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by Benazir Bhutto

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Benazir Bhutto
Hamish Hamilton (June 1, 1989)
352 pages
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Benazir Bhutto became the first woman PM of Pakistan when she was just 35 yr.

Benazir Bhutto became the first woman PM of Pakistan when she was just 35 yrs. Until this time her life is a story that inspires. After becoming PM hers is a story of lost opportunities. When it was first published in 1989, I liked the book. Today, am just bored.

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Benazir Bhutto was born in Karachi, Pakistan on June 21, 1953. She received degrees from Radcliffe College and Oxford University

Benazir Bhutto was born in Karachi, Pakistan on June 21, 1953. She received degrees from Radcliffe College and Oxford University. In 1977, her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was elected prime minister of Pakistan, but soon afterwards the military seized power of the country and her father was arrested and later hanged. The years that followed were filled with arrests, being forced to leave the country, and returning to her homeland.

Pakistan ki Taqdeer Bilawal Bhutto Benazir".

Daughter Of The East book. The book was also released as Daughter of the East: An Autobiography from Hamish Hamilton in 1988. In the book Bhutto narrates her life from her birth, her childhood, days in Oxford University, execution of her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, days in captivity, her arrange marriage to Asif Ali Zardari, birth of her first child, Bilawal and struggle to restore democracy in her homeland Pakistan.

Beautiful and charismatic, the daughter of one of Pakistan's most popular leaders - Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, hanged by General Zia in 1979 - Benazir Bhutto is not only the first woman to lead a post-colonial Muslim state, she achieved a status approaching that of a royal princess, only to be stripped of her power in another example of the. bitter political in-fighting that has riven her country.

Daughter of Destiny: An Autobiography is a 1988 memoir by Benazir Bhutto, the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan.

A name of struggle, Shaheed Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto during her whole life she never stopped her struggle for her family, her people and her country. As she wrote in her last book Reconciliation I was sleeping in my room, without knowing what a disaster was coming to me, my mother ran in to my room and waked me up and said General Zia has Imposed Martial Law in the country and your father has been arrested. This moment I had no wards to say, in real It was the start of my Political journey.

Daughter of the East - Benazir Bhutto. I looked out of the window to see the Martial Law contingent consulting with each other, then transmitting the message that I was ill on their wireless set and waiting to receive information back. In the confusion, Ibrahim reached the gate. 1. The assassination of my father. I have to get medicine for Benazir Sahiba quickly. Quickly!’ he said to the guards who had overheard the talk of my bad health. Miraculously, they let Ibrahim through, barely five minutes after my mother had first come to me in the bedroom.

Benazir Bhutto is the daughter of Pakistan's former Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was executed by President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq in 1979. At his death, she inherited the leadership of the Pakistan People's Party, the largest and most powerful mass-based group in the country. In 1981, she was herself imprisoned, spending three months in solitary confinement. After her release, she came to England to spend four months in exile. In 1985 she returned to Pakistan to bury her younger brother, Shahnawaz, who had died in mysterious circumstances in the south of France. A few months later she was back once more in her country. Hundreds of thousands of supporters thronged the streets to greet her in mass rallies as she called for the overthrow of President Zia's regime. Again, she was imprisoned and then released. Benazir Bhutto tells the story of those years and explains why she has turned her back on personal tragedy, and has donned her father's mantle with that iron determination which has astonished observers throughout the world.
  • Anardred
A very good book indeed. I am happy with the service.
  • Awene
great book
  • Charyoll
In his book "Prisoner without a name and cell without a number" Jacobo Timerman says that oppressed population go through three stages during the course of oppression: anger, fear and apathy. For "anger and fear" Pakistan did not have to look beyond General Zia-ul-Haq. For apathy they did not have to look beyond Benazir Bhutto.

Benazir, in 1988, was Mannah coming down from heaven for Pakistan.

She was the first born of the elite aristocratic Bhutto family. (Charles Napier, famous for his "Peccavi - I have Sinned" pun writes that Bhutto landholding was so extensive that he would travel for hours in Sind and yet be in Bhutto land). She went to Radcliffe and later to Oxford. She was the first woman president of the Oxford Union.

Young Benazir, 23 when her father was murdered by Zia, was kept in prison by Zia for several years. Undaunted by all this, she provided leadership to PPP, her political party. When allowed to go out of Pakistan in 1984 she continued to run the party from her Barbican apartment in London.

In 1986 she decided to return courageously to Pakistan when Zia was in rule. Despite military rule and "big brothers" watching, people gave her a welcome that no political leader could ever rival. She continued to whip up her agenda for bringing democracy back to Pakistan for the next two years.

1988 proved to be a turning point for Pakistan and Bhutto. Zia's role for Pakistan to be a frontline state in the war against communism proved to be temporary. Zia's role for Pakistan to be a frontline state in evangelizing Wahabi Islam proved to be permanent. Zia died in an air accident. Benazir Bhutto became the first woman PM of Pakistan when she was just 35 yrs.

Until this time her life is a story that inspires. After becoming PM hers is a story of lost opportunities.

She did not use her power base to enshrine democracy and was comfortable securing a position of power in existing autocratic frameworks. This allowed Ghulam Ishaq Khan (a civil servant who succeeded to become President) to dismiss her once and Farooq Laghari (an underling who got elected to be President due to Benazir's support) to dismiss her again.

She did not ensure her husband was above suspicion. Pakistan government had detained her husband in prison for more than 6 years on 90 charges of corruption though it has not secured conviction in even one case . However, it is not easy to ignore the fact that Zardari, not rich at the time of marriage to Benazir, owns a 355 acre property south of London according to Wikipedia.

