Benazir Bhutto (21 June 1953 – 27 December 2007) was a Pakistani politician, the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, twice elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan, first in 1988 and again 1993. She was the eldest child of former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and was assassinated in December of 2007 while campaigning for the Pakistan Peoples Party which her father had founded.
- Democracy needs support and the best support for democracy comes from other democracies. Democratic nations should... come together in an association designed to help each other and promote what is a universal value — democracy.
- Speech at Harvard University (1989), as quoted in "Born leader who lived and died by her unfailing conviction" in The Scotsman (28 December 2007)
- You are creating a Frankenstein. - Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, concerned about the growing strength of the Islamist movement, told President George H. W. Bush.
- To make peace, one must be an uncompromising leader. To make peace, one must also embody compromise.
Throughout the ages, leadership and courage have often been synonymous. Ultimately, leadership requires action: daring to take steps that are necessary but unpopular, challenging the status quo in order to reach a brighter future.
And to push for peace is ultimately personal sacrifice, for leadership is not easy. It is born of a passion, and it is a commitment. Leadership is a commitment to an idea, to a dream, and to a vision of what can be. And my dream is for my land and my people to cease fighting and allow our children to reach their full potential regardless of sex, status, or belief.
- Leadership is to do what is right by educating and inspiring an electorate, empathizing with the moods, needs, wants, and aspirations of humanity.
Making peace is about bringing the teeming conflicts of society to a minimal point of consensus. It is about painting a new vision on the canvas of a nation's political history. Ultimately, leadership is about the strength of one's convictions, the ability to endure the punches, and the energy to promote an idea.
And I have found that those who do achieve peace never acquiesce to obstacles, especially those constructed of bigotry, intolerance, and inflexible tradition.
- "Reflections on Working Towards Peace" in Architects of Peace: Visions of Hope in Words and Images (2000) edited by Michael Collopy
- It is one thing being able to contest an election and to give the people hope that I can be the next prime minister. It is a totally different situation where the people of Pakistan are told that the results are already taken and the leader of your choice is banned.
- I find that whenever I am in power, or my father was in power, somehow good things happen. The economy picks up, we have good rains, water comes, people have crops. I think the reason this happens is that we want to give love and we receive love.
- As quoted in "I never asked for power" in The Guardian (15 August 2002)
- Whatever my aims and agendas were, I never asked for power. I think they need me. I don't think it's addictive. I think, if anything, it's the opposite of addictive. You want to run away from it, but it doesn't let you go. It's doing it again.
- As quoted in "I never asked for power" in The Guardian (15 August 2002)
- I fully understand the men behind Al Qaeda. They have tried to assassinate me twice before. The Pakistan Peoples Party and I represent everything they fear the most — moderation, democracy, equality for women, information, and technology. We represent the future of a modern Pakistan, a future that has no place in it for ignorance, intolerance, and terrorism.
The forces of moderation and democracy must, and will, prevail against extremism and dictatorship. I will not be intimidated. I will step out on the tarmac in Karachi not to complete a journey, but to begin one. Despite threats of death, I will not acquiesce to tyranny, but rather lead the fight against it.
- If they only showed this much spunk when it came to containing the terrorists I don't think we would have such a problem.
- On being prevented from participating in a march for democracy and being placed under house arrest. TIME video interview (13 November 2007).
- I put my life in danger and came here because I feel this country is in danger. People are worried. We will bring the country out of this crisis.
- At the rally in Rawalpindi after which she was assassinated. (27 December 2007)
- No, I am not pregnant. I am fat. And, as the Prime Minister, its my right to be fat if I want to.
- When asked by a journalist if she was pregnant again, as quoted in "Benazir, the steely and vulnerable" by Lyse Doucet in BBC News (29 December 2007)
- Democracy is the best revenge.
- As quoted by her son, in "Democracy is the best revenge: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari," in Times of India (30 December 2007)
Daughter of the East : an autobiography
- Looting. Rape. Kidnappings. Murder. Where no one had cared about Pakistan when I arrived at Harvard, now everyone did. And the condemnation of my country was universal. At first, I refused to believe the accounts in the Western press of atrocities being committed by our army in what the East Bengal rebels were now calling Bangladesh. According to the government-controlled Pakistani papers my parents sent me every week, the brief rebellion had been quelled. What were these charges then that Dacca had been burned to the ground and firing squads sent into the university to execute students, teachers, poets, novelists, doctors and lawyers? I shook my head in disbelief. Refugees were reportedly fleeing by the thousands, so many of them strafed and killed by Pakistani planes that their bodies were being used to erect road blocks.
- The stories were so extreme I didn't know what to think. The lecture we'd been given about the dangers of rape during freshman orientation week at Radcliffe had initially seemed as unbelievable. I had never even heard of rape until I came to America and the very possibility of it kept me from going out alone at night for the next four years. After the lecture, the possibility of rape at Harvard was real to me. The rape of East Bengal was not. I found security in the official jingoistic line in our part of the world that the reports in the Western press were 'exaggerated' and a 'Zionist plot' against an Islamic state.
- How many times since have I asked God to forgive me for my ignorance? I didn't see then that the democratic mandate for Pakistan had been grossly violated.
- I was also too young and naive at Harvard to understand that the Pakistani army was capable of committing the same atrocities as any army let loose in a civilian population. The psychology can be deadly as it was when US forces massacred innocent civilians in Mylai in 1968.
Destiny’s daughter (2007)
- Interview with Ginny Dougary, "Destiny’s daughter" in The Times [UK] (28 April 2007)
- It’s premature to talk about working alongside General Musharraf at this stage, although in the past we have worked jointly on certain issues such as the Women’s Bill.
