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Benazir Bhutto Biography

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Benazir Bhutto (June 21, 1953 – December 27, 2007) was a Pakistani politician who chaired the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), a centre-left political party in Pakistan. Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, having twice been Prime Minister of Pakistan (1988–1990; 

Bhutto was the eldest child of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a Pakistani of 
Sindhi descent (Arain) and Shia Muslim by faith, and Begum Nusrat Bhutto, a Pakistani of 
Iranian-Kurdish descent, similarly Shia Muslim by faith. Her paternal grandfather was Sir 
Shah Nawaz Bhutto, who came to Larkana District in Sindh before the partition from his 
native town of Bhatto Kalan, which was situated in the Indian state of Haryana.

Bhutto was sworn in for the first time in 1988 at the age of 35, but was removed from
office 20 months later under the order of then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan on grounds of 
alleged corruption. In 1993 Bhutto was re-elected but was again removed in 1996 on similar 
charges, this time by President Farooq Leghari. Bhutto went into self-imposed exile in 
Dubai in 1998.

Bhutto returned to Pakistan on October 18, 2007, after reaching an understanding with 
President Pervez Musharraf by which she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were 
withdrawn. She was assassinated on December 27, 2007, after departing a PPP rally in the 
Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, two weeks before the scheduled Pakistani general election of 
2008 where she was a leading opposition candidate.

Education and personal life

Benazir Bhutto was born to Begum Nusrat Ispahani, and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of a prominent 
Shia Muslim family of Larkana, in Karachi, Dominion of Pakistan, on June 21, 1953. She 
attended the Lady Jennings Nursery School and then the Convent of Jesus and Mary in 
Karachi. After two years of schooling at the Rawalpindi Presentation Convent, she was 
sent to the Jesus and Mary Convent at Murree. She passed her O-level examinations at the 
age of 15. She then went on to complete her A-Levels at the Karachi Grammar School.

After completing her early education in Pakistan, she pursued her higher education in the 
United States. From 1969 to 1973 she attended Radcliffe College at Harvard University, 
where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree with cum laude honors in comparative 
government. She was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa. 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 School.

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, during 
which time she completed additional courses in International Law and Diplomacy. After 
LMH she attend St Catherine's College, Oxford[11] and in December 1976 she was elected 
president of the Oxford Union, becoming the first Asian woman to head the prestigious 
debating society.

On December 18, 1987, she married Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi. The couple had three 
children: Bilawal, Bakhtwar and Aseefa.


Benazir Bhutto's father, former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was removed from office 
following a military coup in 1977 led by the then military chief General Muhammad 
Zia-ul-Haq, who imposed martial law but promised to hold elections within three months. But 
later, instead of fulfilling the promise of holding general elections, General Zia charged 
Mr. Bhutto with conspiring to murder the father of dissident politician Ahmed Raza Kasuri. 
Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was sentenced to death by the martial law court.

Despite the accusation being "widely doubted by the public", and despite many clemency 
appeals from foreign leaders, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged on April 4, 1979. Appeals for 
clemency were dismissed by acting President General Zia. Benazir Bhutto and her mother were 
held in a "police camp" until the end of May, after the execution.

In 1985, Benazir Bhutto's brother Shahnawaz was killed under suspicious circumstances in 
France. The killing of another of her brothers, Mir Murtaza, in 1996, contributed to 
destabilizing her second term as Prime Minister.

Prime Minister

Benazir Bhutto on a visit to Washington, D.C. in 1988Bhutto, who had returned to Pakistan 
after completing her studies, found herself placed under house arrest in the wake of her 
father's imprisonment and subsequent execution. Having been allowed in 1984 to return to 
the United Kingdom, she became a leader in exile of the PPP, her father's party, though she 
was unable to make her political presence felt in Pakistan until after the death of General 
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. She had succeeded her mother as leader of the PPP and the 
pro-democracy opposition to the Zia-ul-Haq regime.

