By Abdul Khaliq Qureshi
ABBOTTABAD: Benazir Bhutto (BB) was a democratic socialist who served Pakistanis as prime minister for two terms from 1988 to 1990 and 1993 to 1996, said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Provincial Assembly Member Dr Faiza Rashid on Tuesday while talking to media persons on the occasion of BB’s 4th death anniversary.
PPP women wing leader Dr Rashid said BB led Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) found by her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
She said in 1982 at the age 29 BB became PPP chairwoman making her the first woman in Pakistan to head a major political party. In 1988, she became first elected woman prime minister of a Muslim state, said Dr Rashid, adding, her charismatic personality political astuteness drove Pakistan’s economy and national security on sound path.
She said BB implemented social capitalist policies for industrial development and growth of Pakistan. Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasised deregulation of financial sector, flexible labour markets, the denationalization of state-owned corporations and the withdrawal of subsidies, said Dr Rashid, adding, but conservative President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed her government accusing her government of corruption.
She said in 1993 BB was re-elected as prime minister for the second time after the parliamentary elections. She survived an attempted coup d’Ã©tat in 1995 due to her hard-line against the trade unions and tough opposition to political rivals, said Dr Rashid. Paying tribute to their leader, she said BB earned the nickname “Iron Lady” from neighboring India, but in 1996 President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari again dismissed her government on the charges of corruption. Benazir Bhutto conceded her defeat in the 1997 Parliamentary elections and went into self-imposed exile in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 1998.
Dr Rashid said after nine years exile BB returned Pakistan on October 18, 2007 for restoration of democratic process in the country but she was assassinated in a bombing attack on December 27, 2007 when she was leaving after addressing a PPP public meeting in Rawalpindi two weeks before the general elections scheduled for 2008.
Paying rich tributes to BB, PPP MPA from KP and member of party’s provincial women wing Naeema Nisar said it was their bad luck that she was martyred at Liaquat Bagh ground due to her hard struggle for restoration of democratic setup ruined by military dictator Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf due to his unconstitutional steps during his regime.
Source: DAILY TIMES