Nusrat Bhutto, doyenne of MRD, dies at 82

Published: October 23, 2011
Begum Nusrat Bhutto (R) arrives at Islamabad airport with her daughter, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on February 4,  1997. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Begum Nusrat Bhutto (R) arrives at Islamabad airport with her daughter, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on February 4, 1997. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Begum Nusrat Bhutto (R) arrives at Islamabad airport with her daughter, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on February 4,  1997. PHOTO: AFP/FILE
A photograph of former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and his wife Nusrat Bhutto. PHOTO: TMN/FILE

KARACHI: Begum Nusrat Bhutto, former first lady of Pakistan and the mother of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, died at a Dubai hospital on Sunday afternoon. She was 82.

Nusrat was the wife of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the first democratically elected prime minister of Pakistan. She 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, an ailment that causes severe memory loss and cognitive impairment.

President Asif Ali Zardari, Nusrat Bhutto’s son-in-law, cut short his official trip to Jordan and will be escorting her body from Dubai to Pakistan on Monday (today) on a chartered plane. Nusrat’s only surviving child, her daughter Sanam Bhutto, and grandchildren, including Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Bakhtawar and Aseefa also rushed to Dubai from London to accompany her body, which will be buried next to that of her late husband in the family graveyard in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, Larkana. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani announced a public holiday on Monday, as well as a ten-day mourning period. The ruling PPP, the party founded by Nusrat’s husband, announced that it will suspend all political activities for the next 40 days to mourn her death.

Nusrat had been elected to the National Assembly twice and served as cabinet member in her daughter’s government in the 1990s. She rose to political prominence in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when she led protests and demonstrations against the military dictatorship that had overthrown her husband’s government.

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.

Her disease was so advanced that she did not even know of the assassination of her daughter, Benazir, said one senior party leader, adding that she was on a ventilator most of the time during her final days.

The news of her death spread like wildfire in Sindh, a province that has been enamoured by the Bhutto family. There was some confusion, however, as to when the funeral prayers would be. A spokesperson for Bilawal House, PPP headquarters in Karachi, said that the funeral would take place on Monday, whereas officials at the Presidency in Islamabad were under the impression that it would take place on Tuesday. Pakistan International Airlines will be running special flights from Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi to Sukkur, for those who wish to attend the funeral.

Sources told The Express Tribune that the government will posthumously award her either the Hilal-e-Pakistan or a human rights award in recognition of her struggle for democracy in the country.

Nusrat Bhutto outlived all but one of her four children. One of her sons Shahnawaz was found murdered in an apartment in France. Murtaza, her elder son, was killed in a police shootout outside the family house in Karachi in 1996. And her daughter Benazir was assassinated in December 2007.

Nusrat’s death has once again highlighted the rift between her children. While the main funeral will be in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, PPP-Shaheed Bhutto, a faction created by Mir Murtaza Bhutto, made separate arrangements.

“We have made arrangements at Al-Murtaza House, Larkana and 70 Clifton, Karachi, which are the real homes of Begum Bhutto,” said Ghulam Hussain Khawaja, the party spokesperson.

He added that Fatima and Ghinwa Bhutto, Murtaza’s daughter and widow respectively, had already left for Larkana, but Zulfiqar II, his son, will arrive from London later.

According to Mumtaz Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s cousin, Nusrat wanted her son Murtaza to have a more prominent role in politics. “Many times, differences developed between Benazir and Begum Bhutto on the issue,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (67)

  • Talha
    Oct 23, 2011 - 4:34PM

    Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un

    ‘Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return’


  • Oct 23, 2011 - 4:40PM

    A big loss of Bhutto Family. Really a sad news.


  • Hamid
    Oct 23, 2011 - 4:48PM

    Brave woman I must say. Inna Lillah…


  • zalim singh
    Oct 23, 2011 - 4:52PM

    very sad life she had. She was such a beautiful lady.


  • Hassan Bokhari
    Oct 23, 2011 - 4:52PM

    One of the most prestigious and classy women Pakistan has ever seen. She will surely be remembered for generations to come.


  • Oct 23, 2011 - 4:54PM

    May Allah rest the departed soul in peace.