On November 16, 1988, in the first open election in more than a decade, Bhutto's PPP won 
the largest bloc of seats in the National Assembly. Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister 
of a coalition government on December 2, becoming at age 35 the youngest person—and the 
first woman—to head the government of a Muslim-majority state in modern times. In 1989, she 
was awarded the Prize For Freedom by the Liberal International. Bhutto's accomplishments 
during this time were in initiatives for nationalist reform and modernization, that some
conservatives characterized as Westernization. Bhutto's government was dismissed in 1990 
following charges of corruption, for which she was never tried. Zia's protégé Nawaz Sharif 
came to power after the October 1990 elections. She served as leader of the opposition 
while Sharif served as Prime Minister for the next three years.

Elections were held again in October 1993 and her PPP coalition was victorious, returning 
Bhutto to office. She continued with her reform initiatives. In 1996, amidst various 
corruption scandals Bhutto was dismissed by then-president Farooq Leghari, who used the 
Eighth Amendment discretionary powers to dissolve the government. The Supreme Court 
affirmed President Leghari's dismissal in a 6-1 ruling. Criticism against Bhutto came 
from the Punjabi elites and powerful landlord families who opposed Bhutto. She blamed this 
opposition for the destabilization of Pakistan. Irshad Manji judged her attempts to 
modernize Pakistan a failure. Musharraf characterized Bhutto's terms as an "era of sham 
democracy" and others characterized her terms a period of corrupt, failed governments.

Policies for women

During the election campaigns the Bhutto government voiced its concern for women's social 
and health issues, including the issue of discrimination against women. Bhutto announced 
plans to establish women's police stations, courts, and women's development banks. Despite 
these plans, Bhutto did not propose any legislation to improve welfare services for women. 
During her election campaigns, she promised to repeal controversial laws (such as Hudood 
and Zina ordinances) that curtail the rights of women in Pakistan, but the party did not 
fulfill these promises during her tenures as Prime Minister, due to immense pressure from 
the opposition.

After Bhutto's stints as Prime Minister, during General Musharraf's regime, her party did 
initiate legislation to repeal the Zina ordinance. These efforts were defeated by the 
right-wing religious parties that dominated the legislatures at the time.

Bhutto was an active and founding member of the Council of Women World Leaders, a network 
of current and former prime ministers and presidents.

Policy on Taliban

The Taliban took power in Kabul in September 1996. It was during Bhutto's rule that the 
Taliban gained prominence in Afghanistan. She, like many leaders at the time, viewed 
the Taliban as a group that could stabilize Afghanistan and enable trade access to the 
Central Asian republics, according to author Stephen Coll. He claims that like the 
United States, her government provided military and financial support for the Taliban, even 
sending a small unit of the Pakistani army into Afghanistan.

More recently, she took an anti-Taliban stance, and condemned terrorist acts allegedly 
committed by the Taliban and their supporters.

Charges of corruption

French, Polish, Spanish, and Swiss documents have fueled the charges of corruption against 
Bhutto and her husband. Bhutto and her husband faced a number of legal proceedings, 
including a charge of laundering money through Swiss banks. Though never convicted, her 
husband, Asif Ali Zardari, spent eight years in prison on similar corruption charges. After 
being released on bail in 2004, Zardari suggested that his time in prison involved torture; 
human rights groups have supported his claim that his rights were violated.

A 1998 New York Times investigative report claims that Pakistani investigators have 
documents that uncover a network of bank accounts, all linked to the family's lawyer in 
Switzerland, with Asif Zardari as the principal shareholder. According to the article, 
documents released by the French authorities indicated that Zardari offered exclusive 
rights to Dassault, a French aircraft manufacturer, to replace the air force's fighter jets 
in exchange for a 5% commission to be paid to a Swiss corporation controlled by Zardari. 
The article also said a Dubai company received an exclusive license to import gold into 
Pakistan for which Asif Zardari received payments of more than $10 million into his 
Dubai-based Citibank accounts. The owner of the company denied that he had made payments to 
Zardari and claims the documents were forged.

Bhutto maintained that the charges levelled against her and her husband were purely 
political. An Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) report supports Bhutto's claim. It 
presents information suggesting that Benazir Bhutto was ousted from power in 1990 as a 
result of a witch hunt approved by then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan. The AGP report says 
Khan illegally paid legal advisers 28 million rupees to file 19 corruption cases against 
Bhutto and her husband in 1990-92.

