“As history’s pendulum swung. The desert wind calls. Marvi calls. A call the desert wind carries. Children: hear the desert wind, hear it whisper. Have faith. We will win.” – Benazir Bhutto Another year has gone by since the night we lost the “Daughter of the East.” Every year as the dark day of December 27 approaches, when we lost our beloved leader, tributes for Shaheed Benazir Bhutto start pouring in. Discussions on different facets of her life and legacy begin in the social, print and electronic media. But one is common in all the deliberations between her followers and opponents that they cannot help but praise and pay tribute to Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. This feature is extremely rare in Pakistan’s politics where mudslinging on the dead and alive is a norm. But then, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was not an ordinary person or politician. An Oxford graduate who had to join politics reluctantly at a young age, following the politically-motivated execution of her father and former Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto by the dictator Zia-ul-Haq. She had to fill the big shoes and role of her extraordinary father and former Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. She not only had to assume control of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) but also fulfil the responsibility of leading the people of Pakistan, which her father had entrusted to her. And, so she did. With perseverance, foresight, courage and grace that even her worst opponents admitted her contributions towards the growth and development of Pakistan. Shaheed Benazir was a true believer in empowering women and took revolutionary steps to ensure their role in the sustainable development of Pakistan. Among the many precedents she set, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was the youngest and the first twice-elected female Prime Minister of the Muslim world. She is the first and only female Prime Minister of Pakistan, to date. Fighting against the odds, she became a guiding light and a mentor for women not only in Pakistan but globally. She showed young girls that anything is possible with hard work and perseverance. She showcased how the glass ceiling can be broken even in a patriarchal society such as ours. It is no secret that even today, women in politics from different parties try to emulate her style. How she dressed, spoke and carried herself in public is copied by female politicians. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto had all the necessary exposure of both East and the West required for leadership. Under her guidance, the PPP became a symbol of women empowerment and championing their rights despite heavy criticism from the conservative sections of the society. Shaheed Benazir was a true believer in empowering women and took revolutionary steps to ensure their role in the sustainable development of Pakistan. Some of them include: Increased spending on education for the first time since the inception of the country; Creation of 46,000 new schools; Induction of women in the higher judiciary for the first time; Creating employment opportunities for women; The establishment of the first Women Bank, and the formation of a Separate Ministry for Women Affairs. These were the stepping stones to empower the future generations of women in Pakistan. Not just in the socioeconomic domain, she undertook exemplary measures for strengthening the defence sector of the country. The introduction of the missile technology, the expansion of Port Qasim at Karachi, the establishment of a nuclear power plant under a bilateral agreement with China, and many others contributed to ensuring the defence of the country remained impenetrable. Shaheed Benazir was ousted from the government twice and spent many years in exile. But her popularity among the masses remained the same. She continued to rule the hearts of the people. On her 14th death anniversary, I cannot help but reflect on my last journey with her in 2007. I had the honour of accompanying Mohtarma Benazir on the flight to Karachi, with other PPP supporters. The scenes we witnessed on her arrival were emotional and historic. The passion of the multitudes welcoming their beloved leader was unforgettable and has left a permanent imprint on my heart. Even though we tragically lost the great Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007, her impact on the lives of millions that she touched will always be remembered. Her legacy continues to live on and thrive in the form of her children; Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, who are carrying her mission forward to serve Pakistan. Very few people in history have been able to make an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of the people of Pakistan and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto is one of them. In her short lifetime, she wore many hats; she was a humanitarian, philanthropist, politician, first female Muslim prime minister, wife and mother, and is still remembered among the masses for the strength of her character. She brought fame, accolades and showcased perhaps for the first time, the soft image of Pakistan to the world. She did not bow down or give up in the face of adversity but faced them head-on, with courage and dignity. Her legacy of courage, grace and foresight will live forever. The writer is a prominent politician, academician, and practitioner in the areas of regional, international defence, and strategic studies. She tweets @SeharKamran.