4 April 1979 – Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

Zulfikar Ali BhuttoIf you can’t beat him, bump him off, so thought politician Ahmed Raza Kasuri after he arranged to have the prime minister of Pakistan executed.

Family way

The Prime Minister in question was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, but you may know him better as the recently assassinated Benazir Bhutto’s dad.

A founder of Pakistan’s People’s Party (PPP), it took off in a big way. While he was a very successful politician like his daughter, Bhutto made enemies along the way naturally.


In the ‘70s, a former member of the party – Ahmed Raza Kasuri – tried to run for office, even though he no longer belonged so, of course, the PPP objected. Doomed to failure, snubbed Kasuri then channelled his energies into pinning the blame for his father’s dead on Bhutto. His family had been ambushed and Kasuri’s dad was killed in the crossfire, so he spent his time trying to fit Bhutto up and this time he was successful in his endeavours.

The savvy judge kicked the trial into touch due to an abundance of dodgy evidence, and in return for his forthright and straightforward approach, the judge was thrown out too.


This time, there was no messing, Bhutto was re-arrested under martial law and was found guilty of murder. He was sentenced to death and then came a spate of appeals, which were postponed until a pro-Bhutto judge had retired.

Bhutto was left at a distinct disadvantage – he ultimately represented himself in court, despite reports of being deprived of fresh water for 25 days before his trial as he sat on death row.
The odds seemed stacked against him, however, it was a close-run thing and he lost by a sliver. And despite a failed last-ditch appeal, Bhutto was hanged at Adiyala Jail in Rawalpindi, aged 51 three months later.

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