Yet the assets held by Bhutto and her husband continue to be scrutinized and speculated 
about. The prosecutors have alleged that their Swiss bank accounts contain £740 
million. Zardari also bought a neo-Tudor mansion and estate worth over £4 million in 
Surrey, England, UK. The Pakistani investigations have tied other overseas 
properties to Zardari's family. These include a $2.5 million manor in Normandy owned by 
Zardari's parents, who had modest assets at the time of his marriage. Bhutto denied 
holding substantive overseas assets.


On July 23, 1998, the Swiss Government handed over documents to the government of Pakistan 
which relate to corruption allegations against Benazir Bhutto and her husband. The 
documents included a formal charge of money laundering by Swiss authorities against
Zardari. The Pakistani government had been conducting a wide-ranging inquiry to account for 
more than $13.7 million frozen by Swiss authorities in 1997 that was allegedly stashed in 
banks by Bhutto and her husband. The Pakistani government recently filed criminal charges 
against Bhutto in an effort to track down an estimated $1.5 billion she and her husband are 
alleged to have received in a variety of criminal enterprises. The documents suggest 
that the money Zardari was alleged to have laundered was accessible to Benazir Bhutto and 
had been used to buy a diamond necklace for over $175,000. The PPP has responded by 
flatly denying the charges, suggesting that Swiss authorities have been misled by false 
evidence provided by the Government of Pakistan.

On August 6, 2003, Swiss magistrates found Bhutto and her husband guilty of money 
laundering. They were given six-month suspended jail terms, fined $50,000 each and were 
ordered to pay $11 million to the Pakistani government. The six-year trial concluded that 
Bhutto and Zardari deposited in Swiss accounts $10 million given to them by a Swiss company 
in exchange for a contract in Pakistan. The couple said they would appeal. The Pakistani 
investigators say Zardari opened a Citibank account in Geneva in 1995 through which they 
say he passed some $40 million of the $100 million he received in payoffs from foreign 
companies doing business in Pakistan. In October 2007, Daniel Zappelli, chief 
prosecutor of the canton of Geneva, said he received the conclusions of a money laundering 
investigation against former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on October 29, but it 
was unclear whether there would be any further legal action against her in Switzerland.


The Polish Government has given Pakistan 500 pages of documentation relating to corruption 
allegations against Benazir Bhutto and her husband. These charges are in regard to the 
purchase of 8,000 tractors in a 1997 deal. According to Pakistani officials, the
Polish papers contain details of illegal commissions paid by the tractor company in return 
for agreeing to their contract.[35] It was alleged that the arrangement "skimmed" Rs 103 mn 
rupees ($2 million) in kickbacks. "The documentary evidence received from Poland 
confirms the scheme of kickbacks laid out by Asif Zardari and Benazir Bhutto in the name of 
(the) launching of Awami tractor scheme", APP said. Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari allegedly 
received a 7.15% commission on the purchase through their front men, Jens Schlegelmilch and 
Didier Plantin of Dargal S.A., who received about $1.969 million for supplying 5,900 Ursus 


Potentially the most lucrative deal alleged in the documents involved the effort by 
Dassault Aviation, a French military contractor. French authorities indicated in 1998 that 
Bhutto's husband, Zardari, offered exclusive rights to Dassault to replace the air force’s 
fighter jets in exchange for a five percent commission to be paid to a corporation in 
Switzerland controlled by Zardari.

At the time, French corruption laws forbade bribery of French officials but permitted 
payoffs to foreign officials, and even made the payoffs tax-deductible in France. However, 
France changed this law in 2000.

Western Asia

In the largest single payment investigators have uncovered, a gold bullion dealer in 
Western Asia was alleged to have deposited at least $10 million into one of Zardari's 
accounts after the Bhutto government gave him a monopoly on gold imports that sustained 
Pakistan's jewelery industry. The money was allegedly deposited into Zardari's Citibank 
account in Dubai. Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast, stretching from Karachi to the border with 
Iran, has long been a gold smugglers' haven. Until the beginning of Bhutto's second term, 
the trade, running into hundreds of millions of dollars a year, was unregulated, with 
slivers of gold called biscuits, and larger weights in bullion, carried on planes and boats 
that travel between the Persian Gulf and the largely unguarded Pakistani coast.

