Mir Ghulam Murtaza Bhutto (September 18, 1954 - September 20, 1996) was a Pakistani politician from the powerful Bhutto family, elder son of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the brother of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto. He was usually known as Murtaza Bhutto and was assassinated under mysterious circumstances.
Like his elder sister, Benazir, Murtaza Bhutto was a novice to active politics until 1978 when his father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was sentenced to death by the Lahore High Court. In the span of 15 years, however, Murtaza has managed to gain considerable notoriety for a brand of politics that has moved in diametrically opposing direction to Benazir Bhutto's.
Born in Karachi on September 18, 1954, Mir Murtaza received his early education at St. Mary's School, Rawalpindi. He later passed his `O' levels from the Karachi Grammar School in 1971.
In 1972, Murtaza went off to Harvard University where he studied Government, specializing in strategic studies. He graduated with honors in 1976, and his thesis was entitled ``Modicum of Harmony which dealt with the spread of nuclear weapons in general, and the implications of India's nuclear capability for Pakistan in particular.
Murtaza went on to Christ Church College Oxford, his father's alma mater, for a three-year course to read for an M.Lit. degree. But the death penalty awarded to his father in 1978 seriously disrupted his studies. Murtaza was on the verge of rushing home when he received a message from his father asking him to remain abroad where he could mobilize an international campaign for his release.
Murtaza had been present in Pakistan when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's government was overthrown on July 5, 1977. Along with other family members, Murtaza had returned to Al-Murtaza, Larkana, and at the time was busy helping in the preparations for the elections schedule for October 1977. But on September 16, 1977 when Bhutto was arrested from Al-Murtaza, he ordered his son to leave the country.
After Bhutto was sentenced, Murtaza joined hands with his brother the late Shahnawaz Bhutto, to initiate a campaign to muster international support to revoke the death penalty looming over his father's head. Leaders from Syria, Libya, and the PLO were particularly supportive. Mercy appeals were sent by several heads of state to General Ziaul Haq which failed, however, to sway his decision.
Murtaza and Shahnawaz both cut short their respective educations and decided to devote themselves to avenge their father's death. Eventually they resorted to taking up arms, their main target being General Ziaul Haq. This marked the beginning of a new and more controversial era in Murtaza's life.
On the night of Thursday 20th September 1996, the estranged brother of Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and the only surviving son of the Martyred Lion of Sindh Mr Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Mir Murtaza Bhutto was shot dead along with 6 other party activists in a police encounter near his residence.