  • GarbarGotala
    Oct 23, 2011 - 4:57PM

    She outlived three of her children Murtaza, Benazir and Shahnawaz Bhutto.

    that just breaks my heart. May the Almighty rest her soul in peace and grant her a place in heaven


  • R.A
    Oct 23, 2011 - 4:59PM

    Mujh ko dayare ghair main mara watan se door
    Rakh lee mere khuda nen meri bebasi ki sharm
    Inna lillahe wa inna elehi rajeoon

  • Rubab
    Oct 23, 2011 - 5:00PM

    RIP, Begum Nusrat Bhutto! She certainly experienced more tragedy in her life, than anyone should have to. Hope she is at peace now. :-(


  • JJ
    Oct 23, 2011 - 5:01PM

    Great WOMAN.


  • abbas
    Oct 23, 2011 - 5:05PM

    Nothing is worse than outliving your child – can’t even imagine the fact that she outlived THREE children. She was one of the most refined women in prominence that Pakistan ever produced. God Bless Her and provide respite to her family.


  • Pakistanii
    Oct 23, 2011 - 5:07PM

    Well that would add another person in Bhutto cadre to mourn!
    May Allah have her mercy on herRecommend

  • Neha Khan
    Oct 23, 2011 - 5:10PM

    Since 1977 all she went through was pain. Rest in peace Begum Nusrat Bhutto.


  • Layman
    Oct 23, 2011 - 5:12PM

    If you die rich and popular .. it is a sad news otherwise ….you know what i mean!


  • Mubashir Amin
    Oct 23, 2011 - 5:14PM

    From you have we come and to Thee shall we all return. And when we return to you O Lord. Let our souls not be corrupted with Greed and Treachery. We shall return empty handed … all the wealth in this world shall not gain us another breath of air, nor a single utterance from our Lips. For we are Hopeless, Helpless before the Glory and The Might That Thy My Lord, My God!

    You have always been and you shall remain forever! Praise be to you…… we shall but Perish!


  • Khalid Munir
    Oct 23, 2011 - 5:18PM

    She had shown the way to Pakistani nation that one can stand and fight a military dictator. Bravely fought Gen Zia’s dictatorship. The picture of the bleeding head caused by police in Gaddafi Stadium is still in our memories A great lady indeed. RIP Begum Nusrat Bhutto.


  • Imran
    Oct 23, 2011 - 5:26PM

    @Syed Abdul Wahab Gilani:
    Sir! You ought to me ashamed of your upbringing. You have been showering all the praise for the terrorists on these pages. And now on a death, all you could come up with was a very nasty remark.

    Nusrat Bhutto! We appreciate and acknowledge your unmatched/unparalleled sacrifices for the democracy. May you RIP. We wish Pakistan produces more mothers like you, and more children like yours.


  • karma
    Oct 23, 2011 - 5:55PM

    bhutto!era isended with sarrow tragic point but they would be remembered all the time in history of pak and india julfikar ali bhutto was a greate politician and same vertue were prevailed in his next to kin they are all in heaven .
    may god be provident to pakistan for strong democratic leaders


  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Oct 23, 2011 - 6:05PM

    My heartfelt condolences to the kids of this brave lady, PPP leadership, workers and supporters. Sad day for all who actually know the struggle of this family for democracy. May her soul rest in Peace, Amen.


  • RealityCheck
    Oct 23, 2011 - 6:14PM

    @Syed Abdul Wahab Gilani:

    The life Pakistani’s handed her is nothing to be proud off. Publicly hanging a fromer PM is nothing to be proud off.

    Personally don’t agree with many things Butto’s did but at the same time don’t agree with the treatment handed out out ZAB. Recommend

  • Sehr Nisar
    Oct 23, 2011 - 6:15PM

    May She “REST IN PEACE!”


  • Oct 23, 2011 - 6:25PM

    ilike begum nusrat bhutto and that is very good leader in pakistan so ilike begum nusrut bhutto and benazir bhutto


  • Not me
    Oct 23, 2011 - 6:31PM

    God bless her.
    She has witnessed too many personal tragedies. Hope she is burried next to her husband in Ghari Khuda Buksh


  • Sad
    Oct 23, 2011 - 6:39PM

    PPP cannot forget Mrs Nusrat Bhuto sacrifices for party , even she lost her husband , daughter and two sons in this political game. God given her great power of Bearing and tolerance.

