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Benazir Bhutto (June 21, 1953--- December 27, 2007)

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan and Chairperson Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)
Benazir Bhutto was born on June 21, 1953 in Karachi, Pakistan to a prominent
political family. Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, having
twice been Prime Minister of Pakistan (1988–1990; 1993–1996).

Early Age

She was the eldest child of former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a Pakistani of Sindhi
extraction and Shia Muslim by faith, and Nusrat Bhutto, a Pakistani of Iranian-
Kurdish extraction, of similarly Shia Muslim by faith. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto founded the
Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and was prime minister from 1971 to 1977. Her
paternal grandfather was Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto who came to Larkana Sindh before
partition from his native town of Bhatto Kalan which was situated in the Indian state
of Haryana. He was one of the most high profile Sindhi politicians under British India
and also served as a ‘dewan’ or the Prime Minister of the state of Junagagh.


Benazir attended the Lady Jennings Nursery School and then the Convent of Jesus
and Mary in Karachi and later the Rawalpindi Presentation Convent. Her education
continued when she was sent to the Jesus and Mary Convent at Murree where she
passed her O-Level examinations at the age of fifteen and her A-Levels were then
taken at the Karachi Grammar School.

At the Age of 16 Benazir’s higher education saw her moving to the United States of
America to the Radcliffe College and ultimately at Harvard University where she
earned a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude in comparative government between
1969 and 1973. Bhutto would later call her time at Harvard "four of the happiest
years of my life" and said it formed "the very basis of her belief in democracy". As
Prime Minister, she arranged a gift from the Pakistani government to Harvard Law

In June 1972 summer before her senior year of college with her father, president
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan, she went in India. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and India's
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi sign Shimla agreement which adjusts cease-fire line
between the two countries and creates new Line of Control.

The next phase of her education took place in the United Kingdom. Between 1973 and
1977 Bhutto studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.
She completed a course in International Law and Diplomacy while at Oxford. In the
meantime in Pakistan New constitution goes into effect; Zulfikar Ali Bhutto becomes
prime minister.
In December 1976 she was elected president of the Oxford Union, becoming the first
Asian woman to head the prestigious debating society.

In 1977 she returned to Pakistan at the age of 24 where her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,
had been elected prime minister, but days after her arrival, the military seized power and
her father was imprisoned. General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq proclaims martial law.

In 1978 she wrote the book "Foreign Policy in Perspective". Zia becomes Pakistan's
sixth president.

In April 4,1979 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged by the military government of
General Zia Ul Haq in the Rawalpindi District jail,where he had been confined since
his conviction in 1978 on charges of conspiring to murder a political opponent four
years earlier. She said her father’s death vigil prepared her for her political career.
Bhutto herself was also arrested many times over the following years, and was
detained for three years.

Ms Bhutto was eager to avenge her father’s death and people who knew the family
predicted that she wants nothing less than to be Prime Minister, no small feat in a
male-dominated Islamic country.

In March 8, 1981 Ms. Bhutto and her mother were arrested in a roundup of political
dissidents after government opponents linked to her brothers hijack a Pakistani
airliner.Ms. Bhutto spended the summer in confinement , then is transferred to house
arrest before finally leaving the country in exile in 1984.

In 1983 Zia announces that martial law will be lifted, says army will retain key role
in future governments and In 1984 Finally she allowed to leave country. she
suffered long periods in detention, during which her health deteriorated. Benazir
provided a detailed account of this traumatic period in her acclaimed autobiography
Daughter of the East (1988)

In July 1985 Benazir Bhutto’s younger brother Shahnawaz killed in cannes France.
The family insisted he was poisoned, but no charges were brought.

In August 29,1985 Ms. Bhutto was placed house arrest, eight days after returning
to Pakistan from self –imposed exile. she had returned to try to assume leadership of
her father’s party, and to mark the death of her younger brother. she returned to
Pakistan for his burial, and was again arrested for participating in anti-government
rallies. She returned to London after her release, and martial law was lifted in
Pakistan at the end of the year.

In April 10, 1986 Ms. Bhutto returned to Pakistan from London to take the reins of
the party her father had founded . Tens of thousands of supporters lined the streets
chanting, “Welcome daughter of Pakistan” and “Benazir brings the revolution”. The
public response to her return was tumultuous, and she publicly called for the
resignation of Zia Ul Haq, whose government had executed her father. She was
elected co-chairwoman of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) along with her mother.

In December 18, 1987 Ms . bhutto’s mother arranged her marriage to Asif Ali
Zardari. In line with the Pakistani and Muslim traditions Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto's
married Mr. Asif Ali Zardari in 1987. Mr Zardari was a prominent businessman and
hails from Nawab shah in Sind. After both the families finalized the relation,
engagement was announced on 29th July 1987, and the couple were married on
December 18, 1987 in Karachi. Mr Asif Ali Zardari has been a Member of Parliament
as well as served as a government minister. He also spent a considerable time in jail
on politically motivated charges.

Speaking about her marriage, while speaking to Los Angeles Times, Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto said,

" For me the choice was not between a love marriage or an arranged marriage but
between agreeing to this or not getting married at all ... An arranged marriage may seem
traditional, but what is not traditional is the fact I'm not abandoning my identity or my
career. If I had thought it might hurt my political career, I know I would never have taken
this step. I would never have gotten married at any stage. I would have never sought
personal happiness at the cost of my country. If people have given their lives for the
cause of freedom and constitutional rule, then I surely could have sacrificed marriage
and children." Source: Tyler Marshall, "Political Maverick Bows to Muslim custom", Los
Angeles Times, 08/07/1987.

