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Who Is Benazir Bhutto?

Born in 1953 in Karachi, Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was the first female leader of a Muslim state in 1988. At 16, Benazir Bhutto attended Harvard University where she attained a degree in Comparative Government. At 20 she moved to Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford where she studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics until 1977.

From 1971 to 1973, her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, served as the President of Pakistan and 1973 to 1977, as Prime Minister. He founded the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). A military coup d’état removed Bhutto from his post and he was hanged in mid-1979. After her father’s execution, Benazir Bhutto was placed under house arrest until 1984. As soon as she was released from house arrest she returned to the United Kingdom where she took over the reins of the PPP from her mother and began demanding democratic reform in Pakistan. Her brother was murdered in 1985 in France as a probable political intimidation.

The ruling General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq died in 1988, allowing elections to be held in Pakistan. The PPP won the election and Benazir Bhutto became Prime Minister. Allegations of corruption made the President dismiss the PPP in 1990. But they once again won the elections of 1993, placing Benazir Bhutto as Prime Minister again. In 1996, the president dissolved the government again on more corruption allegations. Bhutto was convicted and paid fines.

In 2007, a political power sharing deal seemed possible, but Benazir Bhutto would not live long. She narrowly escaped a bomb attack against her in October 2007 which killed 150 people. In December 2007, she was shot dead.

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