In 1988, Pakistan was coming out of 11 years of a dark, US-backed Military Dictatorship of General Zia ul Haq. The PPP, lead by the late Benazir Bhutto was poised to sweep the national and provincial elections. At this juncture, Nawaz Sharif and his goons like Hussain Haqqani employed the most disgusting smear tactics.
They superimposed Benazir and Nusrat Bhutto’s faces on Bikini models. These doctored images were literally airdropped in the most conservative districts of the Punjab. The tactic was obvious and deeply misogynist. They were designed to undercut Benazir’s votes by reducing her to a physical appearance; in this case, not even her own.
This and other disgusting tactics were used. In spite of the odds, Benazir still won the Federal elections. But these misogynist tactics, combined with massive rigging by the Saudi-US-Hamid Gul backed Nawaz Sharif significantly reduced her victory margins. It spelled an end to her goal of removing anti-women legislation that were forcibly inserted into the constitution by Nawaz Sharif’s mentor and ideological father, the CIA-backed dictator General Zia ul Haq.
These tactics also resulted in Benazir loosing in Punjab; a province she was set to win. General Zia ul Haq’s social engineering had created a rabid, right wing obscurantist constituency in the Punjab and Nawaz Sharif’s disgusting, underhand and misogynist tactics ensured that Benazir would lose support here.
Throughout the 1990s, Nawaz Sharif and his henchmen like Hussain Haqqani and Najam Sethi employed the most misogynist tactics against Benazir Bhutto as they (Nawaz and his goons) were ideologically and morally bankrupt to confront Benazir on real issues.
One tactic literally involved Nawaz Sharif asking his other goon, Sheikh Rashid, to make physically obscene and unmentionable public gestures against Benazir Bhutto.
Nawaz Sharif waited for Benazir Bhutto to pass him before he gave the go ahead to Sheikh Rashid for the obscene gesture. This reduced Benazir to tears. This is the same women who stood up to tear gassing, baton charges, solitary confinement and a nasty corrupt judiciary for her political beliefs. These are the vile and disgusting tactics that Nawaz Sharif, Hussain Haqqani and Najam Sethi mainstreamed during the 1990s against women. In semi-public conversations, Najam Sethi used the vilest misogyny against Benazir Bhutto.
They used these tactics against Benazir Bhutto who courageously sacrificed herself for democracy, women’s rights, worker emancipation and education. Similar tactics have been employed against Benazir’s children.
Today, people like Khalil ur Rahman can casually employ misogyny because 3-time, establishment backed prime ministers like Nawaz Sharif have made a career out of their vile misogyny against Benazir Bhutto.