Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali (zŏlˈfĭkär älēˈ bōtˈtō) [key], 1928–79, Pakistani political leader. Member of a wealthy landowning family, he entered politics as the protégé of General Ayub Khan. Bhutto joined the cabinet in 1958, becoming foreign minister in 1963. Critical of the Indo–Pakistan agreement ending the 1965 war, he left the government and formed (1967) the Pakistan People's party. In the 1970 elections his party won a majority in West Pakistan, but East Pakistan's Awami League, led by Mujibur Rahman, won an overall majority. Bhutto's refusal to meet Mujibur's demands for East Pakistan's autonomy or for participation in the government led to the (1971) civil war and Indian intervention. (see India-Pakistan Wars). When Pakistan was defeated, losing East Pakistan in Dec., 1971, Bhutto took over the presidency. In 1973, under a new constitution, he became prime minister instead, retaining government control. In Feb., 1974, he recognized the former East Pakistan as Bangladesh. Bhutto was reelected in 1977, but was overthrown in a coup by General Zia ul-Haq. Removed from office, Bhutto was convicted of conspiracy to murder. He was executed in 1979, despite international protests.
See his If I Am Assassinated (1979). See also S. Kulmar, The New Pakistan (1979); S. J. Burki, Pakistan Under Bhutto, 1971–1977 (1980).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.