She attended Harvard University from 1969 to 1973, where she graduated cum laude honors with a degree in comparative government. During her time in the United States she saw youth of every genre and walk of life begging for a voice, begging for equality. She saw the resilience in the eyes of women commanding reform, justice and respect and began to adopt their voice. She left the United States with the resilience of Dr. King and the voice of Elizabeth Stanton. She later described her time at Harvard as the four of the happiest years of her life and said it formed the very basis of her belief in democracy.
Benazir father, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was removed from office by the then chief of army General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq following a military coup in 1977. Zia imposed martial law but promised to hold elections within three month but instead of fulfilling the promise of democracy. General Zia charged Zulfikar Bhutto with conspiring to murder the father of his opposing politician Ahmed Raza Kasuri. Benazir and her family fought the militant dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq, despite consequences to themselves for opposing martial law.
Benazir Bhutto and her brother Murtaza spent months in and out of house arrest while she worked to force General Zia-ul-Haq to drop murder charges against her father. They filed a petition for the reconsideration the sentence of Zulfikar Bhutto, and for his release. However, General Zia-ul-Haq claimed to have misplaced the petition, and further ignored worldwide appeals for clemency. Benazir visited her father adamantly promising justice, freedom. Sadly Zulfikar Bhutto was hanged on April 1979, she was not able to see her father before his execution and regretted never saying goodbye.
After the hanging of Zulfikar, Benazir and Murtaza were arrested repeatedly on frivolous charges. Nevertheless the PPP continued to succeed among the people. Following PPPs victory in the local elections, General Zia postponed the national elections indefinitely and moved Benazir, Murtaza, and their mother to Larkana Central Jail. After repeatedly placing them under house arrest, the regime finally imprisoned Benazir under solitary confinement in a desert cell at Sindh Province. She described the heat, the darkness, the bars and the irritation of the dessert cell with a shivering fear.
Her confrontation with injustice gave her the resilience she needed to survive the next stage of her life. After her imprisonment she was allowed to return to the United Kingdom in 1984 and became a leader in exile of the Peoples Party of Pakistan. For the first time in the history of Pakistan a woman was head of a major political party, though she was unable to make her political presence felt in Pakistan until after the death of General Zia-ul-Haq. She still led a pro-democracy opposition to the General Zia-ul-Haq regime even in exile. Continual success of the Peoples Party of Pakistan allowed Benazir to become the 11th Prime minister.
During her time as prime minister, the effects of General Zias domestic policies began to reveal themselves and she found them difficult to counter. Her platform during her first term was to repeal the controversial Hudood Ordinance and to revert to the Constitution of Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto also promised to shift to a Parliamentary system. But none of the reforms were made and Benazir began to struggle with conservative President Ghulam Ishaq Khan over the issues of executive authorities. President Khan repeatedly vetoed proposed laws and ordinances that would have lessened his Presidential authority.
Benazirs only accomplishments during her first term were initiatives for nationalist reform and modernization which was viewed as westernization. Her second term on the other hand was extremely different. She learned greatly from her mistakes during her first term and appointed a president that agreed with her views allowing her call to westernization and democracy a lot more prominent. After her second term she was sent to Saudi Arabia in exile while her husband, resembling the fate of Benazirs father, was arrested on false charges.
He was charged with involvement in the death of Benazirs brother and was blamed for this tragedy. After years in exile she returned to Pakistan to continue reform toward democracy. She said the Pakistan breeze on her face was something she had missed as she left the plane. She was assassinated on December 7 2007 by an al-Qaeda-linked militant group after leaving a rally. Even with gunshots firing and bombs in the background she still stood tall and smiled happily knowing she was serving her people.