Relations with Military

12. Relations with Military

During her first term, Benazir Bhutto had strained relationship with the Pakistan Armed Forces, especially with Pakistan Army. Army chief Mirza Aslam Beg had cold relations with the elected prime minister, and continued to undermine her authority. As for the military appointments, Benazir Bhutto refused to appoint General Beg as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, instead invited Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey to take the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 1988, Benazir Bhutto appointed Air Chief Marshal Hakimullah as the Chief of Air Staff and Admiral Jastural Haq as the Chief of Naval Staff. In 1988, shortly after assuming the office, Benazir Bhutto paid a visit to Siachen region, to boost the moral of the soldiers who fought the Siachen war with India. This was the first visit of any civilian leader to any military war-zone area since the country’s independence in 1947. In 1988, Benazir appointed Major-General Pervez Musharraf as Director-General of the Army Directorate General for Military Operations (DGMO); and then-Brigadier Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as her Military-Secretary. In 1989, the Pakistan Army exposed the alleged Operation Midnight Jackal against the government of Benazir Bhutto. When she learned the news, Benazir Bhutto ordered the arrest and trial of former ISI officer Brigadier Imtiaz Ahmad and Major Amir Khan, it was later revealed that it was General Beg who was behind this plot. General Beg soon paid the price in 1993 elections, when Benazir Bhutto politically destroyed the former general and his career was over before taking any shifts in politics. During her first term, Benazir Bhutto had successfully removed senior military officers including Lieutenant-Generals Hamid Gul, Zahid Ali Akbar Khan, General Jamal A. Khan, and Admiral Tariq Kamal Khan, all of whom had anti-democratic views and were closely aligned to General Zia, replacing them with officers who were educated in Western military institutes and academies, generally the ones with more westernised democratic views.

During her second term, Benazir Bhutto’s relations with the Pakistan Armed Forces took a different and pro-Bhutto approach, when she carefully appointed General Abdul Waheed Kakar as the Chief of Army Staff. General Abdul Waheed was an uptight, strict, and a professional officer with a views of Westernized democracy. Benazir also appointed Admiral Saeed Mohammad Khan as Chief of Naval Staff;  Abbas Khattak as Chief of Air Staff. Whilst, Air Chief Marshal Farooq Feroze Khan was appointed chairman Joint Chiefs who was the first (and to date only) Pakistani air officer to have reached to such 4 star assignment. Benazir Bhutto enjoyed a strong relations with the Pakistan Armed Forces, and President who was hand-picked by her did not questioned her authority. She hand-picked officers and promoted them based on their pro-democracy views while the puppet President gave constitutional authorisation for their promotion. The senior military leadership including Jehangir Karamat, Musharraf, Kayani, Ali Kuli Khan, Farooq Feroze Khan, Abbas Khattak and Fasih Bokhari, had strong Western-democratic views, and were generally close to Bhutto as they had resisted Nawaz Sharif’s conservatism. Unlike Nawaz Sharif’s second democratic term, Benazir worked with the military on many issues where the military disagreement, solving many problems relating directly to civil–military relations. Her tough and hardline policies on Afghanistan, Kashmir and India, which the military had backed Benazir Bhutto staunchly.

After the assassination was attempted, Benazir Bhutto’s civilian security team headed under Rehman Malik, was disbanded by the Pakistan Army whose X-Corps’ 111th Psychological Brigade— an army brigade tasked with countering the psychological warfare— took control of the security of Benazir Bhutto, that directly reported to Chief of Army Staff and the Prime Minister. Benazir Bhutto ordered General Abdul Waheed Kakar and the Lieutenant-General Javed Ashraf Qazi director-general of ISI, to start a sting and manhunt operation to hunt down the ringmaster, Ramzi Yousef. After few arrests and intensive manhunt search, the ISI finally captured Ramzi before he could flew the country. In matter of weeks, Ramzi was secretly extradited to the United States, while the ISI managed to kill or apprehend all the culprits behind the plot. In 1995, she personally appointed General Naseem Rana as the Director-General of the ISI, who later commanded the Pakistan Army’s assets in which came to known as “Pakistan’s secret war in Afghanistan”. During this course, General Rana directly reported to the prime minister, and led the intelligence operations after which were approved by Benazir Bhutto. In 1995, Benazir also appointed Admiral Mansurul Haq as the Chief of Naval Staff, as the Admiral had personal contacts with the Benazir’s family. However, it was the Admiral’s large-scale corruption, sponsored by her husband Asif Zardari, that shrunk the credibility of Benazir Bhutto by the end of 1996 that led to end of her government after all.

