Shahnawaz Bhutto

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Shahnawaz Bhutto

Shahnawaz Bhutto (November 21, 1958 – July 18, 1985; Sindhi: شاھنواز ڀٽو) was the son of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (President/Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1971 to 1977) and Begum Nusrat Bhutto. Shahnawaz Bhutto was the youngest of Bhutto’s four children. Shahnawaz was schooled in Pakistan (at the Rawalpindi American School - renamed the International School of Islamabad (IS of I) in 1979, after the school was stormed during the uprising), where he graduated in 1976) and later travelled abroad to complete his higher education.

Shahnawaz was studying in Switzerland when Zia ul Haq's military regime executed his father in 1979. Prior to the execution, Shahnawaz and his elder brother Murtaza Bhutto had embarked on an international campaign to save their father's life, but it was to no avail. The two brothers continued to resist the military abrogation of the 1973 constitution in exile.

Both brothers Murtaza Bhutto and Shahnawaz Bhutto married two Pashto sisters from the royal Afghan family. After the alleged involvement of Shahnawaz's wife Rehana in the murder of Shahnawaz, Murtaza Bhutto divorced his wife.

On July 18, 1985, the 26 year old Shahnawaz was found dead in Nice, France. He died under mysterious circumstances, and the Bhutto family firmly believed he was poisoned. No one was brought to trial for murder, but Shahnawaz's wife Rehana was considered a suspect by the French authorities and remained in their custody for some time. She was found not guilty and later allowed to travel, and went to the United States. Pakistani media, which was under Zia's control, attributed his death to drug and alcohol abuse.

Shahnawaz is believed to have helped organize a group dedicated to overthrowing the regime of President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, through links to Al-Zulfiqar, increasingly active in Pakistan at that time.

The funeral of Shahnawaz turned into a defiant show of opposition to Zia's military rule. It was held in a Larkana sports stadium, attended by an estimated 25,000 people.

Shahnawaz's daughter Sassi Bhutto lives with her mother in the United States.

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