10 Things You Didn't Know About Benazir Bhutto

Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi, the city in which her father was hanged in 1979.


Compiled by the U.S.News & World Report library staff

1. Benazir Bhutto was born June 21, 1953, in Karachi, Pakistan. Her name means "one without equal."

2. Bhutto was known to her friends as Pinkie, a childhood nickname given to her by her family because she was an unusually pink baby.

3. She attended Catholic schools in Pakistan. She entered Harvard University's Radcliffe College at age 16 and earned a cum laude degree in comparative government in 1973. She went on to Oxford University where she was the first Asian woman to be elected president of the Oxford Union, an elite debating society. Following her 1977 graduation from Oxford, Bhutto returned to Pakistan hoping to enter the foreign service in the government headed by her father, who was prime minister.

5. Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was the founder of the Pakistan People's Party. He served as president and then prime minister of Pakistan from 1971 to 1977. He was deposed in a 1977 coup by Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and executed in 1979.

6. In 1986, when Bhutto returned to Pakistan from exile in Britain, she was greeted by such large crowds that it took her motorcade 9 ½ hours to travel the 8 miles from the airport to a rally site in Lahore.

7. Bhutto was married on Dec. 18, 1987, to Asif Ali Ardari, a wealthy businessman who would later be jailed on corruption charges. The marriage was arranged by her mother; Bhutto did not meet her future husband until five days before their engagement. She opted to keep her name, saying, "Benazir Bhutto doesn't cease to exist the moment she gets married. I am not giving myself away. I belong to myself and I always shall."

8. In 1988, Bhutto was the first woman ever elected to govern a Muslim country. In the weeks prior to her election, Islamic scholar Mohammed Amin Minhas quoted the prophet Mohammed, saying "a nation that elects to be governed by a woman will not prosper," according to the Los Angeles Times. However, after she took her oath of office, Minhas reconsidered. "Allah has given us this woman as our leader, and Miss Benazir has acknowledged that this new power she possesses is, indeed, Allah's gift," he said.

9. Bhutto once mentioned that former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Britain's "Iron Lady," was her role model but noted: "As a Muslim woman, I have great respect for Khadija, wife of the prophet of Islam, because she was a working woman."

10. Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi, the city in which her father was hanged in 1979.

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