Bhutto, Benazir

Bhutto, Benazir

biographical name

(born June 21, 1953, Karachi, Pak.—died Dec. 27, 2007, Rawalpindi) Pakistani politician, the first woman leader of a Muslim nation in modern history. After receiving an education at Harvard and Oxford, she led the political opposition to Pres. Zia-ul-Haq after the execution of her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in 1979. She subsequently endured frequent house arrest (1979–84) and was exiled (1984–86). When Zia died in a plane crash in 1988, she became prime minister of a coalition government. She was unable to do much to combat Pakistan's widespread poverty, governmental corruption, and increasing crime, and her government was dismissed in 1990 on charges of corruption and other malfeasance. A second stint as prime minister (1993–96) ended similarly. In 1999 she was convicted of taking kickbacks from a Swiss company and sentenced in absentia to five years in prison. In October 2007 Bhutto was granted a long-sought amnesty and returned to Pakistan. In December she was killed while campaigning for upcoming elections.

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