By applying her knowledge of the power of people, she influenced everyone around the world, especially women, to never give up, and to realize the freedom, rights and voice in the society that they deserve, by guarding her political father’s legacy, being the first woman leader of Pakistan in modern times, and overturning a military dictatorship. It all started with Benazir attending colleges in America and the U. K. After she left her homeland, Karachi, Pakistan, at sixteen, she continued her education at Radcliffe College of Harvard and Oxford University.
She was elected president of Oxford Union in December 1976, making her the first Asian woman to head a debating society (“Benazir Bhutto, Encyclopedia of World Biography”). Attending these schools outside of her homeland made her realize the power of the people, which she never knew existed. In America, she experienced people criticizing their own president, which was really surprising to her, because in Pakistan, people couldn’t criticize their own president or they’d be thrown in prison right away.
This made Benazir determined to go back home and give her people the freedom and choices that they deserve; the individual dignity she saw American people have (“Benazir Bhutto, BBC World Service”). After her father’s execution in 1979 and her return to Pakistan, Benazir was encouraged by friends, family, and the citizens of Pakistan to take on her father’s legacy and lead his party, the PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) (“Bhutto, Benazir, Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, v. 3. 0”). During her years of office as prime minister, Pakistan was ruled under a cruel military dictatorship.
She worked to restore democracy and basic human rights and mainly focused on giving power to her people as she placed importance on social issues, health, and discrimination against women (“Bhutto, Benazir, UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography”). She wanted to be remembered for overturning a military dictatorship and foreshadowing a world of democracy in Pakistan for bringing in changes which couldn’t be reversed, but above all, Benazir wanted to be remembered for what she did for women.
She always tried her best to allow women to succeed. Benazir aimed to set up organizations run by women, including police stations, courts, development banks, etc (“Benazir Bhutto: Pregnancy and Politics, BBC World Service”). The military dictatorship was strongly against women campaigning while pregnant, but it wasn’t illegal. Despite their opinions, while Benazir was pregnant with her first child, she stood in elections with the PPP. Regardless of her pregnancy, she campaigned for fifteen hours a day.
Later that year in November, the PPP won, which disproved the government’s notion on pregnant women campaigning; and it was a tremendous moment of vindication for her when she was sworn in as Prime Minister (“Benazir Bhutto, BBC World Service”). However, being a woman leader brought her many troubles. She received numerous amounts of discrimination from the military government. Benazir and her husband were accused of corruption many times, causing them to go into exile in Dubai and London whenever she was temporarily removed from office. But, being the strong leader she was, she never gave up.
Benazir used her time wisely during exiles and house arrest and gained many supporters as she presented the case against the military dictatorship, but, unfortunately, the military government kept denying taking back the corruption charges against her and her husband (“Benazir Bhutto is Assassinated, December 27, 2007”). During her years in and out of office, she held strong political opposition against the military dictatorship, never giving up hope for bringing democracy to her country (“Benazir Bhutto, The 100 Most Influential World Leaders of All Time”).
When Benazir returned from one of her exiles, she was planning on participating in the following year’s elections with her PPP, but the military government created a new law which prohibited leaders to serve a third term, so her group had to split. Still, Benazir did not give up; she reformed her group into a brand new leadership, which was completely apart from the military government’s rule unlike the PPP, called the PPPP (Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians).
Due to this, they were able to stand in the 2002 elections and ended up earning many votes (“Benazir Bhutto, Encyclopedia Britannica”). After many years of elections, exiles, corruption charges, discriminations, etc. , she was finally granted forgiveness from the government. Along with this, she still had her strong supporters, which kept increasing over time (“Benazir Bhutto is Assassinated, December 27, 2007”). She was then assassinated while campaigning for an upcoming election on December 27, 2007, which brought down Pakistan’s people (“Benazir Bhutto killed in attack”).
Benazir Bhutto was a very strong leader who truly became an inspiration to many people around the world. She showed that anything is possible, as long as you try and put all of your effort into whatever your goal is, and of course, to never give up. She influenced people that they have to experience bad things to reach their goal. Overturning the military government, continuing her father’s legacy, and fighting for women were a few of the many great contributions she made to her country.