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Foreign Policy

11. Foreign Policy

Benazir Bhutto’s foreign policy was controversial. In her second term, Bhutto expanded Pakistan’s relations with the rest of the world. Like her father, Benazir Bhutto sought to strengthen relations with socialist states, and her visit to Libya strengthened the relations between the two countries. Benazir also thanked Muammar al-Gaddafi for his tremendous efforts and support for her father before and during Zulfikar’s trial in 1977. Ties continued with Libya but deteriorated after Nawaz Sharif became prime minister in 1990 and again in 1997. Gaddafi was said to be very fond of Bhutto and was a family friend of Bhutto family, but disliked Nawaz Sharif due to his ties with General Zia in the 1980s.

Benazir Bhutto is said to have paid a state visit to North Korea in early 1990 and again in 1996. According to journalist Shyam Bhatia, Bhutto smuggled CDs containing uranium enrichment data to North Korea on a state visit that same year in return for data on missile technology.  According to the expert, Benazir Bhutto acted as a female “James Bond”, and left with a bag of computer disks to pass on to her military from North Korea.

Major-General Pervez Musharraf worked closely with Bhutto and her government in formulating an Israel strategy. In 1993 Bhutto ordered Musharraf, then Director-General of the Pakistani Army’s Directorate-General for the Military Operation (DGMO), to join her state visit to the United States, an unusual and unconventional participation. Bhutto and Musharraf chaired a secret meeting with Israeli officials who travelled to the US especially for the meeting. Under Bhutto’s guidance Musharraf intensified the ISI’s liaison with Israel’s Mossad. A final meeting took place in 1995, which Musharraf also joined. Bhutto also strengthened relations with communist Vietnam, and visited Vietnam to sign an agreement for mutual trade and international political cooperation the two countries. In 1995 Benazir Bhutto made another state visit to the United States and held talks with U.S. President Bill Clinton. Bhutto urged him to revise the Pressler Amendment and launch a campaign against extremism. She criticized US nonproliferation policy and demanded that the United States honour its contractual obligation.

During her second term, relations with Indian Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao further deteriorated. Like her father, Benazir Bhutto used rhetoric to oppose to India and campaign in the international community against the Indian nuclear programme. On 1 May 1995 she used harsh language in her public warning to India that “continuation of [Indian] nuclear programme would have terrible consequences”. India responded to this saying she was interfering in an “internal matter” of India, and the Indian Army fired a RPG at the Kahuta, which further escalated events, leading to full-fledged war. When this news reached Bhutto, she responded by high-alerting the Air Force Strategic Command. It ordered heavily armed Arrows, Griffins, Black Panthers and the Black Spiders to begin air sorties and to patrol the Indo-Pakistan border on day-and-night regular missions. All of these squadrons are part of the Strategic Command. On 30 May, India test-fired a Prithvi-1 missile near the Pakistan border, which Bhutto condemned. She responded by deploying Shaheen-I missiles; however, they were not armed. Benazir Bhutto permitted the PAF to deploy the Crotale missile defence and the Anza-Mk-III near the Indian border, which escalated the conflict, but effectively kept the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force from launching any surprise attack.

In 1995 the ISI reported to Bhutto that Narasimha Rao had authorised nuclear tests, and that they could be conducted at any minute. Benazir put the country’s nuclear arsenal programme on high-alert made emergency preparations, and ordered the Pakistani armed forces to remain on high-alert. However the United States intervened, Indian operations for conducting the nuclear tests were called off and the Japanese government attempted to mediate. In 1996, Benazir Bhutto met with Japanese officials and warned India about conducting nuclear tests. She revealed for the first time that Pakistan had achieved parity with India in its capacity to produce nuclear weapons and their delivery capability. She told the Indian press, that Pakistan “cannot afford to negate the parity we maintain with India”. These statements represented a departure from Pakistan’s previous policy of “nuclear ambivalence.” Bhutto issued a statement on the tests and told the international press that she condemned the Indian nuclear tests. “If (India) conducts a nuclear test, it would forced her (Pakistan) to.. “follow suit…” she said.