Shortly after Bhutto returned as prime minister in 1993, a Pakistani bullion trader in 
Dubai, Abdul Razzak Yaqub, proposed a deal: in return for the exclusive right to import 
gold, Razzak would help the government regularize the trade. In November 1994, Pakistan's 
Commerce Ministry wrote to Razzak informing him that he had been granted a license that 
made him, for at least the next two years, Pakistan's sole authorized gold importer. In an 
interview in his office in Dubai, Razzak acknowledged that he had used the license to 
import more than $500 million in gold into Pakistan, and that he had travelled to Islamabad 
several times to meet with Bhutto and Zardari. But he denied that there had been any
corruption or secret deals. "I have not paid a single cent to Zardari," he said. Razzak 
claims that someone in Pakistan who wished to destroy his reputation had contrived to have 
his company wrongly identified as the depositor. "Somebody in the bank has cooperated with 
my enemies to make false documents," he said.

Bhutto's niece and others have publicly accused Bhutto of complicity in the killing of her 
brother Murtaza Bhutto in 1996 by uniformed police officers while she was Prime 

Early 2000s in exile

In 2002, Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf amended Pakistan's constitution to ban prime 
ministers from serving more than two terms. This disqualified Bhutto from ever holding the 
office again. This move was widely considered to be a direct attack on former prime 
ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. On August 3, 2003, Bhutto became a member of 
Minhaj ul Quran International (an international Muslim educational and welfare 

While living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, she cared for her three children and her 
mother, who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease, traveling to give lectures and keeping 
in touch with the PPP's supporters. They were reunited with her husband in December 2004 
after more than five years. In 2006, Interpol issued a request for the
arrest of Bhutto and her husband on corruption charges, at the request of Pakistan. The 
Bhuttos questioned the legality of the requests in a letter to Interpol.On January 27, 
2007, she was invited by the United States to speak to President George W. Bush and
Congressional and State Department officials.[53] Bhutto appeared as a panellist on the BBC 
TV programme Question Time in the UK in March 2007. She has also appeared on BBC current 
affairs programme Newsnight on several occasions. She rebuffed comments made by Muhammad 
Ijaz-ul-Haq in May 2007 regarding the knighthood of Salman Rushdie, citing that he was 
calling for the assassination of foreign citizens.

Bhutto had declared her intention to return to Pakistan within 2007, which she did, in 
spite of Musharraf's statements of May 2007 about not allowing her to return ahead of the 
country's general election, due late 2007 or early 2008. It was speculated that she may 
have been offered the office of Prime Minister again.

Arthur Herman, a U.S. historian, in a controversial letter published in The Wall Street 
Journal on June 14, 2007, in response to an article by Bhutto highly critical of the 
president and his policies, described her as "One of the most incompetent leaders in the 
history of South Asia", and asserted that she and other elites in Pakistan hate Musharraf 
because he was a muhajir, the son of one of millions of Indian Muslims who fled to Pakistan 
during partition in 1947. Herman claimed, "Although it was muhajirs who agitated for the 
creation of Pakistan in the first place, many native Pakistanis view them with contempt and 
treat them as third-class citizens."

Nonetheless, by mid-2007, the US appeared to be pushing for a deal in which Musharraf would 
remain as president but step down as military head, and either Bhutto or one of her 
nominees would become prime minister.

On July 11, 2007, the Associated Press, in an article about the possible aftermath of the 
Red Mosque incident, wrote:

Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister and opposition leader expected by many to return 
from exile and join Musharraf in a power-sharing deal after year-end general elections, 
praised him for taking a tough line on the Red Mosque. I'm glad there was no cease-fire 
with the militants in the mosque because cease-fires simply embolden the militants," she 
told Britain's Sky TV on Tuesday. "There will be a backlash, but at some time we have to 
stop appeasing the militants."

