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Timeline: The Turbulent Life of Benazir Bhutto

Bhutto waves to the crowd during an election campaign meeting in December. Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images

Bhutto waves to the crowd during an election campaign meeting in December.

Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images

Benazir Bhutto, who became the first woman to serve as prime minister of a Muslim country, was assassinated Thursday when an attacker opened fire and then blew himself up after a political rally in Pakistan. Here, a look at key moments in her often stormy life in politics:

June 21, 1953: Benazir Bhutto is born into a wealthy family in southern Pakistan.

1973: Bhutto's father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a former Pakistani president, begins serving as prime minister. Benazir Bhutto graduates from Harvard's Radcliffe College.

1976: Bhutto graduates from Oxford University.

April 4, 1979: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is executed for the murder of a political opponent, two years after his ouster as prime minister in a military coup.

April 10, 1986: Benazir Bhutto returns from exile in London to lead the Pakistan Peoples Party, founded by her father.

December 1988: Bhutto, age 35, becomes the first female prime minister of a Muslim nation after winning parliamentary elections.

Aug. 6, 1990: President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismisses Bhutto's government, citing corruption and a failure to control ethnic violence.

Oct. 19, 1993: Bhutto takes oath for a second term as prime minister.

1996: Bhutto's brother Murtaza dies in a gun battle with police in Karachi. Her brother Shahnawaz had died under mysterious circumstances in France a decade earlier.

Nov. 5, 1996: President Farooq Leghari dismisses Bhutto's second administration amid accusations of nepotism and undermining the justice system.

April 14, 1999: A court finds Bhutto guilty of corruption while she is out of the country. The conviction is later quashed, but Bhutto remains in exile.

Oct. 12, 1999: Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the head of the armed forces, seizes power from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup.

Oct. 5, 2007: Musharraf signs an amnesty covering cases against Bhutto, opening the way for her return and a possible power-sharing agreement.

Oct. 18, 2007: Bhutto returns to Pakistan after more than eight years of exile. She narrowly escapes a suicide bombing that kills nearly 140 people during a homecoming procession in Karachi.

Nov. 9, 2007: Police throw barbed wire around Bhutto's house to keep her from speaking at a rally to protest Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule.

Nov. 13, 2007: Authorities put Bhutto under house arrest again. She urges Musharraf to resign.

Dec. 1, 2007: Bhutto launches her election campaign.

Dec. 27, 2007: Minutes after Bhutto addresses thousands of supporters in Rawalpindi, she and at least 20 others are killed when a gunman opens fire and a suicide bomb explodes.

Compiled from The Associated Press and NPR research