Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (January 5, 1928–April 4, 1979) was a Pakistani politician who served as the fourth President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973 and as the ninth Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977. He was the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the largest and most influential political party in Pakistan.
Educated at the University of California, Berkeley, in the United States and University of Oxfordin the United Kingdom, Bhutto was noted for his economic initiatives and authoring Pakistan's nuclear programme. He was executed in 1979 after the Supreme Court of Pakistan sentenced him to death for authorizing the murder of a political opponent, in a move that many believe was done under the directives of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was born to Khursheed Begum nee Lakhi Bai and Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto. He was born in a prominent Sindhi Shia Muslim Arain family. Bhutto's father was a prominent political figure in the Indian colonial government. Bhutto was born in his parent's residence near Larkana in what later became the province of Sindh. He was their third child — their first one, Sikandar Ali, died from pneumonia at age seven in 1914 and the second child, Imdad Ali, died of cirrhosis at the age of 39 in 1953. His father was a wealthy landlord, a zamindar, and a prominent politician in Sindh, who enjoyed an influential relationship with the officials of the British Raj. As a young boy, Bhutto moved to Worli Seaface in Bombay (now Mumbai) to study at the Cathedral and John Connon School. During this period, he also became a student activist in the League's Pakistan Movement. In 1943, his marriage was arranged with Shireen Amir Begum (died January 19, 2003 in Karachi). He later left her, however, in order to remarry. In 1947, Bhutto was admitted to the University of Southern California.
In 1957, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became the youngest member of Pakistan's delegation to the United Nations. He would address the United Nations Sixth Committee on Aggression on October 25, 1957 and lead Pakistan's deputation to the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Seas in 1958. In the same year, Bhutto became the youngest Pakistani cabinet minister when he was given charge of the energy ministry by President Muhammad Ayub Khan, who had seized power and declared martial law. He was subsequently promoted to head the ministries of commerce, information and industries. Bhutto became a close and trusted advisor to Ayub, rising in influence and power despite his youth and relative inexperience in politics. Bhutto aided Ayub in negotiating the Indus Water Treaty with India in 1960. In 1961, Bhutto negotiated an oil exploration agreement with the Soviet Union, which also agreed to provide economic and technical aid to Pakistan.
As president, Bhutto addressed the nation via radio and television, saying "My dear countrymen, my dear friends, my dear students, labourers, peasants… those who fought for Pakistan… We are facing the worst crisis in our country's life, a deadly crisis. We have to pick up the pieces, very small pieces, but we will make a new Pakistan, a prosperous and progressive Pakistan." He placed Yahya under house arrest, brokered a ceasefire and ordered the release of Sheikh Mujib, who was held prisoner by the army. To implement this, Bhutto reversed the verdict of Mujib's court trial that had taken place earlier, in which the presiding Brigadier Rahimuddin Khan(later General) had sentenced Mujib to death. Appointing a new cabinet, Bhutto appointed Gen. Gul Hasan as Chief of Army Staff. On January 2, 1972 Bhutto announced the nationalisation of all major industries, including iron and steel, heavy engineering, heavy electricals, petrochemicals, cement and public utilities. A new labour policy was announced increasing workers rights and the power of trade unions. Although he came from a feudal background himself, Bhutto announced reforms limiting land ownership and a government take-over of over a million acres (4,000 km²) to distribute to landless peasants. More than 2,000 civil servants were dismissed on charges of corruption. Bhutto also dismissed the military chiefs on March 3 after they refused orders to suppress a major police strike in Punjab. He appointed Gen. Tikka Khan as the new Chief of the Army Staff in March 1972 as he felt the General would not interfere in political matters and would concentrate on rehabilitating the Pakistan Army. Bhutto convened the National Assembly on April 14, rescinded martial law on April 21 and charged the legislators with writing a new constitution.
On March 24, 1979 the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal. Zia upheld the death sentence. Bhutto was hanged at Central jail, Rawalpindi, on 4 April 1979, and is buried in Village Cemetery at Garhi Khuda Baksh