This remark about the Red Mosque was seen with dismay in Pakistan as reportedly hundreds of 
young students were burned to death and remains are untraceable and cases are being heard 
in Pakistani supreme court as a missing persons issue. This and subsequent support for 
Musharaf led Elder Bhutto's comrades like Khar to criticize her publicly.

Bhutto however advised Musharraf in an early phase of the latter's quarrel with the Chief 
Justice, to restore him. Her PPP did not capitalize on its CEC member, Aitzaz Ahsan, the 
chief Barrister for the Chief Justice, in successful restoration. Rather he was seen as a
rival and was isolated.

2002 election

The Bhutto-led PPP secured the highest number of votes (28.42%) and eighty seats (23.16%) 
in the national assembly in the October 2002 general elections. Pakistan Muslim League 
(N) (PML-N) managed to win eighteen seats only. Some of the elected candidates of PPP 
formed a faction of their own, calling it PPP-Patriots which was being led by Makhdoom 
Faisal Saleh Hayat, the former leader of Bhutto-led PPP. They later formed a coalition 
government with Musharraf's party, PML-Q.

Return to Pakistan and assassination attempts

Possible deal with the Musharraf Government
In mid-2002 Musharraf implemented a two-term limit on Prime Ministers. Both Bhutto and 
Musharraf's other chief rival, Nawaz Sharif, have already served two terms as Prime 
Minister. Musharraf's allies in parliament, especially the PMLQ, are unlikely to 
reverse the changes to allow Prime Ministers to seek third terms, nor to make particular 
exceptions for either Bhutto or Sharif.

In July 2007, some of Bhutto's frozen funds were released. Bhutto continued to face 
significant charges of corruption. In an 8 August 2007 interview with the Canadian 
Broadcasting Corporation, Bhutto revealed the meeting focused on her desire to return to 
Pakistan for the 2008 elections, and of Musharraf retaining the Presidency with Bhutto as 
Prime Minister. On August 29, 2007, Bhutto announced that Musharraf would step down as 
chief of the army. On 1 September Bhutto vowed to return to Pakistan "very soon", 
regardless of whether or not she reached a power-sharing deal with Musharraf before

On September 17, 2007, Bhutto accused Musharraf's allies of pushing Pakistan into crisis by 
their refusal to permit democratic reforms and power-sharing. A nine-member panel of 
Supreme Court judges deliberated on six petitions (including one from Jamaat-e-Islami, 
Pakistan's largest Islamic group) asserting that Musharraf be disqualified from contending 
for the presidency of Pakistan. Bhutto stated that her party could join one of the 
opposition groups, potentially that of Nawaz Sharif. Attorney-general Malik Mohammed Qayyum 
stated that, pendente lite, the Election Commission was "reluctant" to announce the 
schedule for the presidential vote. Bhutto's party's Farhatullah Babar stated that the 
Constitution of Pakistan could bar Musharraf from being elected again because he was
already chief of the army: "As Gen. Musharraf was disqualified from contesting for 
President, he has prevailed upon the Election Commission to arbitrarily and illegally 
tamper with the Constitution of Pakistan."

Musharraf prepared to switch to a strictly civilian role by resigning from his position as
commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He still faced other legal obstacles to running for 
re-election. On October 2, 2007, Gen. Musharraf named Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, as vice chief 
of the army starting October 8 with the intent that if Musharraf won the presidency and 
resigned his military post, Kayani would become chief of the army. Meanwhile, Minister 
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed stated that officials agreed to grant Benazir Bhutto amnesty versus 
pending corruption charges. She has emphasized the smooth transition and return to civilian 
rule and has asked Pervez Musharaf to shed uniform. On October 5, 2007, Musharraf 
signed the National Reconciliation Ordinance, giving amnesty to Bhutto and other political 
leaders—except exiled former premier Nawaz Sharif—in all court cases against them, 
including all corruption charges. The Ordinance came a day before Musharraf faced the 
crucial presidential poll. Both Bhutto's opposition party, the PPP, and the ruling PMLQ, 
were involved in negotiations beforehand about the deal. In return, Bhutto and the PPP 
agreed not to boycott the Presidential election. On October 6, 2007, Musharraf won a 
parliamentary election for President. However, the Supreme Court ruled that no winner can 
be officially proclaimed until it finishes deciding on whether it was legal for Musharraf 
to run for President while remaining Army General. Bhutto's PPP party did not join the
other opposition parties' boycott of the election, but did abstain from voting. Later, 
Bhutto demanded security coverage on-par with the President's. Bhutto also contracted 
foreign security firms for her protection.


