(CNN) -- After eight years in exile, former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto is making a bid to return to prominence in the country as part of a power-sharing deal with president General Pervez Musharraf's military government.
Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan could stir up more political unheaval in the country.
Analysts say a deal could cost Bhutto her credibility as a reformist and bolster opposition leader and ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif ahead of national elections.
Veteran politician Bhutto is positioned to fill another power vacuum -- Musharraf's grip on power has weakened in recent months and commentators say the country has a dearth of good political leaders.
Bhutto, 54, was the first woman and youngest person to lead a modern Muslim nation. She came to power on the back of her father's legacy and was removed from office twice amid corruption allegations against her and her husband.
She was born into a wealthy landowning family in Pakistan's Sindh province and is the eldest of four children. Her father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, founded the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and led the country as president and then as prime minister between 1971 and 1977, when he was arrested on murder charges following a military coup.
At first a reluctant political player, Bhutto vowed to carry on her father's work, taking over as PPP leader in 1979 after her father was hanged by the government of General Mohammed Zia-Ul-Haq .
Bhutto is often seen as an icon of democracy in a largely male-dominated country stricken with military rule and religious extremism -- in the 60 years since it's birth, Pakistan has seen mostly military rule and suffered widespread instability and sectarian violence.
As one of the world's few high-profile female leaders, Bhutto's affluent background, western education and glamorous rise to the top brought hope for reform in Pakistan. But her political career has been stricken with turmoil and personal tragedy.
Bhutto spent five years in prison after her father's execution, much of it in solitary confinement. She was also exiled to London for a time, finally returning to Pakistan to a heroes welcome in 1985. She was first elected prime minister in 1988 but removed from office two years later over allegations of corruption and hoarding public wealth.
After she regained power in 1993, Bhutto was sacked amid similar circumstances in 1996, leaving behind a lackluster legacy of poor governance. A minister in her government, Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari was jailed over corruption charges after her overthrow and released in November 2004 after eight years in prison.
Bhutto's brothers, Shahnawaz and Mir Murtaza Bhutto, both politically active, died suspiciously in 1985 and 1996. Her western education at Harvard in the U.S. and Oxford in the UK made her an attractive personality to a nation struggling with its own identity.
But Bhutto's academic accomplishments, including her membership in the Oxford Union Debating Society, and strong background in political science were often overshadowed by clumsy public speeches because of a poor command of Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. Since her departure from Pakistan, Bhutto has been living in exile in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for the past eight years, giving lectures around the world. E-mail to a friend
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