Bhutto also ratcheted up her policy on Indian Kashmir, rallying against India. At an Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting at the United Nations, Bhutto, who was accompanied by her then-Speaker and future prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani upset and angered the Indian delegation, headed by prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, with a vehement criticism of India. Vajpayee responded, saying: “It is Pakistan which is flouting the United Nations resolution by not withdrawing its forces from Kashmir…You people create problems every time. You know the Kashmiri people themselves acceded to India. First, the Maharajah, then the Kashmiri parliament, both decided to go with India”.

Bhutto described Indian held-Kashmir as the worst example of “Indian intransigence” and dismissed Indian allegations of putative Pakistani nuclear tests as “baseless”. Bhutto criticised India’s bid to hide its plan to explode a nuclear device, and failure to cover up its domestic problems including its failure to suppress the freedom struggle in Kashmir.

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Economic Issues

·         Economic Issues

The total GDP per capita stood between 8.4% (in the 1970s) and 8.3% (in 1993–96), periods of nationalisation. Bhutto was an economist by profession; therefore during her terms as prime minister, she herself took charge of the Ministry of Finance. Bhutto sought to improve the country’s economy which was declining as time was passing. Benazir disagreed with her father’s nationalization and socialist economics. Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Benazir attempted to privatize major industries that were nationalized in the 1970s. Bhutto promised to end the nationalisation programme and to carry out the industrialisation programme by means other than state intervention. But controversially Bhutto did not carry out the denationalization programme or liberalization of the economy during her first government. No nationalized units were privatized, few economic regulations were reviewed.

Pakistan suffered a currency crisis when the government failed to arrest the 30% fall in the value of the Pakistani Rupee from Rs. 21 to Rs. 30 compared to the United States dollar. Soon economic progress became her top priority but her investment and industrialisation programs faced major setbacks due to conceptions formed by investors based upon her People’s Party nationalisation program in the 1970s. By the 1990s, Khan and Bhutto’s government had also ultimately lost the currency war with the Indian Rupee which beat the value of Pakistan rupee for the first time in the 1970s. Bhutto’s denationalisation program also suffered from many political setbacks, as many of her government members were either directly or indirectly involved with the government corruption in major government-owned industries, and her appointed government members allegedly sabotaged her efforts to privatise the industries.

Overall, the living standard for people in Pakistan declined as inflation and unemployment grew at an exponential rate particularly as UN sanctions began to take effect. During her first and second term, the difference between rich and poor visibly increased and the middle class in particular were the ones who bore the brunt of the economic inequality. According to a calculation completed by the Federal Bureau of Statistics, the rich were statistically improved and the poor declined in terms of living standards. Benazir attributed this economic inequality to be a result of ongoing and continuous illegal Bangladeshi immigration. Bhutto ordered a crackdown on and deportation of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. Her action strained and created tensions in Bangladesh–Pakistan relations, as Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia refused to accept the deportees and reportedly sent two planeloads back to Pakistan. Religious parties also criticised Bhutto and dubbed the crackdown as anti-Islamic.

This operation backfired and had devastating effects on Pakistan’s economy. President Khan saw this as a major economic failure despite Khan’s permission granted to Bhutto for the approval of her economic policies. Khan blamed Bhutto for this extensive economic slowdown and her policy that failed to stop the illegal immigration. Khan attributed Bhutto’s government members corruption in government-owned  industries as the major sinkhole in Pakistan’s economy that failed to compete with neighbouring India’s economy.

·         Privatization and Era of Stagflation

The GDP growth rate was at ~4.37% in 1993, which fell to ~1.70% in 1996, before Bhutto’s dismissal.