While under house arrest, Benazir Bhutto speaks to supporters outside her house.Bhutto was 
well aware of the risk to her own life that might result from her return from exile to 
campaign for the leadership position. In an interview on September 28, 2007, with reporter 
Wolf Blitzer of CNN, she readily admitted the possibility of attack on herself.

After eight years in exile in Dubai and London, Bhutto returned to Karachi on October 18, 
2007, to prepare for the 2008 national elections.

En route to a rally in Karachi on October 18, 2007, two explosions occurred shortly after 
Bhutto had landed and left Jinnah International Airport. She was not injured but the 
explosions, later found to be a suicide-bomb attack, killed 136 people and injured at least 
450. The dead included at least 50 of the security guards from her PPP who had formed a 
human chain around her truck to keep potential bombers away, as well as 6 police officers. 
A number of senior officials were injured. Bhutto, after nearly 10 hours of the parade 
through Karachi, ducked back down into the steel command center to remove her sandals from 
her swollen feet, moments before the bomb went off. She was escorted unharmed from the 

Bhutto later claimed that she had warned the Pakistani government that suicide bomb squads 
would target her upon her return to Pakistan and that the government had failed to act. She 
was careful not to blame Pervez Musharraf for the attacks, accusing instead "certain 
individuals [within the government] who abuse their positions, who abuse their powers" to 
advance the cause of Islamic militants. Shortly after the attempt on her life, Bhutto wrote 
a letter to Musharraf naming four persons whom she suspected of carrying out the attack. 
Those named included Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, a rival PML-Q politician and chief minister of 
Pakistan's Punjab province, Hamid Gul, former director of the Inter-Services Intelligence, 
and Ijaz Shah, the director general of the Intelligence Bureau, another of the country’s 
intelligence agencies. All those named are close associates of General Musharraf. Bhutto 
has a long history of accusing parts of the government, particularly Pakistan’s premier 
military intelligence agencies, of working against her and her party because they oppose 
her liberal, secular agenda. Bhutto claimed that the ISI has for decades backed militant 
Islamic groups in Kashmir and in Afghanistan. She was protected by her vehicle and a 
"human cordon" of supporters who had anticipated suicide attacks and formed a chain around 
her to prevent potential bombers from getting near her. The total number of injured, 
according to PPP sources, stood at 1000, with at least 160 dead (The New York Times claims 
134 dead and about 450 injured).

A few days later, Bhutto's lawyer Senator Farooq H. Naik said he received a letter 
threatening to kill his client. The letter also claims to have links with al-Qaeda and 
followers of Osama bin Laden.

2007 State of Emergency and response

Main article: 2007 Pakistani state of emergency
On November 3, 2007, President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency, citing 
actions by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and religious extremism in the nation. Bhutto 
returned to the country, interrupting a visit to family in Dubai. She was greeted by 
supporters chanting slogans at the airport. After staying in her plane for several hours
she was driven to her home in Lahore, accompanied by hundreds of supporters. While
acknowledging that Pakistan faced a political crisis, she noted that Musharraf's 
declaration of emergency, unless lifted, would make it very difficult to have fair 
elections. She commented that "The extremists need a dictatorship, and dictatorship needs 

On November 8, 2007, Bhutto was placed under house arrest just a few hours before she was 
due to lead and address a rally against the state of emergency.

During a telephone interview with National Public Radio in the United States, Ms. Bhutto 
said "I have freedom of movement within the house. I don't have freedom of movement outside 
the house. They've got a heavy police force inside the house, and we've got a very heavy 
police force - 4,000 policemen around the four walls of my house, 1,000 on each. They've 
even entered the neighbors' house. And I was just telling one of the policemen, I said
'should you be here after us? Shouldn't you be looking for Osama bin Laden?' And he said, 
'I'm sorry, ma'am, this is our job. We're just doing what we are told.'"

