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Remembering the Iron Lady of Pakistan

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Today marks a decade since Benazir Bhutto was assassinated at an election campaign rally in Rawalpindi. Rather than talking about the untimely demise of the daughter of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) founder and prime minister Zulfikhar Ali Bhutto, we want to shed light on her life, career and accomplishments.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1928 -1979)

The late Ali Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan and father of Benazir Bhutto. (© Bettmann/CORBIS)

The eldest child of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir completed her higher education from Harvard and Oxford University. At Harvard, she graduated with a B.A degree in comparative government and at Oxford she studied International Law and Diplomacy. Till date, Bhutto has been the only female prime minister of Pakistan. She served two terms, the first from 1988-1990 and the second from 1993-1996. Raised in a prominent political family, Bhutto was no stranger to political ideas and policies.

While she was eloquent and charismatic, due to her political shrewdness and ceaseless courage Bhutto was popularly known as the Iron Lady of Pakistan.

Bhutto’s political career didn’t lack for scandal and surely had it’s ills, but she remains responsible for opening the door of politics to the women of Pakistan. Her personal life was marred by one tragedy after another starting with the execution of her father and the murder of her two brothers. In the end, Bhutto met the same tragic demise. However, she left behind an undeniable yet controversial legacy for the PPP and Pakistan.

One of the greatest lessons a person can learn from Bhutto’s life is that of perseverance in the face of adversity. Bhutto was put under house-arrest, jailed multiple times, exiled, and ousted as Prime Minister. But being the woman that she was, she refused to back down and fought for what she believed in, regardless of public opinion and criticism. She was not a perfect human being nor a perfect leader, but her fearlessness and determination are still an inspiration to many.

Here are a few memorable pictures from the lifetime of the Iron Lady of Pakistan:

Nusrat Bhutto with her three children

Source unknown. No copyright infringement intended.

A childhood picture of Benazir Bhutto

Source: Bhutto Legacy Foundation

Source: Bhutto Legacy Foundation

Picture of a young Benazir Bhutto at Oxford

Source: The Daily Mail

Source: The Daily Mail

Benazir Bhutto alongside her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Indira Gandhi

Source: Academy of Achievement

Source: Academy of Achievement

Benazir making the victory sign for her supporters

Source: Twitter

Source: Twitter

Benazir Bhutto at her family home in Larkana

Source: Photo by Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket via Getty Images

Source: Photo by Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket via Getty Images

Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari on their wedding day

Source: Corbis

Source: Corbis

Benazir Bhutto with Margaret Thatcher

Source: Twitter

Source: Twitter

Benazir Bhutto taking oath as prime minister of Pakistan

Source: Twitter

Source: Twitter

Benazir Bhutto addressing a rally of 80,000 supporters in 1986

Source: Reuters

Source: Reuters

Benazir Bhutto with Hilary and Chelsea Clinton in Islamabad

Source: Pakistan Affairs

Source: Pakistan Affairs

Benazir Bhutto with a young Bilawal Bhutto

Source: Bhutto Legacy Foundation

Source: Bhutto Legacy Foundation

Benazir Bhutto is presented with the Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Dr. David Herbert Donald at the 2000 Achievement Summit in London

Source: Academy of Achievements

Source: Academy of Achievements

Benazir Bhutto receives Women’s Tolerance Award in 2005

Source: AP

Source: AP

Benazir Bhutto returns to Pakistan in 2007

Source: AFP

Source: AFP

Aftermath of bomb blast attack on Benazir Bhutto on 27 December, 2007 in Rawalpindi

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Source: AP Photo/David Guttenfelder

Source: AP Photo/David Guttenfelder

Benazir Bhutto’s funeral

Source: CNN Politics

Source: CNN Politics

Benazir Bhutto’s personal and political legacy is full of contradictions and complexities that will continue to be examined by historians, grasping politicians, her supporters and critics. Yet she has a special place in the heart of every girl and woman in Pakistan who was ever told that being a woman stopped her from reaching for the stars. This was probably her greatest legacy.

 

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