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The Similarities Between Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Prime Minister Imran Khan

The Similarities Between Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Prime Minister Imran Khan

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June 21, 1953 is the birthday of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, the first Prime Minister of any Muslim state.

Trained under her Charismatic father Z.A Bhutto, she was on her own after the execution of her father in 1979. She followed the mission of her father and continued the fight for democracy.

They both set a high benchmark for politics, with her articulate and well-versed speeches.

In a conservative Muslim country like Pakistan, she was the first woman to rise to such a high office in a country that only a few years earlier had passed a law to reduce the status of a woman’s testimony in court to half that of a man. Millions were inspired by her not just in Pakistan but around the globe. Her will, political intellect and her personality refused to cringe before her opponents. She still continues to stimulate, galvanize and inspire the women in all parts of the world. This all sounds a bit too familiar.

Benazir and Imran Khan both came into power with the help of a huge mêlée.

The former struggled against a military dictator, while the latter stood against the Corrupt Democratic regime. May be there is no affinity between the toils of both leaders but there are many similarities between the present Government of Imran Khan and the first term of Benazir Bhutto as Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Both faced economic crises when they came into power

Back in 1980, Benazir Bhutto faced the akin challenges of economy, corruption, parliamentary affairs and legislation. The capricious monetary and fiscal policies of the military regime landed the economy on the verge of bankruptcy and imposed severe constraints on the Benazir Government’s ability to institute any substantial reform. The budgetary deficit reached alarming amount during Zia’s era. In order to conduit the gap, military Government in the past simply resorted to heavy internal and external borrowing. The situation is very similar to the one in which Imran Khan got this economy. Similar to the present Government it was very difficult for the Benazir to materialize her economic bodes. To save the country from bankruptcy she had to go to the IMF programme.

Imran Khan’s present regime just like Benazir’s first term fell short of an absolute majority. Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) became her ally. She was obligated to compromise on appointments, ministerial portfolios and bureaucratic shuffles. There were many Usman Buzdars in 23-member cabinet chosen by Benazir Bhutto. She had to work with V.A Jaffery and Shahabzada Yaqub Khan just as Imran Khan have to work with Hafeez Sheikh, Omar Ayub and many other ministers.

People had similar expectations from Benazir Bhutto in 1980’s that they do from Imran

She came up with the progressive version of Pakistan and promised basic facilities such as roti, kapra and makan. Imran khan came up with the comparable version of Riasat-e-Medina State and Ehsas Programme. During Benazir’s era, Russia was in Afghanistan and planning to withdraw its troops and now US forces are in Afghanistan and US is planning to withdrew. Benazir wanted very cordial relations with India just like Imran Khan. Both Oxford grads faced the uniform situation.

After few months in office, Khan is facing the invariable situation and he is realizing the harsh realities that are very much similar to Benazir. He won the election but cannot appoint his own men in cabinet (A case of appointing Usman Buzdar as a Chief Minister of Pakistan), due to various glitches, a situation that is very difficult for the one, who is famous for selecting his own team during his cricketing days. Khan’s performance regarding his promises is still sporadic but for him, things are going in right direction and maybe he will be successful in completing his five year term. Sadly Benazir Bhutto never had the same prospects.

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