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Bhutto, Benazir (1953–)

Subject History

Place Southern Asia » Pakistan

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


Prime Minister of Pakistan (1988–90, 1993–6). The daughter of Zulfikar Ali bhutto , she was educated at Harvard and Oxford universities. After her father's execution she was under house arrest (1979–84) before she went into exile (1984–6) in England. She returned to Pakistan when President ZIA UL-HAQ lifted martial law and was rapturously welcomed on her four-week tour of the country. After Zia's death in a plane crash the military allowed elections to take place in November 1988. The Pakistan People's Party (PPP), founded by her father and now led by Benazir, won the largest number of seats in the National Assembly, so she became Prime Minister of a coalition government at the age of 35, the first woman to hold such a post in an Islamic country. She freed political prisoners, restored civil rights and rejoined the commonwealth in 1989 but she faced formidable problems. There was a vast budget deficit, violent conflict between ethnic groups in Sind and the destabilization of the Northwest Frontier Province in the wake of the afghan civil war , during which three million refugees had flocked into Pakistan. Taxation and inflation increased as the army was called in to restore order in Sind and her government was accused of corruption. Her husband Asif Zardari was known as Mr Ten Per Cent, as he had to approve all big industrial contracts and import-export transactions. In 1990 ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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