During her second term, Bhutto continued to follow former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s privatisation policies, which she called a “disciplined macroeconomics policy”. After the 1993 general elections, the privatisation programme of state-owned banks and utilities accelerated; more than Rs.42 billion was raised from the sale of nationalised corporations and industries, and another US$20 billion from the foreign investment made the United States. After 1993, the country’s national economy again entered in the second period of the stagflation and more roughly began bite the country’s financial resources and the financial capital. Bhutto’s second government found it extremely difficult to counter the second era of stagflation with Pressler Amendment and the US financial and military embargo tightened its position. After a year of study, Bhutto implemented and enforced the Eighth Plan to overcome the stagflation by creating a dependable and effective mechanism for accelerating economic and social progress. But, according to American ambassador to Pakistan, William Milam’s bibliography, Bangladesh and Pakistan:Flirting with Failure in South Asia, the Eighth Plan (which reflected the planned economy of the Soviet Union) was doomed to meet with failure from the very beginning of 1994, as the policies were weak and incoherent.

On many occasions, Bhutto resisted to privatise globally competitive and billion-dollar-worth state-owned enterprises (such as Pakistan Railways and Pakistan Steel Mills), instead the grip of nationalisation in those state-owned enterprises was tightened in order to secure the capital investment of these industries. The process of privatisation of the nationalised industries was associated with the marked performance and improvement, especially the terms of labour productivity.A number of privatization of industries such as gas, water supply and sanitation, and electricity general, were natural monopolies for which the privatization involved little competition. Furthermore, Benazir denied that privatisation of the Pakistan Railways would take place despite the calls made in Pakistan, and was said to have told Planning Commission chief Naveed Qamar, “Railways privatization will be the ‘blackhole’ of this government. Please never mention the railways to me again”. Bhutto always resisted privatisation of United Bank Limited Pakistan (UBL), but its management sent the recommendation for the privatisation which dismayed the labour union. The United Group of Employees Management asked Bhutto for issue of regulation sheet which she denied. The holding of UBL in government control turned out to be a move that ended in “disaster” for Bhutto’s government.

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Domestic Affairs

  1. Domestic Affairs

Benazir Bhutto was prime minister at a time of great racial tension in Pakistan. Her approval poll rose by 38% after she appeared and said in a private television interview after the elections: “We are unhappy with the manner in which tampered electoral lists were provided in a majority of constituencies; our voters were turned away.” The Conservatives attracted voters from MMA whose support had collapsed. The Friday Times noted “Both of them (Nawaz and Benazir) have done so badly in the past, it will be very difficult for them to do worse now. If Bhutto’s government fails, everyone knows there will be no new elections. The army will take over”.

The racial violence in Karachi reached at peak and became a problem for Benazir Bhutto to counter. Operation Blue Fox, was launched to wipe the MQM from country’s political spectrum. The results of this operation remain inconclusive even today’s environment. Though the operation was halted in 1995, but amid violence continued and, Shahid Javed Burki, a professor of economics, noted that “Karachi problem was not so much an ethnic problem as it was an economic question.”  Bhutto, through her Internal Security Minister Naseerullah Babar, intensified the internal security operations and steps, gradually putting down the opposition’s political rallies, while she did not completely abandon the reconciliation policy.

In December 1993, news began to surface in the Swat valley when Sufi Muhammad, a religious cleric, began to mobilise the local militia calling for overthrow of the “un-Islamic rule of [Iron] Lady”. Benazir Bhutto responded quickly and ordered the Pakistan Army to crack down the militia, leading to the movement’s being crushed by the Army and the cleric was apprehended before he could escape.

However, corruption grew during her government, and her government became increasingly unpopular amid corruption scandals which became public. One of the most internationally and nationally reported scandals was the Agosta Submarine scandal. Benazir Bhutto’s spouse Asif Ali Zardari was linked with former Admiral Mansurul Haq who allegedly made side deals with French officials and Asif Ali Zardari while acquiring the submarine technology. It was one of the consequences that her government was dismissed and Asif Ali Zardari along with Mansurul Haq were arrested and a trial was set in place. Both Zardari and Haq were detained due to corruption cases and Benazir Bhutto flew to Dubai from Pakistan in 1998.

·         Women’s Issues

During her election campaigns, she had promised to repeal controversial laws (such as Hudood and Zina ordinances) that curtail the rights of women in Pakistan. Bhutto was pro-life and spoke forcefully against abortion, most notably at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, where she accused the West of “seeking to impose adultery, abortion, intercourse education and other such matters on individuals, societies and religions which have their own social ethos.” However, Bhutto was not supported by the leading women organisations, who argued that after being elected twice, none of the reforms were made, instead controversial laws were exercised more toughly. Therefore, in 1997 elections, Bhutto failed to secure any support from women’s organisations and minorities also gave Bhutto the cold-shoulder when she approached them. It was not until 2006 that the Zina ordinance was finally repealed by a Presidential Ordinance issued by Pervez Musharraf in July 2006. Bhutto was an active and founding member of the Council of Women World Leaders, a network of current and former prime ministers and presidents.