The following day, the Pakistani government announced that Bhutto's arrest warrant had been 
withdrawn and that she would be free to travel and to appear at public rallies. However, 
leaders of other opposition political parties remained prohibited from speaking in public.

Preparation for 2008 elections

On November 24, 2007, Bhutto filed her nomination papers for January's Parliamentary 
elections; two days later, she filed papers in the Larkana constituency for two regular 
seats. She did so as former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, following seven years of 
exile in Saudi Arabia, made his much-contested return to Pakistan and bid for 

When sworn in again on November 30, 2007, this time as a civilian president after 
relinquishing his post as military chief, Musharraf announced his plan to lift the 
Pakistan's state of emergency rule on December 16. Bhutto welcomed the announcement and 
launched a manifesto outlining her party's domestic issues. Bhutto told journalists in 
Islamabad that her party, the PPP, would focus on "the five E's": employment, education, 
energy, environment, equality.

On December 4, 2007, Bhutto met with Nawaz Sharif to publicize their demand that Musharraf 
fulfill his promise to lift the state of emergency before January's parliamentary 
elections, threatening to boycott the vote if he failed to comply. They promised to 
assemble a committee which would present to Musharraf the list of demands upon which their 
participation in the election was contingent.

On December 8, 2007, three unidentified gunmen stormed Bhutto's PPP office in the southern 
western province of Baluchistan. Three of Bhutto's supporters were killed.


On December 27, 2007, Bhutto was killed while leaving a campaign rally for the PPP at 
Liaquat National Bagh, where she had given a spirited address to party supporters in the 
run-up to the January 2008 parliamentary elections. After entering her bulletproof vehicle, 
Bhutto stood up through its sunroof to wave to the crowds. At this point, a gunman fired 
shots at her and subsequently explosives were detonated near the vehicle killing 
approximately 20 people. Bhutto was critically wounded and was rushed to Rawalpindi 
General Hospital. She was taken into surgery at 17:35 local time, and pronounced dead at 

Bhutto's body was flown to her hometown of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in Larkana District, Sindh, 
and was buried next to her father in the family mausoleum at a ceremony attended by 
hundreds of thousands of mourners.

There was some disagreement about the exact cause of death. Bhutto's husband refused to 
permit an autopsy or post-mortem examination to be carried out. On December 28, 2007, 
the Interior Ministry of Pakistan stated that "Bhutto was killed when she tried to duck 
back into the vehicle, and the shock waves from the blast knocked her head into a lever 
attached to the sunroof, fracturing her skull".  However, a hospital spokesman stated 
earlier that she had suffered shrapnel wounds to the head and that this was the cause of 
her death. Bhutto's aides have also disputed the Interior Ministry's 
account. On December 31st, CNN posted the alleged emergency room admission report as 
a PDF file. The document appears to have been signed by all the admitting physicians and 
notes that no object was found inside the wound.

Al-Qaeda commander Mustafa Abu al-Yazid claimed responsibility for the attack, describing 
Bhutto as "the most precious American asset." The Pakistani government also stated 
that it had proof that al-Qaeda was behind the assassination. A report for CNN stated: "the 
Interior Ministry also earlier told Pakistan's Geo TV that the suicide bomber belonged to 
Lashkar i Jhangvi — an al-Qaeda-linked militant group that the government has blamed for 
hundreds of killings". The government of Pakistan claimed Baitullah Mehsud was the 
mastermind behind the assassination. Lashkar i Jhangvi, a Wahabi Muslim extremist 
organization affiliated with al-Qaeda that also attempted in 1999 to assassinate former 
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is alleged to have been responsible for the killing of the 
54-year-old Bhutto along with approximately 20 bystanders, however this is vigorously 
disputed by the Bhutto family, by the PPP that Bhutto had headed and by Baitullah 
Mehsud.[110] On January 3, 2008, President Musharraf officially denied participating in the 
assassination of Benazir Bhutto as well as failing to provide her proper security.

