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Benazir Bhutto’s Second Regime (1993-96)
A hung parliament emerged after the elections of 1993 as no party had the mandate to form government independently. Attempts were made by both PPP and PML (N) to win over small parties and independent candidates to get the required numbers in their support. However, the majority of the independents, knowing that PPP had emerged as the largest party in the house and that PML (N) was not in the good books of the Establishment, decided to support the former. Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as the Prime Minister for the second time on October 19, 1993. Besides the elected minority and independent members, PML (J) also joined the coalition government. In Punjab, despite emerging as the single largest party in the house and getting 105 out of 240 seats, PML (N) was not allowed to form the government. PML (J), a party with just 18 seats, with the support of PPP and independent members, made their ministry. Nawaz Sharif’s group was thus ousted from the power corridors of Punjab for the first time since the electoral process restarted in the country in 1985. Though PML (N) managed to form government in alliance with ANP in NWFP, in April 1994 PPP managed a vote of no confidence against Pir Sabir Shah, the PML (N) Chief Minister, and then established their government in the province with Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao as their leader in the house. Within a month of the establishment of the new Federal Government, Presidential elections were held in which, PPP’s candidate, Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari defeated PML (N)’s candidate, Wasim Sajjad by 274 to 168 electoral votes.
With her confidant as President and the presence of a friendly government in Punjab, Benazir Bhutto was looking like a relaxed Prime Minister. In contrast with the 1988 situation, she was neither worried about the execution of Article 58-2 (B), nor was she afraid of the leg-pulling from the biggest and the most powerful province of the country. She was even more confident as the Establishment had developed differences with Nawaz Sharif and she was in their good books. Benazir Bhutto focused on the introduction of liberal policies including empowerment of women, rights for labor class, family planning, etc. but she failed to satisfy the masses. She continued with the process of privatization and stopped most of the development projects started by Nawaz Sharif’s government. Yet, she could not prevent the economy of the country from a nosedive. The popular perception was that the economic decline was because corruption had reached its zenith during that era. Berlin-based Transparency International in its report ranked Pakistan as the second most corrupt country in the world. Furthermore, the law and order situation in Karachi deteriorated rapidly. Para-military forces launched an operation in the city and MQM was badly targeted. Nawaz Sharif was exploiting the weaknesses of Benazir Bhutto’s regime. Her brother, Mir Murtaza Bhutto, also turned against her and started openly challenging her administrative skills as well as political views. To add fuel to the fire, Murtaza Bhutto was killed in Karachi, and his family accused Benazir Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, of the murder.
The worst thing, however, for Benazir Bhutto was that President Leghari also turned against her regime. He was not happy with the undue interference of Zardari in governmental affairs. Their gulf further enhanced on the issues of the appointment of Army Chief and Benazir Bhutto’s attempt to dismiss Chief Justice, Sajjad Ali Shah. Benazir Bhutto was so much annoyed with the President that she even blamed him for the murder of Murtaza Bhutto. Ultimately, due to his differences with the Prime Minister, ever-increasing demand of the opposition parties, and backing of the Establishment, Leghari used Article 58-2 (B) and dissolved the assemblies on November 5, 1996. Charges like corruption, terrible law and orders situation especially in Karachi, extrajudicial killings, etc., which were given earlier by Ishaq Khan in 1990 and 1993, were once again presented as an excuse to justify the decision. Like always, political opponents of the ousted government were included in the caretaker set-up. Prime Minister, Malik Miraj Khalid, and Chief Ministers of all the four provinces; Mian Afzal Hayat (Punjab), Mumtaz Bhutto (Sindh), Raja Siander Zaman (NWFP), and Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali (Baluchistan), had open differences with PPP. However, one good thing was that Miraj Khan and his caretaker team, instead of involving in political activities and bashing one political party or the other, restricted them to their main function of holding elections. While in office, Miraj Khalid spent a very simple life and his favorite activity was to address children by visiting schools.
 Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s Encounter with Democracy (Lahore: Vanguard Books, 1994), 4.
 Subrata Kumar Mitra, and others ed., Political Parties in South Asia (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2004), 169.
 Mahmood Monshipouri and Amjad Samuel, “Development and Democracy in Pakistan: Tenuous or Plausible Nexus?” Asian Survey, Vol. 35, No. 11 (University of California Press, 1995), 973-989.
 Ian Talbot, Pakistan: A Modern History of Pakistan (Karachi: Vanguard Books, 1999), 346.
 Craig Baxter and Charles H. Kennedy ed. Pakistan: 1997 (New Delhi: Harper Collins, 1998), 6.
 Fatima Bhutto, Songs of Blood and Sword (London: Penguin, 2010), 18.
 Muhammad Ali.Shiekh, Benazir Bhutto: A Political Biography (Karachi: Orient Books Publishing House, 2000), 223.
 Christophe Jaffrelot, ed., A History of Pakistan and Its Origin, trans., Gillian Beaumont (London: Wimbledon Publishing Company, 2000), 87.
 Kausar Parveen, “Eight Amendment: Its Impact on the Political Development in Pakistan” M Phil Thesis (Quaid-i- Azam University, Islamabad, 1999), 90.
 Dawn, January 12, 1997.