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First Term as Leader of the Opposition, 1990–93

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

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Military Scandal 1989

6. Military Scandal 1989

In 1989, the media reported a sting operation and political scandal, codenamed Midnight Jackal, in which former members of ISI hatched a plan to topple the Bhutto government. Midnight Jackal was a political intelligence operation launched under President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and army chief General Mirza Aslam Beg, whose objective was to pass a no-confidence motion in Parliament by bribing and threatening parliament members. Lieutenant-General Asif Nawaz had suspected the activities of Brigadier Imtiaz Ahmed, therefore, a watch cell unit was dispatched to keep an eye on him.

This operation was exposed by ISI when it obtained a VHS tape containing the conversation between two former army officers and former members of ISI, from the Intelligence Bureau (IB). The tape was confiscated by ISI director-general Lieutenant-General Shamsur Rahman Kallu, who showed it to Benazir the next day. The videotape showed the conversation of Major Amir Khan and Brigadier Imtiaz Ahmad revealed that Chief of Army Staff General Mirza Aslam Baig of that time wanted to end the government. Though the Brigadier failed to prove General Beg’s involvement, General Mirza, on the other hand, sharply denied the accusation and started a full-fledged courts martial of these officers, with Benazir being the civilian judge of JAG Branch to proceed the hearings. The officers were removed from their positions and placed at Adiala military correctional institute in 1989. The officers were released from the military correctional institute by order of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1996.

7. Dismissal

By 1990 the revelation of Midnight Jackal lessened President Ghulam Ishaq Khan’s influence in national politics, government and the military. Bhutto was thought by the president to be a young and inexperienced figure in politics, though highly educated. But he miscalculated her capabilities; she emerged as a ‘power player’ in international politics. Bhutto’s authoritative actions frustrated the president; he was not taken in confidence when decisions were made. By 1990 a power struggle between the prime minister and president ensued. Because of the semi-presidential system, Bhutto needed permission from Khan to impose new policies. Khan vetoed many, as he felt they contradicted his point of view. Bhutto, through her legislators, also attempted to shift to a parliamentary democracy from the semi-presidential system, but Khan always used his constitutional powers to veto Bhutto’s attempts.

Tales of corruption in public-sector industries began to surface, which undermined the credibility of Bhutto. The unemployment and labour strikes began to take place which halted and jammed the economic wheel of the country, and Bhutto was unable to solve these issues due to the cold war with the President. In November 1990, after a long political battle, Khan used the Eighth Amendment to dismiss the Bhutto government following charges of corruption, nepotism, and despotism. Khan called for new elections in 1990, where Bhutto conceded defeat.

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Programmes and Policies

  1. Programmes and Policies
  • Science Policy

During her 1990 trip to Britain, Bhutto paid a visit to Dr. Abdus Salam, a Nobel laureate in physics and a science advisor to her father’s government. During both her terms as Prime Minister, Bhutto followed the science and technology policy her father laid out in 1972, and promoted military funding of science and technology as part of that policy. However, in 1988, Bhutto was denied access to the classified national research institutes run by the military, which remained however under the control of the civilian president Ghulam Ishaq Khan and the Chief of Army Staff. Bhutto was kept unaware about the progress of the nuclear complexes, even when the country passed the milestone in 1986 of fissile core manufacturing capability. U.S. Ambassador Robert Oakley was the first diplomat notified about the complexes, in 1988. Shortly afterwards Bhutto summoned chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Munir Ahmad Khan to her office; Khan brought Abdul Qadeer Khan with him and introduced him to the Prime Minister.

