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Last Updated: Friday, 28 December 2007, 13:15 GMT
Bhuttos: 'Cursed' political dynasty
Portrait of Benazir Bhutto and her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
The Bhuttos have a history of tragedy
Like the Nehru-Gandhi family in India and the Kennedys in America, the Bhuttos of Pakistan are one of the world's most famous - and troubled - political dynasties.

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto is the latest in a string of violent and sometimes mysterious deaths which have led people to describe the family as cursed.

Benazir's elderly mother, Nusrat, has now seen the lives of her husband, elder daughter and two sons all cut short.

Just one daughter, Sanam, survives.


Benazir Bhutto's father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was prime minister of Pakistan in the early 1970s.

His government was one of the few in the years following independence that had not been run by the army.

Mr Bhutto was imprisoned by Gen Zia ul-Haq in 1977 following a military coup and charged with conspiracy to murder. Two years later he was executed.


Murtaza Bhutto, was once expected to play an increasingly important role as a party leader.

Murtaza Bhutto
Murtaza Bhutto was shot dead in Karachi

He fled to the then-Communist Afghanistan after his father's fall.

From there, and various Middle Eastern capitals, he mounted a campaign against Pakistan's military government with a militant group, al-Zulfiqar.

He won elections from exile in 1993 and became a provincial legislator, returning home soon afterwards, only to be shot dead under mysterious circumstances in 1996.

The then 42-year-old had become a political rival of his famous sister.

Ms Bhutto's husband, Asif Zardari, spent years in jail on charges he was involved in Murtaza's murder. He denied the allegations and was released on bail in 2004.


The youngest of the four Bhutto children, Shahnawaz, was also politically active but in less violent ways than Murtaza.

He was found dead in his apartment in southern France in 1985. His death was never fully explained.

Reports said the 27-year-old had been poisoned after attending a family reunion.


Benazir, the eldest Bhutto child, had already survived an attempt on her life when she returned to Pakistan after eight years of self-imposed exile in October.

At least 130 people died in the twin suicide bombings targeting her homecoming rally in Karachi.

She had talked publicly of the possibility of assassination.

In her view, elements within the government and the security services in Pakistan wanted her dead.

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