- First Term as Leader of the Opposition, 1990–93
The Election Commission of Pakistan called for the new parliamentary elections in 1990. The Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, won a majority in the Parliament. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, conservatives had a chance to rule the country. Sharif became the 12th prime minister of Pakistan and Bhutto was the leader of the opposition for the next five years.
In November 1992, Bhutto attempted to perform a 10-mile march from Rawalpindi to Islamabad. However, she was forced to discontinue the rally due to a threat of arrest from Prime Minister Sharif. The demonstration was an anti-government rally that upset Pakistan officials. She was placed under house arrest and vowed to bring down the Pakistani government. In December 1992, a two-day march was conducted in protest of Nawaz Sharif. In July 1993, Nawaz Sharif resigned from his position due to political pressure.
From 1990 to 1993, Benazir Bhutto worked for her voice and screen image. Pakistan affairs intellectual Anatol Lieven compared her accent as “cut-glass accent”, but acknowledged her education and academic background. Bhutto began to regularly attend lunches at the Institute of Development Economics (IDE), a think tank founded in the 1950s; she had been visiting IDE and reading its publications since the mid-1970s. During that time, the IJI launched a secret campaign against Benazir Bhutto’s image to demoralise party workers; the campaign brutally backfired on Nawaz Sharif when the media exposed the campaign and its motives. More than ₨. 5 million were spent on the campaign and it undermined the credibility of conservatives, who also failed to resolve issues among between them.
Despite an economic recovery in late 1993, the IJI government faced public unease about the direction of the country and an industrialisation that revolved around and centred only in Punjab Province. Amid protest and civil disorder in Sindh Province following the imposition of Operation Clean-up, the IJI government lost control of the province. The Peoples Party attacked the IJI government’s record on unemployment and industrial racism.
President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed the conservative government when Sharif attempted to revert the 8th Amendment but was unsuccessful. Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto would unite to oust the president who lost the control of the country in a matter of weeks. Khan too was forced to resign along with Nawaz Sharif in 1993, and an interim government was formed until the new elections. A parliamentary election was called after by the Pakistan Armed Forces. Both Sharif and Benazir Bhutto campaigned with full force, targeting each other’s personalities. Their policies were very similar but a clash of personalities occurred, with both parties making many promises but not explaining how they were going to pay for them.
- Second Term as Prime Minister, 1993–96
Though the PPP won the most seats (86 seats) in the election but fell short of an outright majority, with the PML-N in second place with 73 seats in the Parliament. The PPP performed extremely well in Bhutto’s native province, Sindh, and rural Punjab, while the PML-N was strongest in industrial Punjab and the largest cities such as Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi. On 19 October 1993, Benazir Bhutto was sworn as Prime Minister for second term allowing her to continue her reform initiatives.
Benazir Bhutto learned a valuable experience and lesson from the presidency of Ghulam Ishaq Khan, and the presidential elections were soon called after her re election. After carefully examining the candidates, Benazir Bhutto decided to appoint Farooq Leghari as for her president, in which, Leghari sworn as 8th President of Pakistan on 14 November 1993 as well as first Baloch to have become president since the country’s independence. Leghari was a political figure who was educated Kingston University London receiving his degree in same discipline as of Benazir Bhutto. But unlike Khan, Leghari had no political background, no experience in government running operations, and had no background understanding the civil-military relations. In contrast, Leghari was a figurehead and puppet president with all of the military leadership directly reporting to Benazir Bhutto.
She first time gave the main ministry to the minorities and appointed Julius Salik as Minister for Population Welfare. The previous governments only give ministry for minority affairs as a minister of state or parliamentary secretary. J. Salik is a very popular leader among minorities and won the MNA seat by getting highest votes throughout Pakistan.