In 1993, Bhutto again became prime minister. By then a more seasoned politician, she made alliances, including with the military, that enabled her to deal with some of Pakistan's deep-seated problems. In Nov., 1996, though, her government was again dismissed. Zardari was accused of murdering Bhutto's brother, a political rival, as well as of accepting kickbacks, and was imprisoned; sweeping corruption charges were brought against Bhutto. In 1999, Bhutto and Zardari were both convicted of corruption; Bhutto appealed the verdict while living in exile in England and the United Arab Emirates.
In 2001 the Pakistani supreme court set aside the corruption charges facing Bhutto and Zardari and ordered their retrial, but a Swiss court convicted the couple of money laundering in 2003. Bhutto was barred from running in the 2002 Pakistani parliamentary elections. Zardari was released from prison in 2004, a move that appeared designed to improve the Musharraf government's relations with the PPP; he subsequently left Pakistan.
In Oct., 2007, after extended negotiations with the government, Bhutto returned to Pakistan, intending to run for prime minister in the scheduled Jan., 2008 elections. On her return, she survived an attempt on her life that killed more than 130 persons, but was assassinated two months later in an attack, widely ascribed to Islamic militants, that followed a political rally in Rawalpindi. A UN report, released in 2010, said Pakistani intelligence agencies had hampered the investigation into her murder. In 2017 the Islamist militants accused of her murder who had not been killed in military operations were acquitted; two police officials were convicted of negligence and mishandling the case; and former Pres. Pervez Musharraf , accused of complicity, was declared a fugitive. Her son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, 1988–, assisted by her husband, succeeded her as PPP leader.
See her autobiography, Daughter of Destiny (1989, repr. 2008) and her Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West (2008).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: South Asian History: Biographies