At that meeting Bhutto learned the status of this program which had matured since its beginnings in 1978, and on request of A. Q. Khan, visited Khan Research Laboratories for the first time in 1989, much to the anger of Ishaq Khan. Bhutto also responded to Khan when she moved the Ministry of Science and Technology’s office to the Prime Minister Secretariat with Munir Ahmad Khan directly reporting to her. Bhutto had successfully eliminated any possibility of Khan’s involvement and prevented him from having any influence in science-research programmes, a policy which also benefited her successor Nawaz Sharif. During both her prime-ministerial terms Bhutto funded many projects entirely devoted to the country’s national defence and security. The dismissal of Lieutenant-General Gul by Benazir Bhutto had played a significant role on Chief of Army Staff General Mirza Aslam Beg, who did not interfere in matters pertaining to science and technology, and remained supportive towards Benazir Bhutto’s hard-line actions against the President.

In 1990 Benazir declined to allot funds to any military-science projects that would be placed under Lieutenant-General Zahid Ali Akbar, despite Akbar’s being known to have been close to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. In 1990 she forced Akbar to resign from active duty, and as director-general of Army Technological Research Laboratories (ATRL); she replaced him with Lieutenant-General Talat Masood as E-in-C of ATRL as well as director of all military projects.

In the 1980s, Benazir Bhutto started aerospace projects such as Project Sabre II, Project PAC, Ghauri project under Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan in 1990 and the Shaheen Programme in 1995 under Dr. Samar Mubarakmand.

During her second term, Benazir Bhutto declared 1996 as a year of “information technology” and envisioned her policy of making Pakistan a “global player” in information technology. One of her initiatives was the launching of a package to promote computer literacy through participation from the private sector.

·       Nuclear Weapons Programme

In opposition to her conservative opponent Nawaz Sharif, whose policy was to make the nuclear weapons programme benefit the economy, Benazir Bhutto took aggressive steps to modernise and expand the integrated atomic weapons programme begun by her father in 1972, who was one of the key political administrative figures of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent development. During her first term, Benazir Bhutto established the separate but integrated nuclear testing programme in the atomic bomb programme, requiring the authorisation of the Prime minister and the military leadership.

It was during her regime that the Pressler amendment came into effect, an attempt to freeze the programme. During frequent trips to the United States, Bhutto refused to compromise on the nuclear weapons programme, and attacked the Indian nuclear programme on multiple occasions. Benazir Bhutto misled the U.S. when she told them that the programme had been frozen; the programme was progressively modernized and continued under her watch. Under her regime, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) conducted series of improvised designs of nuclear weapons designed by the Theoretical Physics Group (TPG) at PAEC. Benazir Bhutto also carried messages to Munir Ahmad Khan from her father and back in 1979 as her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had instructed his daughter to remain in touch with the Chairman of PAEC. In this context, Bhutto had appointed Munir Ahmad Khan as her Science Adviser, and he kept her informed about the development of the programme. In all, the nuclear weapons and energy program remained a top priority, along with the country’s economy. During her first term, the nuclear program was under attack and under pressure from the Western world, particularly the United States. Despite economic aid offered by the European Union and the United States in return for halting or freezing the program, Benazir continued the program in both her first and second terms.

During her first term, Bhutto approved and launched the Shaheen programme and advocated for the programme. Bhutto also allotted funds for the programme. On 6 January 1996, Bhutto publicly announced that if India conducted a nuclear test, Pakistan could be forced to “follow suit”. Bhutto later said that the day will never arise when we have to use our knowledge to make and detonate a [nuclear] device and export our technology.

The People of (Pakistan) … are “security conscious” because of the (1971) severe trauma, and the three wars with (India). Our (Pakistan) nuclear development was peaceful … but was “an effective deterrence to India” … because (New Delhi) had detonated a nuclear device. She (Pakistan) …, thus, had to take every step to ensure its territorial integrity and sovereignty…

— Benazir Bhutto, on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

·         Space Programme

Benazir Bhutto continued her policy to modernise and expand the space programme and as part of that policy, she launched and supervised the clandestine project integrated research programme (IRP), a missile programme which remained under Benazir Bhutto’s watch and successfully ended in 1996. Benazir established the National Development Complex and the University Observatory at Karachi University and expanded facilities for space research. Pakistan’s first military satellite, Badr-I, was also launched under her government through China, while the second military satellite Badr-II was completed during her second term. With launching of Badr-I, Pakistan became the first Muslim country to launch and place a satellite in Earth’s orbit.

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