Chronology of Bhutto's political life
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Chronology of Bhutto's political life

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's second home coming after eight years of self-imposed exile has come amid a political crisis in Pakistan.

world Updated: Oct 18, 2007 20:48 IST

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's second home coming after eight years of self-imposed exile has come amid a political crisis in Pakistan.

Following is a brief chronology of major developments in Bhutto's political life:

April 4, 1979: Benazir Bhutto's father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was executed by military dictator Zia-ul-Haq. Bhutto was allowed to leave for England in 1984 after three-year imprisonment.

April 1986: Bhutto arrives in Lahore from exile to a rapturous welcome by a million of supporters to lead the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) against Zia-ul-Haq.

November 16, 1988: The PPP wins elections organised after Zia-ul-Haq was killed in an air crash.

December 2, 1988: Bhutto sworn in as Pakistan's first woman prime minister.

August 1990: Bhutto dismissed by president Ghulam Ishaq Khan on charges of corruption and misrule. Her husband Asif Zardari arrested on kidnapping charges.

October 1990: PPP loses elections and sits in opposition for three years while Nawaz Sharif is prime minister.

October 1993: PPP returns to power and Bhutto is re-elected as prime minister for a second term.

October 1996: President Farooq Ahmed Leghari sacks Bhutto on charges of corruption and abuse of power. Zardari is arrested once again and imprisoned on a range of corruption and criminal charges.

April 1999: A Pakistani court convicts Bhutto and Zardari of receiving kickbacks worth millions of dollars for awarding a contract to two Swiss firms during her 1993-96 rule. The conviction overturned two years later.

April 1999: Bhutto goes into self-imposed exile in London and Dubai, vowing to return to Pakistan and contest elections in 2002.

October 12, 1999: Musharraf overthrows Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a coup after Sharif tries to sack him as army chief.

July 2002: Musharraf issues a decree barring former premiers who have served two terms from serving a third, widely viewed as targeting Bhutto and Sharif.

October 10, 2002: Nationwide polls are held without Bhutto who is warned she will be jailed if she returns. The PPP wins 80 of 342 National Assembly seats.

July 2003: A Swiss court finds Bhutto and Zardari guilty of laundering $12 million through Swiss bank accounts and hands them a six-month suspended jail term. The sentence is later overturned on appeal.

November 2004: Zardari is released from prison after serving eight years on corruption charges, and reunites with Bhutto in exile.

January 2006 :Interpol issues international notices following a request by Pakistan for the arrest of Bhutto and Zardari on corruption charges.

July 3-10, 2007: Pakistani troops besiege and storm the radical Red Mosque in Islamabad, killing at least 100 people.

July 13, 2007: Bhutto praises the operation, sparking outrage among hardliners. A suicide bomber later attacks her party headquarters, killing 15 people.

September 2007: Musharraf and Bhutto aides step up talks in London and Dubai over a power-sharing pact.

September 14, 2007: PPP announces Bhutto will return on October 18.

October 4, 2007: Bhutto and Musharraf agree on national reconciliation accord. Musharraf signs deal for an amnesty, which clears Bhutto of graft charges.

October 6, 2007: Musharraf wins presidential election.

October 13: The government urges Bhutto to delay her return until a court rules whether the amnesty deal is legal.

October 17, 2007: At a press conference in Dubai, Bhutto confirms she will return as planned, saying "Pakistan's future is at stake."

First Published: Oct 18, 2007 20:44 IST