    She was symbolic leader of PPP.

    May her soul rest in peace.


  • Ayesha
    Oct 23, 2011 - 6:41PM

    May she rest in peace. the grief and sadness that she saw in her life was immense. hope she is in a better, peaceful place now….


  • Pundit
    Oct 23, 2011 - 6:51PM

    so much sadness in her life…..may she receive Jannat.


  • Ali
    Oct 23, 2011 - 7:36PM

    May her soul rests in eternal peace!!


  • Jamil KHAN
    Oct 23, 2011 - 7:44PM

    May Allah bless her soul in Jannah. She was a great person , in her own right ,despite a Wife of One of the greatest Statesman & Leader , not only of Pakistan , but Third world & Muslim Ummah


  • Jamil KHAN
    Oct 23, 2011 - 7:47PM

    May Allah bless her Soul in Jannah – Aameen ! She sure was Peoples Leader , Mother 7 Friend,in her Own ways. Being a Wife of Great ZA Bhutto , one of the best Leaders of Pakistan , Thirld Worls & Muslim Ummah + Mother of Great Benazir Bhutto ,we shall miss her.


  • Oct 23, 2011 - 7:53PM

    When Benazir Bhutto (Shaheed) was Prime Minister and Begum Nusrat Bhutto was Senior Minister, she came in a diplomatic reception in Karachi and saw my little son and asked me who is he?

    I told her Begum Sahiba, he is my son and the future Prime Minster of Pakistan.

    She was very glad to meet my son and said that he must work hard to first complete his education and then he may also serve the country as Prime Minister.

    Begum Nusrat Bhutto was a great lady, a courageous and dedicated woman who fought for restoration of democracy with unshakeable determination.

    May Al-Mighty Allah rest her soul in peace. Ameen.


  • Oct 23, 2011 - 7:54PM

    Ina lilah wa ina ilayhi raji’oon (may allah bless her with jannah)


  • Oct 23, 2011 - 8:00PM

    She was great wife,mother and Great leader of Pakistan.may her soul rest in eternal peace. Ameen


  • Oct 23, 2011 - 8:03PM

    She was great wife,mother and leader of Pakistan.May her soul rest in eternal peace.Ameen


  • saqibtahir
    Oct 23, 2011 - 8:11PM

    Pakistan lost a great icon of struggle for democracy.


  • Oct 23, 2011 - 8:13PM


    Respectfully, please bring up few precedents when you say ‘You have been showering all the praise for the terrorists on these pages’

    for the rest of your comment i would say you should respect views of other as I am respecting yours and others. You are praising her for sacrificing for democracy and conveniently not digest my Say!

    Thanks :)


  • goggi
    Oct 23, 2011 - 8:32PM

    I wish, we all Pilger Souls leave behind in this World a Sinless body to enter a Higher State of Consciousness………


  • Raj
    Oct 23, 2011 - 8:39PM

    She was ZAB’s second wife. If my memory is correct she was from Iran. Once she had a tussle with BB for PMship. RIP


  • ajawai2
    Oct 23, 2011 - 8:46PM

    @Syed A. Mateen:

    So you really think your son you son, a common man can be a prime minister of Pakistan a country where no political party helds a leadership convention. You are one gullible person sir. May your bubble never burst.


  • ajawai2
    Oct 23, 2011 - 8:52PM

    another holiday look at how much power we are gonna safe? No more loadsheddingRecommend

  • Engr. Aasim Riaz
    Oct 23, 2011 - 8:54PM

    I personally tribute to Nusrat bhutoo for her hard work in faver of pakistan peoples party ..she was the wife of founder of ppp and the founder of pakistan nuclear power. we are in faith that the secretarial of bhutoo family will comes a great democracatic system in pakistan . and a day become that democracy will win and pakistan take the establishment which requaired today


  • Karachite
    Oct 23, 2011 - 8:59PM

    May her soul rest in peace. Ameen.

