In , however, General Zia was killed in an air crash, the causes of which are still shrouded in mystery. The way was clear for Benazir to return home and to begin claiming her destiny. The year before, at the age of 34, she had entered into an arranged marriage with Asif Ali Zardari, the son of a prominent Pakistani business family.
The match surprised both her Western friends, who never thought Benazir would agree to an arranged marriage, and even her own family, who had virtually given up on the idea of her marrying at all. Benazir was introduced to Zardari by relatives in London and was charmed by his easy-going manner. By the time the date for the Pakistani election — the first democratic poll for more than a decade — was set, she was expecting her first child.
I interviewed her at that time at 70 Clifton, the sprawling Bhutto family compound in Karachi, and clearly remember her entrance — not least because she had the sort of presence that made itself felt long before it was seen. Though she had never dressed immodestly when living in the West, Benazir in Pakistan had adopted the traditional garb of pyjama-like shalwar kameez, with a matching pale blue silk dupatta, or scarf, draped over her hair.
She spoke softly and looked beautiful but weary.
The house was teeming with political aides and allies, all wanting their moment with her. Though her pregnancy was obviously quite advanced, she would not say when her baby was due. But that is exactly what she did. On December 2, , year-old Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as the youngest-ever prime minister in modern times of a Muslim state. Only 20 months later, in August , she was sacked amid accusations of corruption for which she was never put on trial.
She lost the next election to Nawaz Sharif, a Zia supporter, but served as leader of the opposition until the election swept her back to power. But once again it all fell apart amid corruption charges against her and her husband. This time there was lots of evidence. In , Benazir again went into exile, this time setting up home in Dubai but venturing forth to give lectures in Western capitals. It was during this period that I met her again, in London this time. This was a different woman from the mother-to-be in Karachi; the older Benazir was haughty and arrogant and treated everyone like a lackey.
After his release from prison in , Zardari joined his wife in exile, where they remained until President Pervez Musharraf granted her an amnesty, enabling her to return to Pakistan. This she did, on October 18 this year, only to escape an assassination attempt when her campaign bus was hit by a suicide bomber. She was unhurt but others were killed.
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During the following month Benazir was again under house arrest after Musharraf declared a state of emergency to counter a collapse of order in the country. But she was also holding secret talks with the military regime. To some this seemed to be a betrayal but others saw it as the way to re-establish democracy in Pakistan. This operation backfired and had devastating effects on Pakistan's economy. President Khan saw this as a major economic failure despite Khan's permission granted to Benazir Bhutto for the approval of her economic policies.
Khan blamed Benazir for this extensive economic slowdown and her policy that failed to stop the illegal immigration. Khan attributed Benazir Bhutto's government members corruption in government-owned industries as the major sink hole in Pakistan's economy that failed to compete with neighbouring India's economy. During her second term, Benazir Bhutto continued to follow former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's privatisation policies, which she called a "disciplined macroeconomics policy". After , the country's national economy again entered in the second period of the stagflation and more roughly began bite the country's financial resources and the financial capital.
Bhutto's second government found it extremely difficult to counter the second era of stagflation with Pressler amendment and the US financial and military embargo tightened its position. After a year of study, Benazir Bhutto implemented and enforced the Eighth Plan to overcome the stagflation by creating a dependable and effective mechanism for accelerating economic and social progress. But, according to American ambassador to Pakistan, William Milam's bibliography, " Bangladesh and Pakistan:Flirting with Failure in South Asia ", the Eighth Plan which reflected the Soviet styled highly centralized and planned economic system was doomed to meet with failure from the very beginning of , as the policies were weak and incoherent.
On many occasions, Benazir Bhutto resisted to privatise the globally competitive and billion dollar worth state-owned enterprises such as Pakistan Railway and Pakistan Steel Mills , instead the grip of nationalisation in those state-owned enterprises was tightened in order to secure the capital investment of these industries. The process of privatisation of the nationalised industries was associated with the marked performance and improvement, especially the terms of labour productivity.
A number of privatization of industries such as gas, water supply and sanitation, and electricity general, were natural monopolies for which the privatization involved little competition. Interestingly, the currency gained in the process of privatization was avoided not spent on people's living standard, and it was in , when the Auditor-General and Institute of Public Finance Accountants founded that the amount gained in privatization had gone somewhere else and it was no where to be found in government's account. Furthermore, Benazir denied that privatisation of the Pakistan Railways would take place despite the calls made in Pakistan, and was said to have told to Chairman of the Planning Commission Naveed Qamar, "Railways privatization will be the "blackhole" of this government.
Please never mention the railways to me again". Benazir Bhutto always resisted to privatised the UBL, but UBL management sent the recommendation for the privatisation which dismayed the labour union.
The holding of UBL in government control turned out to be a move that ended in "disaster" for Benazir Bhutto's government. Benazir Bhutto's foreign policy was controversial. As for her second term, Benazir Bhutto expanded Pakistan's relations with the rest of the world. As before like her father, Benazir Bhutto sought to strengthen the relations with socialist states, and Benazir Bhutto's first visit to Libya strengthened the relations between the two countries.
Benazir also thanked Muammar al-Gaddafi for his tremendous efforts and support for her father during before Zulfikar's trial in Ties continued with Libya but deteriorated after Nawaz Sharif became prime minister in and again in In Pakistan, Gaddafi was said to be very fond of Benazir Bhutto and was a family friend of Bhutto family, but disliked Nawaz Sharif due to his ties with General Zia in the s. Benazir Bhutto is said to have paid a state visit to North Korea in early and in , and according to journalist Shyam Bhatia, Bhutto smuggled CDs containing uranium enrichment data to North Korea on a state visit that same year in return for data on missile technology.
