The leader of Pakistan
between 1971 and 1977; he was imprisoned and later executed after a military coup
. His daughter Benazir Bhutto
has since been prime minister
Born in Larkana on 5 January 1928, and educated in Bombay, Berkeley, Oxford, and at Lincoln's Inn, he worked first as a barrister and lecturer in law, then became a diplomat and minister: head of Pakistan's UN delegation in 1957, then commerce minister in 1958.
He was foreign minister between 1963 and 1966, when he resigned over a proposed settlement with India. Bhutto was responsible for closer ties with Turkey and Iran (the CENTO countries), and with China, in opposition to India. He formed the PPP (Pakistan People's Party) in 1967, and was imprisoned in 1968-9. In that year president Ayub Khan was overthrown by another military ruler, Yahya Khan.
In 1970 the PPP swept elections in West Pakistan, and in 1971 Bhutto became Yahya Khan's deputy prime minister and foreign minister. Then East Pakistan seceded as Bangladesh, and the ensuing war there and with India, in which West Pakistan was defeated, caused the downfall of Yahya Khan. Bhutto took office on 20 December 1971, Pakistan's first civilian president. Introducing a constitutional reform in the nature of the presidency, making it a ceremonial head of state, he left that post and became prime minister on 14 August 1973.
On 5 July 1977 a military coup was led by General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, who named himself Chief Martial Law Administrator. Bhutto was tried and imprisoned; after long delays he was suddenly executed by hanging on 4 April 1979.
His wife Begum Nusrat Bhutto and his daughter Benazir Bhutto became leaders of the PPP after his death, being constant opponents of the rule of General Zia.