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Benazir Bhutto became the first female prime minister of Pakistan in 1988. She was killed by a suicide bomber in 2007.
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Benazir Bhutto was born on June 21, 1953, in Karachi, Pakistan, the child of former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. She inherited leadership of the PPP after a military coup overthrew her father's government and won election in 1988, becoming the first female prime minister of a Muslim nation. In 2007, she returned to Pakistan after an extended exile, but, tragically, was killed in a suicide attack.
Benazir Bhutto was born on June 21, 1953, in Karachi, Pakistan, the eldest child of former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. She went on to found the Pakistan People's Party and serve as the nation's prime minister (from 1971 to 1977). After completing her early education in Pakistan, she pursued her higher education in the United States. Bhutto attended Radcliffe College from 1969 to 1973, and then enrolled at Harvard University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in comparative government. It was then onto the United Kingdom, where she studied at Oxford University from 1973 to 1977, completing a course in international law and diplomacy.
Bhutto returned to Pakistan in 1977, and was placed under house arrest after the military coup led by General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq overthrew her father's government. One year after Zia ul-Haq became president in 1978, the elder Bhutto was hanged after his conviction on charges of authorizing the murder of an opponent. She inherited her father's leadership of the PPP.
There was more family tragedy in 1980 when Bhutto's brother Shahnawaz was killed in his apartment on the Riviera in 1980. The family insisted he was poisoned, but no charges were brought. Another brother, Murtaza, died in 1996 (while his sister was in power) in a gun battle with police in Karachi.
She moved to England in 1984, becoming the joint leader in exile of the PPP, then returned to Pakistan on April 10, 1986, to launch a nationwide campaign for open elections.
She married a wealthy landowner, Asif Ali Zardari, in Karachi on December 18, 1987. The couple had three children: son Bilawal and two daughters, Bakhtawar and Aseefa.
Zia ul-Haq's dictatorship ended when he was killed in a plane crash in 1988. And Bhutto was elected prime minister barely three months after giving birth to her first child. She became the first ever female prime minister of a Muslim nation on December 1, 1988. Bhutto was defeated in the 1990 election, and found herself in court defending herself against several charges of misconduct while in office. Bhutto continued to be a prominent focus of opposition discontent, and won a further election in 1993, but was replaced in 1996.
While in self-imposed exile in Britain and Dubai, she was convicted in 1999 of corruption and sentenced to three years in prison. She continued to direct her party from abroad, being re-affirmed as PPP leader in 2002.
Bhutto returned to Pakistan on October 18, 2007, after President Musharraf granted her amnesty on all corruption charges, opening the way for her return as well as a possible power-sharing agreement.
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