    However, does all of Pakistan need to be closed tomorrow? Wouldn’t the late ZA Bhutto want Pakistan to remain open so that we may all contribute to a stronger GDP and therefore a stronger Pakistan?

    Please some sane people – answer this question?!

    God Forbid but if 365 people of the ruling Political Dynasties were to die (some day everyone dies) will all of Pakistan be shut down for the entire year???


  • bhai
    Oct 23, 2011 - 9:03PM

    she dies in Dubai and we get a holiday in Pakistan!!


  • Ali
    Oct 23, 2011 - 9:05PM

    Is Vacation on Nusrat Bhutto in All pakistan was necessary.. as govt had already announced it. What you guyz think is it a fair decision..?


  • Seher Siddiqui
    Oct 23, 2011 - 9:10PM

    Nusrat Bhutto was a great lady.May ALLAH rest her soul in peace,Aameen.
    notwithstanding her credentials, is holiday justified? Do we realize the loss to country. Recommend

  • Adil
    Oct 23, 2011 - 9:44PM

    Inna lillahi Wa InnaElayhi Raji’un

    Though not a PPP supporter myself, but I have to appreciate,admire and salute the courage of this lady. One may argue if she achieved anything in her career following death of her husband,but her determination and patience is something which makes her a great political icon without a shadow of doubt. I am sure that suffering death was something that was less severe than what the former chairman of PPP had to go through during the last 30 years of her life. I wish that now she finds eternal peace.


  • Farooq Khan
    Oct 23, 2011 - 10:17PM

    @Syed Abdul Wahab Gilani:
    That was in bad taste. She was a brave lady who stood firm against a tyrant. We have seen men chicken out once facing the enemy stronger than them. To give you a recent example Mullah Omar of Afghanistan ran away on a motor cycle instead of fighting. This must be a world record becuase no ruler has ever done that. RIP Nusrat Bhutto


  • Oct 23, 2011 - 11:08PM

    She was the greatest lady. She remained a support for every Bhutto Family member. Be it Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Shahnawaz or Murtaza Bhutto and the ZAB.

    Rest in peace, at last ma’am.


  • Ali Tanoli,
    Oct 23, 2011 - 11:08PM

    Wife of a great man.


  • Aadersh
    Oct 23, 2011 - 11:44PM

    May the departed soul rest in peace…


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Oct 23, 2011 - 11:45PM

    It was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who first discussed the idea of forming PPP with his wife Nusrat even before floating the idea among his close friends and colleagues.

    Mrs. Nusrat Bhutto backed her husband and then the former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto formally launched PPP and open the basic membership.

    During the entire political process, Mrs. Nusrat Bhutto was well informed of all party politics and developments which have later give her the courage to fight for the rights of her husband and party workers.

    Mrs. Nusrat Bhutto was not only a brave wife, but also a courageous mother who looked after her children after the death of Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

    The standing of PPP today in the country is due to the tireless efforts of Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and then by his wife Mrs. Nusrat Bhutto who equally shared the wrath of the former military dictator Zia-ul=Haq whose name has been deleted from the list of President of Pakistan by the sitting parliament.

    Life any other member of her family, I am equally sad and mentally disturb on the demise of the former first lady Begum Nusrat Bhutto who has written a history of fighting for the rights of a common man in the country.

    Begum Nusrat Bhutto – I salute you for all the good work done for the common man of Pakistan.

    May you ever remain alive among the hearts of millions of your party workers and fans. May Al-Mighty Allah rest your soul in peace. Ameen


  • Sidra
    Oct 23, 2011 - 11:51PM

    want to boycott this National Holiday …Fret


  • Niaz Hussain Shah
    Oct 24, 2011 - 12:44AM

    Great lady, good wife, brave mother, true Pakistani, fought for the restoration of democracy and dreamt of a prosperous Pakistan. She gave birth to 3 children Shahnawaz Bhutto, Murtaza Bhutto and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who attained martyrdom.
    ALAS we lost her. May ALLAH grant her a place in heaven. Ameen.