Reaction in Pakistan

After the assassination, there were initially a number of riots resulting in approximately 
20 deaths, of whom three were police officers. Around 250 cars were burnt; angry and upset 
supporters of Bhutto threw rocks outside the hospital where she was being held. 
Through December 29, 2007, the Pakistani government said rioters had wrecked nine election 
offices, 176 banks, 34 gas stations, 72 train cars, 18 rail stations, and hundreds of cars 
and shops. Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the rival opposition party Pakistan Muslim 
League (N), stated that "This is a tragedy for her party, and a tragedy for our party and 
the entire nation." President Musharraf decreed a three-day period of mourning.

On December 30, 2007, at a news conference following a meeting of the PPP leadership, 
Bhutto's widower Asif Ali Zardari and son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced that 19-year-old 
Bilawal will succeed his mother as titular head of the party, with his father effectively 
running the party until his son completes his studies at Christ Church, Oxford. "When I 
return, I promise to lead the party as my mother wanted me to," Bilawal said. The PPP 
called for parliamentary elections to take place as scheduled on January 8, 2008, and Asif 
Ali Zardari said that vice-chair Makhdoom Amin Fahim would probably be the party's 
candidate for prime minister. (Bilawal is not of legal age to stand for parliament.)

On December 30, Bhutto's political party, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), called for the 
UK Government and the United Nations to help conduct the investigation of her death.
Bilawal Bhutto has been appointed chairman of his late mother's opposition political party 
in Pakistan. Bilawal is only 19 years old. On February 5, 2008 the PPP released Ms 
Bhutto's political will which she wrote two weeks before returning to Pakistan and only 12 
weeks before she was killed, stating that her husband Asif Ali Zardari would be the leader 
of the party, until a new leader is elected.

International reaction

The international reaction to Bhutto's assassination was of strong condemnation across the 
international community. The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting and unanimously 
condemned the assassination. Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa stated that, "We 
condemn this assassination and terrorist act, and pray for God Almighty to bless her 
soul." India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was "deeply shocked and horrified 
to hear of the heinous assassination of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto. My heartfelt condolences 
go to her family and the people of Pakistan who have suffered a grievous blow."
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated, "Benazir Bhutto may have been killed by 
terrorists but the terrorists must not be allowed to kill democracy in Pakistan and this 
atrocity strengthens our resolve that terrorists will not win there, here or anywhere in 
the world." European Commission President José Manuel Barroso condemned the 
assassination as "an attack against democracy and against Pakistan," and " that 
Pakistan will remain firmly on track for return to democratic civilian rule." U.S. 
President George W. Bush condemned the assassination as a "cowardly act by murderous 
extremists," and encouraged Pakistan to "honor Benazir Bhutto's memory by continuing with 
the democratic process for which she so bravely gave her life." Vatican Secretary of 
State Tarcisio Bertone expressed the sadness of Pope Benedict XVI, saying that "the Holy 
Father expresses sentiments of deep sympathy and spiritual closeness to the members of her 
family and to the entire Pakistani nation." Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin 
Gang said that China was "shocked at the killing of Pakistan's opposition leader Benazir 
Bhutto" and "strongly condemns the terrorist attack."

Scotland Yard investigation

British detectives were asked by the Pakistan Government to investigate the assassination. 
Although expressing reservations as to the difficulty in investigating due to the crime 
scene having been hosed down and Asif Zardari refusing permission for a post mortem, they 
announced on 8 February 2008 that Benazir Bhutto had been killed by impact with the knob on 
the sun roof following the bomb explosion.

Benazir Bhutto's books

  • Benazir Bhutto, (1983), Pakistan: The gathering storm, Vikas Pub. House, ISBN 0706924959 
  • Benazir Bhutto (1989). Daughter of the East. Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 0-241-12398-4. 

Daughter of the East was also released as:

  • Benazir Bhutto (1989). Daughter of Destiny: An Autobiography. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-66983-4. 

At the time of Bhutto's death, the manuscript for her third book, to be called 
Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West, had been received by HarperCollins. The 
book, written with Mark Siegel, was published in February 2008.

  • Benazir Bhutto (2008). Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-156758-2.

Tags:Benazir Bhutto, benazir, bhutto, Face Personality, Benazir Bhutto Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto Pakistan Peoples Party, pakistan peoples party
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