First Female Prime Minister of Pakistan
Hijri 1371–1427 (AH); Common Era 1953–2007 (CE)
Benazir Bhutto was the first female leader of a Muslim country in modern history. She was the Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and from 1993 to 1996. Born to a politically influential and wealthy family, she was educated at Harvard and Oxford University. Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was Prime Minister before being ousted by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and hanged in 1979. In subsequent years, Benazir was imprisoned multiple times on charges of conspiring against the government. She then moved to Britain, organizing a movement against the military government from exile. In 1986, anti-Zia protests spread across the country, and she was allowed back into Pakistan. She was elected co-chairwoman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), along with her mother. In 1988 she was elected Prime Minister. In 1990, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed Benazir from office, citing corruption. In 1993, she was re-elected as Prime Minister, after which she focused on rural development and education. Three years later, in 1996, she was dismissed on corruption and mismanagement charges by then President Leghari. Soon after that, she went into exile while her husband served a prison sentence on corruption charges. In 2007 she returned to Pakistan after she reached an understanding with President Pervez Musharraf. She was the leading opposition candidate in the Pakistani general election of 2008 when she was assassinated outside the city of Rawalpindi in December 2007.