Ghinwa Bhutto (Urdu: غنویٰ بھٹو, Sindhi: غنوا ڀٽو, Arabic: غنوة بوتو; born Ghinwa Itoui) is a politician and the widow of Murtaza Bhutto. She is also the sister-in-law of the late Benazir Bhutto. She is of Lebanese-Syrian origin and is the second wife of Murtaza Bhutto and stepmother of Fatima Bhutto.
Murtaza Bhutto and his daughter Fatima spent time in exile in Syria, where Murtaza first met Ghinwa. Ghinwa had fled from the Lebanese Civil War back home and migrated to Syria, where she used to give ballet classes in the basement of a church. Fatima was one of her students. Murtaza and Ghinwa would later marry in 1989.
Ghinwa has been estranged from the powerful Bhutto family ever since she accused Benazir and her husband Asif Ali Zardari of conspiracy to the 1996 murder of Mir Murtaza. She also accused Benazir and Zardari of corruption. Zardari was arrested as a suspect in the murder of Murtaza, he was later released due to lack of evidence. Her husband's killers were never brought to justice.
In 1997, Ghinwa staked claim to the Bhutto political legacy. She formed PPP-SB and became the chairperson of that and ran for election in Larkana in 3 Feb 1997. Benazir convinced her mother Nusrat Bhutto, then president of the Pakistan Peoples Party, to run against her. Though her opponent suffered from Alzheimer's disease, Ghinwa was defeated.
Ghinwa lives in the Bhutto family home in Karachi with her son Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Jr. (named after his grandfather Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto) and her step daughter Fatima Bhutto. Prior to marrying Murtaza, Ghinwa worked as a ballet dancer/teacher. Benazir had on several occasions disparaged Ghinwa as a "Lebanese belly dancer".
In 2002, Pakistani election authorities rejected her candidacy for the October 10 election. Ghinwa was rejected on the grounds of not possessing the required minimum academic qualification of a university degree. In August 2007 Ghinwa Bhutto passed the BA exams from the Punjab University in First Division with 526 marks. Ghinwa, roll # 86604, appeared as a private candidate. To be eligible to contest elections, Ghinwa chose to take the Punjab University BA exam because the results were to be declared by the end of August, before the elections.
After the first suicide attack following Benazir's return to Pakistan in October 2007, Ghinwa remarked: "I think she has invited trouble herself. She has always thrived on this victimisation complex. She always loves to be the victim and whatever happens to anybody, at the end she is a victim."
- "Pakistan People’s Party – Shaheed Bhutto group – Ghinwa Bhutto – Political violence – Elections" (PDF). Refugee Review Tribunal (Australia). 15 August 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
The Lebanese-Syrian widow of Murtaza said her cousins in Pakistan warmly welcomed Sassi and “she’s here to meet family members and offer prayers at the family graveyard".
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