Timeline Description: Benazir Bhutto (1953 – 2007) was the eleventh Prime Minister of Pakistan. A member of the powerful Bhutto family, her father was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was also a Prime Minister. She was the first woman to become the leader of an Islamic state's government.
|June 21, 1953||Benazir Bhutto is born in Karachi, Pakistan.
On June 21, 1952, Benazir Bhutto is born in Karachi, Pakistan. She is the oldest child of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Begum Nusrat Ispahani, and completes her early childhood education there. She learns to speak English and Urdu, though she only speaks Urdu colloquially.
|1969||Bhutto attends Harvard University.
Bhutto comes to America to attend Radcliffe College at Harvard University, where she graduates <i>cum laude</i> with a degree in comparative government. She later attributes her time here as the "very basis of [my] belief in democracy."
|1973||Bhutto continues her education at the University of Oxford.
After graduating from Harvard, Bhutto heads to England and continues her studies at Margaret Hall at the University of Oxford. She studies Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, as well as courses in International Law and Diplomacy.
|July 5, 1977||A military coup removes Bhutto's father from office as Prime Minister.
A military coup removes her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, from office as Prime Minister. The coup is led by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who imposes an ultra-conservative military dictatorship. Her father is arrested and charged with attempted murder against a political rival, and Bhutto spends the next year and a half under house arrest, trying to free her father.
|April 4, 1979||Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is executed.
After extended legal wrangling, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is executed. Bhutto is arrested and, after multiple house arrests, is forced into solitary confinement in the desert. Locked in a cage without walls, she suffers from sun exposure and attacks from insects. After six months, she is returned to home imprisonment.
|January 1984||Bhutto becomes head of the Pakistan Peoples Party.
International pressure forces the Zia regime to allow Bhutto to go to Britain for medical treatment. After receiving surgery, she takes up political activity again. Although exiled, Benazir Bhutto becomes the head of the center-left party, the Pakistan Peoples Party or PPP, which was founded by her father. She uses her influence to campaign against the Zia regime's human rights violations.
|December 18, 1987||Bhutto marries Asif Ali Zardari.
On December 18, 1987, Bhutto marries Asif Ali Zardari in an arranged marriage. The two meet only five days before their betrothal is announced, and they go on to have three children. He later becomes a prominent and controversial political figure in his own right, as his government becomes the first elected presidency to serve a full term.
|August 1988||General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq dies in a plane crash.
General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq dies in a plane crash, which paves the way for a more open election. The PPP wins the largest percentage of seats in Pakistan's parliament, which sets up Bhutto to become the Prime Minister.
|December 2, 1988||Bhutto becomes the eleventh Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Bhutto becomes the eleventh Prime Minister of Pakistan, and the first female leader of an Islamic state's government. While in office she tries to reform Pakistan's corrupt government, but is stymied by her conservative rival, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
|1990||Bhutto has her first daughter, Bakhtawar.
In 1990 Bhutto gives birth to her first child, a daughter named Bakhtawar. In doing so, she becomes the first modern head of a government to give birth to a child while in office.
|November 1990||Bhutto's government is dismissed.
Though she is frequently able to counter President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, eventually accusations of corruption with public-sector industries deflate Bhutto's popularity, and Khan dismisses Bhutto's government in November 1990. She is defeated in the following election.
|November 1992||Bhutto leads a ten-mile march to Islamabad.
Bhutto becomes the leader of the opposition to the conservative party, the Islamic Democratic Alliance (the IDA), as led by Nawaz Sharif. In November 1992 she attempts to lead a ten-mile march to Islamabad. Threats of being arrested force her to stop the rally, but she is still placed under house arrest.
|October 19, 1993||Bhutto is sworn in as Prime Minister for second term.
Bhutto's political opponents, Khan and Sharif, are forced to resign after in-fighting and power struggles. An interim government is put in place, and the PPP wins the most number of seats, which allows Bhutto to regain her seat as Prime Minister on October 19, 1993. She proceeds to solidify power and focus on economic reforms, particularly privatizing industries.
|November 4, 1997||Bhutto's government is dismissed.
On November 4, 1997, the current president, President Leghari, uses the power of the eighth amendment to again dismiss Bhutto's government on charges of corruption, and due to the suspicious death of her political rival and brother, Murtaza Bhutto. She once again goes into exile as the leader of the opposition party.
|December 27, 2007||Bhutto is assassinated.
Bhutto eventually returns to Pakistan to take part in the upcoming 2008 national election, despite great risk to herself. She is killed in a shooting attack. Taliban and Al'qaeda forces both claim responsibility, though suspicions also fall on internal government forces as well. Former President Musharraf is later indicted on three counts of murder.