Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the first woman ever to lead a modern Islamic nation, did not plan to be a politician. She became active in politics after her father, the late Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was ousted from office in a 1977 military coup and later executed. Having sworn to carry her father's political flame, Benazir Bhutto overcame government persecution and a lack of political experience, leading her Pakistan Peoples Party to victory in the November 1988 and October 1993 parliamentary elections. As Prime Minister, Bhutto has been praised for moving swiftly to restore civil liberties and political freedom, suspended under military rule. During her terms of office, she has faced enormous challenges in governing a poor, politically fractious, and ethnically diverse nation.

Bhutto discusses her personal life and political career in her autobiography "Daughter of Destiny", which was published in 1989 to favorable reviews. Born into a wealthy landholding family with a tradition of political activism in southeastern Sindh province, Bhutto enjoyed a privileged childhood and went on to study political science and philosophy at Radcliffe College and Oxford University. She excelled academically and planned to work with her father's government as a professional diplomat upon her return to Pakistan in June 1977.Read More

Political activist with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

  • 1977-84 Repeatedly imprisoned and kept under house arrest by the Pakistani government; political exile in London, England.
  • 1988 She became Prime Minister
  • 1990 Her government was illegally dismissed in August.
  • 1993 She again came to power after her party won a majority in elections held in October...
  • 1984 Returned to Pakistan in April.
  • 1986 Pakistan Peoples Party, Karachi, Pakistan co-chair.

Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto

1953 - 2007 Former Prime Minister of Pakistan

(On 27 December 2007, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was killed while leaving a campaign rally for the PPP at Liaquat National Bagh, after giving a spirited address to Party supporters in the run-up to the January 2008 parliamentary elections. Her 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)
Born June 21, 1953, in Karachi, Pakistan

Daughter of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (a political leader and former Prime Minister) and Nusrat Bhutto (former Member of Parliament and Deputy Prime Minister of Pakistan) Married, December 18, 1987 to Asif Ali Zardari (in business, twice elected Member of National Assembly and Senate) Ms 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. In 1993 she was re-elected but was again removed in 1996 by then-president Leghari. She went into exile in Dubai in 1998.

She returned to Pakistan on 18 October 2007. She was assassinated on 27 December 2007, after departing a PPP rally in Liaqat Bagh, Rawalpindi.

Children: Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Ms Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari and Ms Aseefa Bhutto Zardari.


Radcliffe College, Harvard University, B.A., 1973;
Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, B.A., 1976;
Graduate study at Oxford in Foreign Service, 1976-77.


Political activist with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan, 1977-84; repeatedly imprisoned and kept under house arrest by the Pakistani government; political exile in London, England, 1984-86; returned to Pakistan in April, 1986; Pakistan Peoples Party, Karachi, Pakistan co-chair, beginning in 1986; After elections held November 1988, invited to form the government, became Prime Minister in 1988 but her government was illegally dismissed in August 1990. She again came to power after her party won a majority in elections held in October 1993. Her government was once again dismissed illegally in November 1996.

  • Bruno Kreisky Award of Merit in human Rights, 1988.
  • Honorary Phi Beta Kappa Award (1989), presented by Radcliffe College, Harvard University.
  • Highest Moroccan Award "Grand Cordon de Wissam Alaoui"
  • Highest French Award "Grand-croix de la Legion Honneur" (1989)
  • The Noel Foundation Award, 1990 (UNIFEM).
  • Honorary Fellow of Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh - 1990
  • 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)
  • 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
  • Awarded “World Tolerance Award 2005” by Women World Awards in Leipzig, November 29, 2005
  • Awarded 'International Woman of the Year 2006' by the prominent European Publishing House based in Dubai as part of "Emirates Woman Awards 2006'.
    Nominated Chair of "Muslim Women for Human Rights and Democracy"
    Oslo, Norway, May 6-7, 2007
  • Awarded the prestigious Tipperary International Peace Award for April 25, 2008 (posthumously)
  • Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was posthumously awarded the Service to Humanity Award by the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 1-5 Dec 2010.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto is the author of two books "Foreign Policy in Perspective" (1978) and her autobiography, "Daughter of the East" (1989). 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 Millennium" by Kristof and Nickerson and "Book of Hopes and Dreams" published by Bookmaster Inc.