At the same time, I want you to know that we are also partners with Mr Nawaz Sharif in something called the charter for the restoration of democracy, so we are talking about a new democratic process in which the people of Pakistan are allowed to choose their leader and put together a coalition. And for that we are calling for a robust international monitoring team to ensure that these elections are fair and free because obviously if they’re not, the ruling party will still be in the driver’s seat and the creeping Talebanisation of Pakistan will continue.
- If the people vote for my party and parliament elects me as prime minister, it would be an honour for me to take up that role and General Musharraf would be there as president, so I think that a good working relationship between him and me would be a necessity for Pakistan. … I would have the choice of either respecting the will of the people and making it a success or being short-sighted and putting my personal feelings about past events ahead of the national interest, and what I want more than anything is for Pakistan to prosper as we make a transition to democracy
- My party would not have allowed the Taleban to become such a huge force that they would need to sign a peace treaty.
- My father always would say, "My daughter will go into politics? My daughter will become prime minister", but it’s not what I wanted to do. I would say, "No, Papa, I will never go into politics." As I’ve said before, this is not the life I chose; it chose me … But I accepted the responsibility and I’ve never wavered in my commitment.
- I don’t fear death. I remember my last meeting with my father when he told me, "You know, tonight when I will be killed, my mother and my father will be waiting for me." It makes me weepy … but I don’t think it can happen unless God wants it to happen because so many people have tried to kill me.
- I really do think that there is at least some degree of causality that most major terrorist attacks took place when the extremists did not have to deal with a democratic Pakistani government, when they operated without check and oversight. I believe that if my government had not been destabilised in Pakistan in 1996, the Taleban could not have allowed Osama bin Laden to set up base in Afghanistan, openly recruit and train young men from all over the Muslim world and declare war on America in 1998.
- I know death comes. I’ve seen too much death, young death.
- It would be so nice to have the luxury just to laze. So nice not to have to always get up and get dressed for some occasion. Always having to move from here to there, where everything is scheduled and even having lunch with my kids on their Easter break has to be slotted in. Maybe one day...
- I was brought up to believe that human beings are good, which is why it shocks me to the core when I see human beings behaving badly.
Quotes about Bhutto
- Sorted alphabetically by author or source
- Benazir Bhutto was a woman of immense personal courage and bravery. Knowing, as she did, the threats to her life, the previous attempt at assassination, she risked everything in her attempt to win democracy in Pakistan, and she has been assassinated by cowards afraid of democracy. Benazir Bhutto may have been killed by terrorists, but the terrorists must not be allowed to kill democracy in Pakistan. And this atrocity strengthens our resolve that terrorists will not win there, here or anywhere in the world.
- UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, quoted in "Brown: Bhutto killers are cowards" at BBC News (27 December 2007)
- Mrs. Bhutto served her nation twice as Prime Minister and she knew that her return to Pakistan earlier this year put her life at risk. Yet she refused to allow assassins to dictate the course of her country.
We stand with the people of Pakistan in their struggle against the forces of terror and extremism. We urge them to honor Benazir Bhutto's memory by continuing with the democratic process for which she so bravely gave her life.
- Bhutto represents everything the fundamentalists hate — a powerful, highly-educated woman operating in a man’s world, seemingly unafraid to voice her independent views and, indeed, seemingly unafraid of anything, including the very real possibility that one day someone might succeed in killing her because of who she is.
- It was her father who chose to call his first-born daughter Benazir, which means “without comparison”. I think he would feel that she is living up to his name.
- Ginny Dougary in "Destiny’s daughter" in The Times (28 April 2007)
- We in Afghanistan condemn this act of cowardice and immense brutality in the strongest possible terms. She sacrificed her life for the sake of Pakistan and for the sake of this region.
- Afghan President Hamid Karzai, as quoted in "Reactions to Bhutto assassination" at BBC News (27 December 2007)
- Bhutto is a survivor and has an infinite belief in herself and her abilities. Rarely does she reveal even glimpses of her true character or her real thoughts. She may have genuinely not yet decided whether to return. Or she may have accepted that she can never return, but intends to leave the military on tenterhooks for as long as possible. Despite Musharraf's hostility, Bhutto's party is still the strongest political force in Pakistan and she is the only Pakistani politician with any natural charisma.
- Rory McCarthy, in 'I never asked for power', in The Guardian (15 August 2002)
- It is not a sad day … it is the darkest, gloomiest day in the history of this country.
- Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, and political rival, on Bhutto's assassination, as quoted in "What now for Pakistan?" in The Independent (28 December 2007)
- The U.S. came to understand that Bhutto was not a threat to stability but was instead the only possible way that we could guarantee stability and keep the presidency of Musharraf intact.
- In her death the subcontinent has lost an outstanding leader who worked for democracy and reconciliation in her country. The manner of her going is a reminder of the common dangers that our region faces from cowardly acts of terrorism and of the need to eradicate this dangerous threat.
- Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as quoted in "Reactions to Bhutto assassination" at BBC News (27 December 2007)
- The Islamists killed Benazir Bhutto as they killed her father. But they shouldn’t be allowed to kill Pakistan’s hopes for democracy.
- It's the vacuum that has been created by the martyrdom of my late wife that has sparked the [new situation] in Pakistan. She said in her book, "My death will be the catalyst of the change."
- The Official Website of Benazir Bhutto
- The Death of Benazir Bhutto at BBC News
- Benazir Bhutto becomes Prime Minister
- Profile at famous Muslims
- David Frost interview with Bhutto (3 November 2007)
- Bhutto on Al-Qaeda
- TIME images: "Inside Bhutto's 'Prison'"
- Bhutto cleared of corruption
- Pakistan Peoples Party website
- Videos of Benazir Bhutto