BENAZIR BHUTTO Biography - Royalty, Rulers & leaders


Biography » royalty rulers leaders » benazir bhutto


Benazir Bhutto (1953- ), Pakistani political leader, who served as first female prime minister of a Muslim country, she served for  Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and from 1993 to 1996.                                                                                                           


Born into a wealthy landholding family with a tradition of political activism in southeastern Sindh province, Bhutto enjoyed a privileged childhood


Bhutto was educated at Harvard’s Radcliffe College in the United States and at the University of Oxford in England, where she excelled in studies as well as other activities including debating competitions,  she was the first Asian woman to be elected president of the Oxford Union. The daughter of a intelligent and Charismatic  Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1971-1977), she returned to Pakistan in june 1977, planning on a career in the foreign service. But only two weeks later, however, military officers led by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq , capitalizing on public protests of disputed parliamentary elections overthrew Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in a bloodless coup.  Benazir Bhutto spent the next eighteen months in and out of house arrest as she struggled to rally political support to force Zia to drop fallacious murder charges against her father.  The military dictator ignored worldwide appeals for clemency and had Zulfikar Bhutto hanged in April of 1979. 


Bhutto’s persecution began in earnest after the dismissal of her father’s government in 1977 and his execution in 1979 as she intensified her denunciations of Zia and sought to organize a political movement against him.  Repeatedly put under house arrest, she was finally imprisoned under solitary confinement in a desert cell in Sindh province during the summer of 1981.  Bhutto described the hellish conditions in her wall less cage in "Daughter of Destiny": 


"The summer heat turned my cell into an oven.  My skin split and peeled, coming off my hands in sheets.  Boils erupted on my face.  My hair, which had always been thick, began to come out by the handful.  Insects crept into the cell like invading armies.  Grasshoppers, mosquitoes, stinging flies, bees and bugs came up through the cracks in the floor and through the open bars from the courtyard.  Big black ants, cockroaches, seething clumps of little red ants and spiders.  I tried pulling the sheet over my head at night to hide from their bites, pushing it back when it got too hot to breathe."