for restoration of democracy in Pakistan

-- Moral support to all ongoing world-wide movements for the rights of suppressed nations

-- Campaigning for and successfully acquiring joint support from Islamic countries for the Kashmir cause

-- Improved Pakistan's image and standing internationally

-- Self-reliance in defence technologies

-- Induction of two US-made frigates in Pakistan Navy

-- Initiated airplane manufacturing within Pakistan

-- Re-enforced the defence of Siachen, paid a personal visit to Siachen Glacier

-- Zarb-e-Momin army exercises initiated during her tenure as the PM

-- Lifted all black laws against press freedom in Pakistan

-- Ended the Newsprint Quota System which was a tool for blackmail and suppression the media by previous governments

-- Did away with all Black Lists for TV and Radio journalists allowing journalists and writers of all ideologies and thoughts equal access to TV and Radio. Opposition was allowed a voice and access to the national media for the first time in Pakistan

-- National Press Trust was given to the private sector after securing the rights of the journalists associated with it, thereby ending Government control on the print media.

-- Lifted the abusive prerequisite of an NOC for journalists intending to visit foreign countries

-- Re-instated TV and Radio employees fired for political motives by earlier governments

-- Adopted the policy of Press Freedom and allocated government advertisements to all newspapers regardless of their political leanings

-- Inauguration of new TV channels under the Peoples Network programme

-- Established the new Ministry for Anti-Narcotics

-- Eradication of poppy plantation in the country

-- Established country-wide clinics for the recovery of drug addicts

-- Closing down of 12 heroine labs

-- Unprecedented decrease in narcotics smuggling

-- Discovery of 10 new oil fields within one year

-- 22% increase in oil and gas production

-- Gas supply to millions of consumers nation-wide

-- Encouraged 3 mega industrial projects including a Petrochemical project at a cost of Rs 3.88 Billion at the time. Toyota Corolla plant was established with an investment of Rs 580 Million for an annual production of 10,000 vehicles including 6000 Hilux vehicles and 2000 Jeeps

-- Decrease in non-developmental expenditure

-- Historic rise in the Karachi Stock Exchange

-- 22% increase in foreign aid for restoration of democracy

-- Lifting of ban on gold imports to discourage corruption

-- Decrease in inflation rate in prices from 9% annually to 5%

-- Eased rules and regulations for investment and doing business in Pakistan. Balanced the import-export policy and facilitated industries and exporters in every possible way

-- Establishment of the Investment Board with PM as its Chairperson

-- Tangible development in the telecom sector of Pakistan despite meager resources with 64400 new telephone exchange lines, 99391 telephone connections and linking 14 additional cities via telephone. These were huge and unprecedented achievements at the time

-- Introduction of Direct Dialing System between various cities of Pakistan

-- Electrification of more than 4000 villages in a single year for the first time in Pakistan's history, brightening the lives of millions and removing the darkness of centuries

-- Connected 5,90,000 households all over the country with electricity within a single year

-- Electricity providing departments were made legally bound to provide new connections within 30 days in cities and 45 days in rural areas to end the massive prevailing corruption in the sector at the time

-- Any person applying for an electricity connection could get one in 35 days or less. These were unprecedented public friendly measures at the time

-- Computerisation of electricity supply and billing system for more transparency and end of corruption

-- Encouragement of the private sector in the power sector

-- Drastic decrease in power theft through various measures

-- Comprehensive flood control measures in far-flung areas to prevent recurring damages to crops and farmers properties

-- Comprehensive and far-sighted schemes for land desalination

-- Strategy for complete end of load-shedding within 3 years

-- Construction of Micro-channel for connecting Karachi with Peshawar. Over 4200 employment opportunities for labor and mid-level professionals.

-- Opening of 445 Postal Offices countrywide

-- Expansion of Port Qasim at Karachi

-- Karachi Steel Mills was made profitable for the first time in 1989 thanks to better management and policies

-- Reopening of Balochistan Textile Mills which was closed down in 1983 to secure the employment of 5000 workers

-- Heavy Mechanical Complex made profitable from a loss-making entity

-- Reinitiation of Suzuki Motorcycles in the country which was a major source of conveyance in small cities, towns and urban areas

-- Distribution of free bicycles under the People's Programme

-- Distribution of free sewing machines among widows/needy women to enable them to earn their own livelihood

-- Construction of modern roads in every city and town of the country

-- Construction and renovation of many mosques under the People's Programme

-- Monthly stipends for widows and orphans

-- Establishment of a separate Ministry for Youth Affairs for the first time in the country to address issues and offer opportunities to the youth of Pakistan

-- Establishment of 60,000 new literacy centers

-- Employment opportunities for Pakistanis in overseas markets

-- Induction of 50,000 youth as school teachers to help in promotion of education and provide employment to unemployed educated youth

-- Youth Loan scheme made easy and effective

-- Establishment of Federal Youth Council

-- Comprehensive planning for youth development

-- Establishment of a Women's Ministry for the first for gender development and to address women specific issues

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015