Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan)

Assassinated, posthumously awarded

Benazir Bhutto was born in Karachi, Pakistan to a well-known political family.

She attended Harvard’s Radcliffe College and went on to get a degree at Oxford University in 1977 as well. When she returned to Pakistan her father was prime minster. Shortly after her arrival the military took over the government and he was imprisoned and later killed.

Bhutto lived in London with her brothers, but began creating an underground organization to fight against the dictatorship in Pakistan. When she returned to Pakistan she was elected the co-chairwoman of Pakistan’s People’s Party. In 1988, at the age of 35, she was elected Prime Minister. This made her one of the youngest heads of state in the world, in addition to the first woman to rule a Muslim country. In 1993 she was reelected to the position of Prime Minister.

During her term she focused on modernizing Pakistan. Education, health reform, and poverty were among her primary concerns. She was not re-elected in 1997, and her predecessor’s government was toppled by the military. In 2007 she returned to Pakistan from her exile in England, with a promising bid for election. She was assassinated on December 27, 2007 while on the campaign trail along with many others who were secondary casualties.