Nusrat Bhutto

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Mother of Democracy
مادر جمہوریت

Begum Nusrat Bhutto
بیگم نصرت بھٹو
2nd Chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party
In office
4 April 1979 – 10 January 1984
Preceded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Succeeded by Benazir Bhutto
First Lady of Pakistan
In office
20 December 1971 – 5 July 1977
Succeeded by Shafiq Jahan Zia-ul-Haq
Personal details
Born Nusrat Ispahani
(1929-03-23)23 March 1929
Esfahan, Iran
Died 23 October 2011 (aged 82)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Nationality Pakistani, Iranian
Political party Pakistan People's Party
Spouse(s) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Children Benazir, Murtaza, Shahnawaz
Religion Shia Islam

Begum Nusrat Bhutto (Urdu: بیگم نصرت بھٹو‎, Sindhi: بیگم نصرت ڀٽو‎; Kurdish: بێگوم نوسره‌ت بوتو‎; born Nusrat Ispahani; 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 Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto.[1] She died on 23 October 2011 in Dubai due to the effects of Alzheimer's disease. Nusrat Bhutto was buried next to the grave of her husband Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh graveyard on 25 October 2011.[2] In Pakistan, Nusrat Bhutto is remembered for her contribution to empowerment of women in Pakistan and for advocating for democracy in Pakistan, for which she is dubbed as "Mādar-e-Jamhooriat" (English "Mother of Democracy"), a title she was honored with by the Parliament of Pakistan following her death.[3]


See also: Bhutto family

Nusrat Ispahani was born on 23 March 1929 in Esfahan, Iran, hailing from the wealthy Hariri family. She had Kurdish descent.[1][4] Her father was a wealthy Iranian businessman who initially lived in Bombay and the moved to Karachi, Pakistan before the independence of Pakistan in 1947.[1] Before emigrating to Pakistan, Nusrat attended and was educated at the University of Isfahan where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Humanities in 1950.[1] Nusrat met Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in Karachi where they got married on 8 September 1951.[1] 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 was the President of Pakistan from 9 September 2008 till 8 September 2013.

Family and political career[edit]

As first lady from 1973 to 1977,[1] Nusrat Bhutto functioned as a political worker 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 Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq's regime. Alongside her daughter Benazir Bhutto, she was arrested numerous times and placed under house arrest and in prison in Sihala. Nusrat 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 Genera 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.[5][6]

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 were 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[edit]

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.[7] 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 was even unaware of the assassination of her daughter, Benazir. She used a ventilator until her last days. She died at age 82 in Dubai on 23 October 2011.[7] 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[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "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. ^ "Untitled Document". 
  5. ^ "Miss Benazir Bhutto, the daughter of the former Prime Minister, Zulfikar Bhutto, 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. 11 January 1984. 
  6. ^ Hall, Carla (4 April 1984). "The April of her freedom five years later, Benazir Bhutto's plea for Pakistan". Washington Post. 
  7. ^ a b "Nusrat Bhutto: A tragic life". All Voices. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 

External links[edit]

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

Succeeded by
Benazir Bhutto