Nusrat Bhutto

Nusrat Bhutto
Mother of Democracy
Begum Nusrat Bhutto
بیگم نصرت بھٹو
Nusrat Bhutto (in middle) is seen standing as Zulfiqar Bhutto meets with a little girl.
2nd Chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party
In office
4 April 1979 – 10 January 1983
Preceded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Succeeded by Benazir Bhutto
First Lady of Pakistan
In office
20 December 1971 – 5 July 1977
Preceded by General Ra'annie Yahya Khan
Succeeded by Shafiq Jahan Zia-ul-Haq
Personal details
Born Nusrat Ispahnie
March 23, 1929(1929-03-23)
Esfahan, Iran
Died October 23, 2011 (aged 82)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Citizenship Iran (1929-1947)
Pakistan (1947-2011)
Nationality Kurdish-Iranian, Pakistani
Political party Pakistan People's Party
Spouse(s) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Children Benazir Bhuto
Murtaza Bhutto
Sanam Bhutto
Shahnawaz Bhutto
Residence Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Religion Islam (Shi'a)

Begum Nusrat Bhutto (Urdu: بیگم نصرت بھٹو, Sindhi: بیگم نصرت ڀٽو; March 23, 1929 – October 23, 2011) was an Iranian-Pakistani who was the wife of the 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, serving as the First Lady of Pakistan during his premiership from 1971 until Bhutto's removal in 1977. She became her husband's successor as the chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) from 1979 to 1983. She was also the mother of the first and only female Pakistan Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto.[1] She died on October 23, 2011 in Dubai due a long suffering illness of Alzheimer's disease. Nusrat Bhutto was buried next to the grave of her husband Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh Bhutto graveyard on October 25, 2011.[2] In Pakistan, Nusrat Bhutto is remembered for her contribution to empowered the women in Pakistan and well as advocating for democracy in Pakistan, for which she is dubbed as "Māder-e-Jamhooriat (English Mother of Democracy), a title she was honored by the Parliament of Pakistan following her death.[3]



Nusrat Ispahnie was born in 1929 in Esfahan, Iran, hailing from the wealthy Hariri Esfahani family in Esfahan. She was said to be of Kurdish descent.[4][5] However, there are some claims that despite the fact that her family originates from the Kurdistan province in Iran[6] the Kurdish connection only comes from her grandmother who had married into the Hariri family.[1] Her father was a wealthy Iranian businessman who migrated to Karachi, Pakistan in 1950.[1] Before emigrating to Pakistan, Nusrat attended and was educated at the University of Isfahan where she obtained B.A. in Humanities in 1950.[1] Nusrat met Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in Karachi where they got married on September 8, 1951.[7] She was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's second wife, and they had four children together: Benazir, Murtaza, Sanam and Shahnawaz. With the exception of Sanam, she outlived her children. Benazir's widower and Nusrat's son-in-law Asif Ali Zardari is currently serving as the President of Pakistan.

Family and political career

As first lady from 1973–77,[1] she functioned as a political hostess and accompanied her husband on a number of overseas visits. In 1979, after the trial and execution of her husband, she succeeded her husband as leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party as chairman for life. She led the PPP's campaign against General Zia Ul Haque's regime. Alongside her daughter Benazir Bhutto, She was arrested numerous times and placed under house arrest and in prison in Sihala. Begum Bhutto was attacked by police with batons while attending a cricket match at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, when the crowd began to raise pro Bhutto slogans.

In 1982, ill with cancer, she was given permission to leave the country by the military government of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq for medical treatment in London at which point her daughter, Benazir Bhutto, became acting leader of the party, and, by 1984, the party chairman.[8][9]

After returning to Pakistan in the late 1980s, she served two terms as a Member of Parliament to the National Assembly from the family constituency of Larkana, Sindh.

During the administrations of her daughter Benazir, she became a cabinet minister and Deputy Prime Minister. In the 1990s, she and Benazir became estranged when Nusrat took the side of her son Murtaza during a family dispute but later reconciled after Murtaza's murder. She lived the last few years of her life with her daughter's family in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and later suffered from the combined effects of a stroke and Alzheimer's disease.[1]

Illness and death

Bhutto was suspected of suffering from cancer in 1982, the year when she left Pakistan for medical treatment. For the last several years of her life, she had also been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. In the mid-1990s, particularly after the death of her son Mir Murtaza Bhutto in 1996, she withdrew from public life. Party sources suggest this may also have coincided with the time that she began to show symptoms of Alzheimer’s.[citation needed]

According to her senior party leader, Bhutto's disease was so advanced that she did not even know of the assassination of her daughter, Benazir. She used a ventilator until her death on October 23, 2011. Her body was flown to her hometown of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in Larkana District the next day, and was buried next to her husband and children in the Bhutto family mausoleum at a ceremony attended by thousands of mourners.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Begum Nusrat Bhutto
  2. ^ Leading News (25 October, 2011). "Mother of Democracy Nusrat Bhutto laid to rest". Pakistan Tribune. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Gilani, MBBS, Syed Nazir. "Death in six instalments". Pakistan Observer. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "My mother's Kurdish culture" by Benazir Bhutto
  5. ^ Begum Nusrat Bhutto Background
  6. ^ Begum Nusrats Biography
  7. ^ About Bhutto
  8. ^ "Miss Benazir Bhutto, the daughter of the former Prime Minister, Zulfikar Blutto, and chairman of the Pakistan People's Party has been released from detention and has gone to Paris to be with her cancer-stricken mother". Financial Times. 1984-01-11. 
  9. ^ Hall, Carla (1984-04-04). "The April of her freedom five years later, Benazir Bhutto's plea for Pakistan". Washington Post. 

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party
Benazir Bhutto was acting chairperson from 1982 to 1984

1979 –1984
Succeeded by
Benazir Bhutto

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