Benazir Bhutto, First Lady of Pakistan (killed in Dec 2007; wife of Asif Ali Zardari)
Benazir Bhutto (Sindhi: بينظير ڀٽو; Urdu: بینظیر بھٹو, pronounced [beːnəˈziːr ˈbʱʊʈːoː]; 21 June 1953 – 27 December 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; 1993–1996). She was Pakistan’s first and to date only female prime minister. She was the eldest child of former Pakistani prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Nusrat Bhutto, and was the wife of current Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister 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 she was re-elected but was again removed in 1996 on similar charges, this time by President Farooq Leghari. She went into self-imposed exile in Dubai in 1998.
Bhutto returned to Pakistan on 18 October 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an understanding with President Pervez Musharraf by which she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn.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 27 December 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. The following year she was named one of seven winners of the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights.
Benazir Bhutto was born at Pinto Hospital in Karachi, Dominion of Pakistan on 21 June 1953. She was the eldest child of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a Pakistani Shia Muslim of Sindhi Rajput descent, and Begum Nusrat Ispahani, a Shia Muslim Pakistani of Kurdish descent. Her paternal grandfather was Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto.
She attended the Lady Jennings Nursery School and 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”. Later in 1995 as Prime Minister, she would arrange a gift from the Pakistani government to Harvard Law School. On June 2006, she received an Honorary LL.D degree from the University of Toronto.
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 and in December 1976 she was elected president of the Oxford Union, becoming the first Asian woman to head the prestigious debating society.
On 18 December 1987, she married Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi. The couple had three children: two daughters, Bakhtawar and Asifa, and a son, Bilawal.