Mother of Democracy
بیگم نصرت بھٹو
Mr Kazi welcoming Prime Minister Bhutto and Begum Nusrat Bhutto.JPG
Nusrat Bhutto (in middle) is seen standing as Zulfiqar Bhutto meets a little girl.
2nd Chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party
4 April 1979 – 10 January 1983
Preceded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Succeeded by Benazir Bhutto
First Lady of Pakistan
20 December 1971 – 5 July 1977
Succeeded by Shafiq Jahan Zia-ul-Haq
Born Nusrat Ispahnie
23 March 1929
Died 23 October 2011 (aged 82)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Citizenship Iran (1929–1947)
Nationality Kurdish-Iranian, Pakistani
Political party Pakistan People's Party
Spouse(s) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Children Benazir Bhutto
Residence Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Religion Shia Islam
Begum Nusrat Bhutto (Urdu: بیگم نصرت بھٹو, Sindhi: بیگم نصرت ڀٽو; 23 March 1929 – 23 October 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 Pakistan Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto. 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 Bhutto graveyard on 25 October 2011. 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 "Māder-e-Jamhooriat (English Mother of Democracy), a title she was honored with by the Parliament of Pakistan following her death.
2 Family and political career
3 Illness and death
Nusrat Ispahnie was born on 23rd March 1929 in Esfahan, Iran, hailing from the wealthy Hariri Esfahani family in Esfahan. She was said to be of Kurdish descent. However, the Kurdish connection only comes from her grandmother who had married into the Hariri family. Her father was a wealthy Iranian businessman who migrated to Karachi, Pakistan before partition. 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. Nusrat met Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in Karachi where they got married on 8 September 1951. 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 is currently serving as the President of Pakistan.
Family and political career
As first lady from 1973–77, she functioned as a political hostess 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.
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.
Illness and death
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. 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.
According to her senior party leader, Bhutto's disease was so advanced that she did not even know of the assassination of her daughter, Benazir. She used a ventilator until her death on October 23, 2011. 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.