Benazir is a good writer though. Some interesting snippets:

The feelings of an educated young Muslim girl wearing a barkah for the first time are vividly described. The world was not the same through gauze. The build up of humidity inside the cloak was uncomfortable. Her relief when her father tells that she does not need to wear a barkah is immense. However, it was her father's decision; not hers. Who is the liberal?

Benazir Bhutto rightly feels that the West does not care for freedom in frontier states as much as freedom at home:

(a) In 1958 US trained Pakistan Army in "immobilizing" a government through strikes. The operation was titled "Operation Wheeljam". Why would US want to do that? Why would Pakistan army want to get trained in that?

(b) Margaret Thatcher, in a trip to Pakistan, praised Zia and declared Pakistan to be the "last bastion of freedom". An example where a leader's wisdom has not kept pace with knowledge.

(c) Undersecretary of State James Buckley testified before US Congress that "elections were not in the best interest of the security of Pakistan". Another example of paucity of wisdom.

Pakistan had a long term price to pay. After the Afghan war, Kalashnikovs were available, according to Benazir, for $ 40 in Karachi. One can rent by the hour too. Landowners and Industrialists began to employ private armies to protect themselves. By 1983, Pakistan had become the major supplier of heroin to the World with some support from the State. (Abdullah Bhatti, one of the two drug bosses, was arrested and sentenced by a military court. But Zia intervened and gave him a Presidential pardon, a power he never used for anyone else!). Narco terrorism was born.

The second major impact was on women. Zia introduced the Hudood ordinances whereby a woman charging a rape should prove it with four male witnesses; otherwise she would face adultery charges herself. Safia Bibi, a blind servant girl was raped by her employer and his son; and could not prove it - rape rarely being conducted in public. The two men went free and Safia was charged with adultery. Campaigns by outraged women saved Safia Bibi; but not other less fortunate women.

However, Benazir is not as eloquent about her times as PM as about her times as a prisoner. There is very little about her challenges as a PM: her failure to get a good constitution written, her failure in dealing with Presidents who never had public mandate, her failure in dealing with traditional power brokers in the army, in the ISI, her failure to rein in her husband; her initiatives for development of social and economic aspects of Pakistan and her failure in engaging with India. In the end, she got consumed by the very forces she tolerated as a prisoner and as a PM. Pakistan did not revolt when she moved out to Dubai.

The book is interesting when it deals with the anger and fear till 1988; and gets boring when it reaches the stage of Jacob Timerman's "apathy" after 1988. Benazir too does not think the period is important and devotes 90% of the book for her first 35 years till she becomes PM and just 10% for the next 19 years as PM, Opposition leader and Leader-in-exile.

When it was first published in 1989, I liked the book. Today, am just bored.
  • Shan
Benazir Bhutto, is not only the first woman to have led a post-colonial Muslim state, she has also achieved that status of "political royalty" something like that of the Kennedy family in the US or the Gandhi family of India. Hers is a life that has been full of theatrics... the hanging of her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, education at Harvard and Oxford, becoming Prime Minister, her life in self-imposed exile, her "deal" with President Musharraf as well as the recent attempts on her life. This particular autobiography is "dated" and needs substantial material to make it relevant to the present day context of Pakistan but is an interesting read nonetheless. Benazir's book shows that she's a tough lady and a fighter!
  • Unirtay
Benazir Bhutto's tale of her youth and political career in Pakistan is eloquent and engaging as a narrative, surprisingly readable, with an almost fictional quality. However, it is precisely these dream-like allusions that make a reader who is more knowledgeable about politics and social hierarchies in Pakistan wonder about the reliability and motives behind her portrayal of Pakistani leaders.
Recounting the personal tragedies and difficulties experienced by the Bhutto family, Benazir is stirring and emotive, inspiring empathy in her readers. But she paints a disturbingly naive and idealised picture of her own family. The Bhuttos appear as eternal victims of cruel and unrelenting dictators, who stifle the voice of the people, unwaveringly embodied in the form of a Bhutto (first her father, followed by her mother, and then Benazir herself). References to the fuedal landowning family's power, status, nobility and wealth are scattered throughout Benazir's text, and make one wonder if she wouldn't be better off using the argument of divine right, rather than popular mandate, to justify her family's claims to leadership of Pakistan.
On the whole, the book is worth reading but I recommend it be done with a pinch of salt. It is evident that Benazir Bhutto belongs to an elite amongst the various Pakistani elites. I find it more than a little paradoxical and hypocritical that she is able to combine her membership in one of South Asia's "ruling families" with so ardent a conviction that hers was the true and democratically determined voice of the Pakistani people.
With the benefit of hindsight, and the knowledge that Benazir did not live up to her political ambitions to serve the "masses" in either of her two terms as Prime Minister, the rhetoric of "Daughter of the East" seems a rather bitter pill to swallow.
  • Alexandra
BeNazir Bhutto is a former Prime Minister of Pakistan. Her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was elected Prime Minister in early 1970's. The military dictator Gen. Zia, who ruled Pakistan until 1987 when his plane crashed, hanged him. Miss Bhutto coherently elucidates the events surrounding her father's unjust death and the struggle for reclaiming the government. I would suggest this book for the readers who want to have first hand accounts of Martial law on the country as whole and a family, which has lost most of its members in the unmerited war of politics.
  • inetserfer
Out of print, never received. Hard to rate if I have not read it.