Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was a Pakistani politician who served as the 11th and 13th prime minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and from 1993 to 1996. She was the first woman to head a democratic government in a Muslim country.
Also read: Public vandalism and criminal prosecution
During her tenures, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto made many significant achievements despite facing extreme internal and external challenges. Some of these accomplishments include convening Ulema Conventions in all provinces, establishing a nuclear power plant with China, agreeing to steel mills in Pakistan with Russia, readmitting Pakistan into the Commonwealth nations, organising the SAARC conference in Pakistan, re-establishing bilateral relations with India and signing the Non-Nuclear Aggression Agreement in 1988, peacefully withdrawing the Russian army and promoting peace initiatives in Afghanistan, restoring democracy in Pakistan, campaigning for and gaining support from Islamic countries for the Kashmir cause, strengthening defence through self-reliance in defence technologies, initiating an airplane manufacturing industry within Pakistan, becoming the first prime minister to visit the Siachen Glacier, initiating the Zarb-e-Momin army exercises, lifting all black laws against press freedom in Pakistan, transferring the National Press Trust to the private sector and ending government control on the print media, rehiring TV and radio employees fired for political reasons by previous governments, providing monthly stipends for widows and orphans, creating employment opportunities for Pakistanis in overseas markets, establishing the Federal Youth Council and a separate Ministry for Youth Affairs, establishing the Ministry for Anti-Narcotics and country-wide clinics for drug addiction recovery, decreasing narcotics smuggling, constructing modern roads in every city and town, increasing oil and gas production by 22%, providing gas to millions of consumers nationwide, encouraging three mega industrial projects including a Petrochemical project and a Toyota Corolla plant, experiencing a historic rise in the Karachi Stock Exchange, lifting the ban on gold imports, decreasing the inflation rate from 9% to 5%, distributing free bicycles under the People’s Programme, significantly advancing the telecom sector with the addition of 64400 new telephone exchange lines, 99391 telephone connections, and linking 14 additional cities by telephone, reopening the Balochistan Textile Mills, supplying electricity to over 4000 villages in a single year for the first time, streamlining the process for obtaining an electricity connection in 35 days or less, encouraging the private sector in the power sector, establishing 60,000 new literacy centres, implementing flood control measures in far areas to protect crops and farmers’ properties, establishing a Women’s Ministry for gender development and addressing women’s specific issues, developing schemes for land desalination, creating a strategy for ending load-shedding within three years, opening 445 postal offices nationwide, expanding the Port Qasim at Karachi, making the Karachi Steel Mills profitable for the first time in 1989, and turning the Heavy Mechanical Complex from a loss-making entity into a profitable one.
Bhutto’s contributions in such a short period have been recorded in history and she is remembered as a leader who fought for the poor. Her legacy serves as an example for rulers to not compromise on their principles.