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December 2nd 1988: Benazir Bhutto sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan

On this day in 1988, Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state. Bhutto was a democratic socialist and the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan. In 1982, aged 29, Bhutto became the chairwoman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) - a democratic socialist, centre-left party, making her the first woman in Pakistan to head a major political party. In 1988, she became the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state.

She was noted for her charismatic authority and political astuteness. As Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto drove initiatives for Pakistan’s economy and national security, and she implemented social capitalist policies for industrial development and growth. Her hard line against the trade unions and tough rhetoric opposition to her domestic political rivals and to neighboring India earned her the nickname “Iron Lady”. Her government was dismissed twice on claims of corruption, first in 1990 and then again in 1996. 

After nine years of self-exile, she returned to Pakistan on 18th October 2007, after having reached an understanding with Military President General Pervez Musharraf, by which she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn. Bhutto became the leading opposition candidate in the 2008 general election, but, on 27th December 2007, she was assassinated.

2 years ago
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