According to the expert, Benazir Bhutto acted as female " James Bond ", and left with a bag of computer disks to pass on to her military to North Korea. Major-General Pervez Musharraf closely worked with Benazir Bhutto and her government in formulating the foreign strategy with Israel. A final meeting took place in , and General Musharraf had also joined this meeting with Benazir Bhutto after she ordered General Musharraf to fly to New York immediately. Benazir Bhutto also strengthened relations with communist state Vietnam and visited Vietnam to sign the mutual trade and international political cooperation between both countries.
President Bill Clinton. During the visit, Benazir Bhutto urged the United States to amend the Pressler Amendment and emphasized United States to launch a campaign against the extremism. Though, the Prime Minister criticized U. She was successful in getting the United States to pass the Brown Amendment which released Pakistani government funds which had been frozen after the Pressler Amendment, However the arms exports ban remained.
During her second term, the relationship with P. Narasimha Rao of India further deteriorated. As like her father, Benazir Bhutto used the rhetoric opposition to India, campaigning international community against the Indian nuclear programme. On 1 May , Benazir Bhutto used harsh language and publicly warned India for her "continuation of [Indian] nuclear programme would have terrible consequences". India responded to this statement as interfering in India's " internal matter ", and the Indian Army fired a RPG near at the Kahuta which further escalating the events leading into the full-fledged war.
When the news reached to Benazir Bhutto, she responded by high-alerting the Air Force Strategic Command which, heavily armed Arrows , Griffins , Black Panthers and the Black Spiders all of these squadrons are part of the Strategic Command began to take the air sorties and patrol the Indo-Pakistan border on day and night regular missions.
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Following this test, Benazir responded by deploying Shaheen-I missile, however these missiles were not armed. It was a highly controversial agreement, but it had tripled the Pakistan's naval capabilities that later posed a substantial threat to Indian Navy to launch a naval adventure against Pakistan. Narasimha Rao, Indian Premier had given an authorisation for nuclear tests, and the tests could be conducted any minute.
Benazir responded by putting the country's nuclear arsenal programme on high-alert emergency preparations were made by the government, and Benazir Bhutto ordered the Pakistan Armed Forces to stay on high-alert. However, after the United States interfered, the Indian operations for conducting the nuclear tests were called off and the Japanese tried to provide mediation between both countries.
However, in , Benazir Bhutto met with the Japanese officials where she warned India about conducting the nuclear tests, and in the first time, Benazir Bhutto revealed that Pakistan has achieved "parity" with India in its "capacity" to produce nuclear weapons and their "delivery capability. Benazir Bhutto's statements represent a departure from Pakistan's previous policy of "nuclear ambivalence. Soon after learning this news, Prime minister Benazir Bhutto issued a statement concerning the tests in which she reportedly told the international press and condemned Indian nuclear tests, as she put it:.
Benazir Bhutto also intensified her policy on Indian-held Kashmir by rallying against India. Benazir Bhutto, accompanied by her then- Speaker of the National Assembly Yousaf Raza Gillani future prime minister at the Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting at the United Nations, gave a vehement and intensified criticism to India which upset and angered the Indian delegation headed by prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Vajpayee responded by saying: It is Pakistan which is flouting the United Nations resolution by not withdrawing its forces from Kashmir You people create problems every time. You know the Kashmiri people themselves acceded to India.
First, the Maharajah, then the Kashmiri parliament both decided to go with India".
In , Benazir Bhutto attacked the Indian nuclear programme and warned India of "tragic consequences". Bhutto criticised Indian held-Kashmir and described it as the worst example of Indian intransigence. Benazir also countered Indian allegation for Pakistan's putative nuclear test as "baseless allegation". Bhutto criticised India as a bid to hide its plan to explode a nuclear device, and failure to cover up its domestic problems including its failure in suppressing the freedom struggle in Kashmir.
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Chief of Army Staff General Mirza Aslam Beg had cold relations with the elected prime minister, and continued to undermine her authority. In , shortly after assuming the office, Benazir Bhutto paid a visit to Siachen region, to boost the moral of the soldiers who fought the Siachen war with India. This was the first visit of any civilian leader to any military war-zone area since the country's independence in General Beg soon paid the price in elections, when Benazir Bhutto politically destroyed the former general and his career was over before taking any shifts in politics.
During her first term, Benazir Bhutto had successfully removed senior military officers including Lieutenant-Generals Hamid Gul, Zahid Ali Akbar, General Jamal Ahmad Khan, and Admiral Tarik Kamal Khan, all of whom had anti-democratic views and were closely aligned to General Zia-ul-Haq, replacing them with officers who were educated in Western military institutes and academies, generally the ones with more westernised democratic views.
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General Abdul Waheed was an uptight, strict, and a professional officer with a views of Westernized democracy. Benazir Bhutto enjoyed a strong relations with the Pakistan Armed Forces, and President who was hand-picked by her did not questioned her authority.
She hand-picked officers and promoted them based on their pro-democracy views while the puppet President gave constitutional authorisation for their promotion. Unlike Nawaz Sharif's second democratic term, Benazir worked with the military on many issues where the military disagreement, solving many problems relating directly to civil-military relations. Her tough and hardline policies on Afghanistan, Kashmir and India, which the military had backed Benazir Bhutto staunchly.
After the assassination was attempted, Benazir Bhutto's civilian security team headed under Rehman Malik now current interior minister , was disbanded by the Pakistan Army whose X-Corps' th Psychological Brigade— an army brigade tasked with countering the psychological warfare— took control of the security of Benazir Bhutto, that directly reported to Chief of Army Staff and the Prime Minister. After few arrests and intensive manhunt search, the ISI finally captured Ramzi before he could flew the country.