The Couple have three children, and the eldest being their son Bilawal, who was born
in September 1988, followed by two daughters Bakhtwar, and Aseefa respectively.
They are pursuing their education.

In August 17, 1988 General Zia,along with the American ambassador to Pakistan
and 28 others, died in a plane crash.

In December 2, 1988 Prime Minister Bhutto was sworn into office, becoming the
first woman and youngest prime minister of a Muslim nation at the age of 35.

In August 6, 1990 Ms. Bhutto’s government was dismissed by the president of

Pakistan after only 20 months in office .The President , Ghulam ishaq Khan ,accused
her administration of corruption nepostism and other acts “I contravention of the
Constitution and the law”. Ms. Bhutto blamed the military for her ouster.

In October 25, 1990 In an election that Ms. Bhutto had hoped to win to vindicate
herself after her dismissal , her opponents, the Islamic Democratic Alliance , won a
clear majority.The party was led by Nawaz Sharif, the chief minister of the province
of Punjab.

In 1993 after more than 2 years of political battling, Ms. Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s
Party captured the most seats in parliamentary elections.

In November 5, 1996 Pakistan’s president dismissed Ms. Bhutto as head of the

government, justifying the action with a proclamation that depicted her
administration as incompetent , corrupt and defiant of constitutional restraints on
executive power. Ms. Bhutto was placed under house arrest, and her husband ,
widely accused of enriching himself with kickbacks on government contracts , was
said to have been arrested while trying to flee the country.

In April 15, 1999 a Pakistani court convicts Ms. Bhutto of having taken kickbacks
while in office. She was sentenced to five years in prison and barred from holding
political office.The court also sentences her husband, already jailed and awaiting trial
on separate charges, to five years, and fines them $8.6 million. Ms.Bhutto, in London
at the time the sentences are handed down, denied all the charges but remains in
self –exile.

In April 6, 2001 Pakistan’s Supreme Court sets aside the convictions and orders a
retrial for Ms. Bhutto and her imprisoned husband.

In November 22, 2004 Ms. Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was released on
$16,900 bail after eight years in prison.

In October 4, 2007 the Government of Gen. Pervez. Musharaf announced an

American-brokered accord that includes amnesty for Ms. Bhutto, clearing the way for
the general to run for re-election as president and for Ms. Bhutto to return to
Pakistan for parliamentary elections.

In October 18, 2007 Ms. Bhutto returned to a tumultuous welcome in her home
city of Karachi. As hundreds of thousands of supporters lined the streets, two huge
blasts exploded feet from the truck in which she was traveling. Ms. Bhutto was
unhurt but the death toll climbs over 100, with hundreds more wounded.

In November 13, 2007 after General Musharraf declared emergency rule,

hundreds of riot police blocked Ms. Bhutto and her supporters from making a
planned long march from Lahore to Islamabad. Police had also prevented a rally
Planned in Rawalpindi four days earlier.

In December 27, 2007 Ms. Bhutto, who was appearing at a political rally in
Rawalpindi, was fired upon by a gunman at close range, quickly followed by a blast
that the government says was caused by a suicide attacker.


Honorary Doctorate of Law, L.L.D Harvard University (1989)

Honorary Doctorate of Law (Honoris Causa), University of Sindh (1994)

Honorary Doctorate from Mendanao State University, Philippines (1995)

Honorary Doctorate of Law (Honoris Causa), Peshawar University (1995)

Honorary Doctorate of Economics, Gakushuin University, Tokyo (1996)

Honorary Fellowship by Lady Margaret Hall, University Oxford, (1989)

Honorary Fellowship by St. Catherine College, University of Oxford, (1989)

Honorary Professor of the Kyrghyz State National University (1995) Kyrghyzstan.

Honorary Professor of Yassavi Kazakh Turkish University, Kazakh-Turkish

International Language University, Kazakhstan, 1995.

Honorable Member of OHYUKAI, Alumni Association of Gakushuin, conferred by

OHYUKAI Tokyo (1996).

Awarded the 2000 Millennium Medal of Honor by American Biographical Institute,

Inc. in November 1998. Awarded American Academy Award of Achievement in
London, October 28, 2000

Bruno Kreisky Award of Merit in human Rights, 1988.

Honorary Phi Beta Kappa Award (1989), presented by Radcliffe College.

Highest Moroccan Award "Grand Cordon de Wissam Alaoui"

Highest French Award "Grand-croix de la Legion Honneur" (1989)

The Noel Foundation Award, 1990 (UNIFEM).

The Gakushuin Honorary Award, Tokyo (1996)

Award by the Turkish Independent Industries and Businessmen Association

(MUSAID) on account of providing assistance to the people of Bosnia.

Golden medal Dragon of Bosnia awarded by President of Bosnia (1996)

Key to the city of Los Angeles, presented by the Mayor of Los Angeles (1995)

Presidential Medal, Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Science (1995)

Medal by University of California at Los Angeles (1995)

International Woman of the Year – in Dubai 2006


Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto is the author of two books "Foreign Policy in Perspective"
(1978) and her autobiography, "Daughter of the East" (1989 and revised edition
2007). Several collections of her speeches and works have been compiled which
include "The Way Out", Pakistan Foreign Policy, Challenges and Responses in the
Post-Cold War era in "After the Cold War" by Keith Philip Lepor and Male Domination
of Women offends her Islamic religion in "Lend Me Your ears: Great Speeches in
History" by William Saffire. The most recent being "The Way Out" (1980). She has
also contributed to many periodicals and to the books, "Predictions for the Next
Millenium" by Kristof and Nickerson and "Book of Hopes and Dreams" published by
Bookmaster Inc.