  • Ali
    Oct 24, 2011 - 1:18AM

    why ntional holiday…………


  • Waqas
    Oct 24, 2011 - 1:26AM

    thx for the holiday


  • hira
    Oct 24, 2011 - 2:11AM

    she was a great person & politician, may God give her best place. Her death is a great lose for country
    Bt holiday is unnecessary cuz now a days terms started in schools.Recommend

  • csmann
    Oct 24, 2011 - 2:50AM

    it takes a great person to rise above personal tragedies,and keep fighting for a better future for a country. A lady of courage and determination!!!! may she rest in peace!!


  • Silent Spectator
    Oct 24, 2011 - 4:50AM

    I just don’t understand the government’s rationale, if any, in announcing a public holiday to mourn her death. Pakistan’s economy has taken a severe hit this year due to market closure because of the floods, violence in Karachi, terrorism in Pakistan, cricket World Cup, strikes, and load shedding. Do we need another day off in addition to all other days that we already got this year? Does the honorable Prime Minister even understand how much financial loss is caused by an unnecessary holiday? The media also reported that several board examinations scheduled were either cancelled or postponed. Is this a price we, Pakistanis, need to pay for the death of Nusrat Bhutto?
    I understand all her sacrifices and suffering but I still think a day off was uncalled for. The Bhuttos and the Zardaris may be very important politically but they are being treated like the royal family of Pakistan and we are nothing but their subjects. This is just wrong!


  • Izhar
    Oct 24, 2011 - 4:58AM

    Rest in peace brave lady!


  • Syed Khurram Anwar
    Oct 24, 2011 - 8:29AM

    when u get blind in love for money and power, u have to bear the losses as Nusrat had to. Its greatness of people of Pakistan that they get sad on the death of these people even after whatever these leaders have been doing to them. Anyways, I pray for her and I wish Allah forgives her and her kids. Recommend

  • Mirza
    Oct 24, 2011 - 9:04AM

    Being a parent myself I have always felt that in all the Bhutto family tragedy, Begum Nusrat Bhutto was the biggest victim. She lost her husband to a worst dictator, then both of her sons one after the other and in the end BB during the last military dictator’s rule. In a way her memory loss was a blessing for her. My heart goes for Begum Sahiba. It is sad to see that after so many sufferings some people’s hate for the family has not subsided. My whole family loved Begum Sahiba with great devotion and appreciation for all her sacrifices. May God bless her soul. Amen!


  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Oct 24, 2011 - 9:10AM

    People belonging to the the province of Sindh who are giving adverse comments on the holiday only understand the language of arms twisting. They one way or the other keep their business activities closed when ever any call comes from MILITANT Parties Show respect for this lady of sorrows who though being wife and mother of those who gave life for democracy and her own struggle for the same purpose is also remarkable If we Pakistanis really are for democracy then unite yourself or simply “Shut-Up”.


  • kazi jawed akhter
    Oct 24, 2011 - 12:07PM

    Inna lillah he wa Inna alaiyhe rajehoon. Begum sahiba has joined the group of shuhadaa Zulfkar Ali iBhutto, Mir Shahnawaz Bhotto,Mir Murtaza Bhutto and Mohterma Benazir Bhutto. .Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Oct 24, 2011 - 1:30PM

    May her soul rest in peace! Ameen. and may God forgive her, and all of us. In real, it is the success. At last, we have to leave this world and go to the that world for which we have no experience. May God help us in every moment of life and show us the right path!Recommend

  • blue
    Oct 24, 2011 - 2:27PM

    she face all the difficulties of life…………………………..


  • blue
    Oct 24, 2011 - 2:32PM

    she was very good lady………………….


  • pervaiz memon
    Oct 24, 2011 - 2:34PM

    I think as a nation we became vary conservative nation . Always Try to find out a negative point to show himself as patriotic and progressive . As most of the people object national holiday on her death .I am personally not in fever of holiday . But Is not it is our custom that if any one in our family has died we close our shop/ office / business on that day even some time people closed their work place for three days. It is our custom right or wrong. And i think she is most respectable persons who deserved this . It is matter of owner and she deserve . And what happen if same happen to Dr. abdul Qadeer Kahn or Abdul Satter Edhi ( God may give them life of hundred year )


  • ABC
    Oct 24, 2011 - 4:30PM

    She from the middle of her life suffered beyond ones imaginations. May Allah rest his soul in peace, Amin.


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