BARCELONA - If you are a Bhutto lover, a pleasant surprise awaits you around the tram station in Sant Adria De Besos area of Spain’s Barcelona city — a street named after two-time former prime minister late Benazir Bhutto. The street is known as ‘Carrer de Benazir Bhutto’, a tribute to the first Muslim woman prime minister who was assassinated in 2007. For most of the Pakistanis who visit Barcelona, the place has become a must-visit.  Benazir Bhutto, born on June 21, 1953 and assassinated on December 27, 2007, served as the prime minister from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996.

She was the first woman to head a democratic government in a Muslim-majority nation. She chaired or co-chaired the Pakistan People’s Party from the early 1980s – after her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s execution in 1979 - until her death.

The charismatic late PPP leader won many awards during her lifetime but naming a place in another country is a rare recognition. It does not only mean a street but dozens of Spanish people have the address ‘Carrer de Benazir Bhutto’ stamped in their passports.

The PPP government (2008-13) had named an airport, a hospital and a prominent road after her to acknowledge her services to the nation.

PPP Europe Information Secretary Hafiz Abdul Razzaq Sadiq told The Nation that the street was formally named as ‘Carrer de Benazir Bhutto’ in 2009 as a result of his struggle.

“I worked on this and with the support of other friends, we managed to win this case,” said Sadiq, who is also the Vice-President of the ruling socialist party’s National Council of Barcelona.

The socialist leader said the Spainish government had formed a committee to decide if the street should be named after Benazir Bhutto or not. “The 10-member committee voted heavily in favour of the proposal. Nine members backed our resolution paving the way for a formal notification,” he maintained.

Sadiq, a former candidate for Spanish parliament membership, said several other streets in Barcelona had also been named after known world women leaders to recognize their services.

Spain has been renaming hundreds of streets that were named after men - specifically men from the era of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco - and naming them for women instead. And not just Spanish women, either. Out go fascist, Francoist colonels, and in-come new, notable women ranging from Rosa Parks to Greek mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria.

In Spain, many streets are named for people, with a few excellent choices: Barcelona has a Plaça George Orwell and a Plaça John Lennon. But while male-named streets get proper historical figures, most female-named streets are named after saints and virgins.

In Leon, a city in Spain’s Castilian heartland, fewer than 5% of streets have women’s names.