Their guns were loaded, the roadblocks had been erected, the surrounding lanes sealed off.
The guards outside the different embassies nearby had been told to retreat within their compounds in expectation of trouble.
According to witnesses, when the leading car drew up at the roadblock, there was a single shot from the police, followed by two more shots, one of which hit the foremost of Murtaza’s armed bodyguards.
Sizing up the situation immediately, and guessing that the police wanted to provoke his guards into retaliating, Murtaza immediately got out of his car and urged his men to hold their fire.
Benazir was then the prime minister, and Murtaza’s decision to take her on had put him into direct conflict not only with his sister, but also with her ambitious and powerful husband, Asif Ali Zardari.
Murtaza had an animus against Zardari, who he believed was not just a nakedly and riotously corrupt polo-playing playboy, but had pushed Benazir to abandon the PPP’s once-radical agenda fighting for social justice.
As the convoy neared home, the street lights were abruptly turned off.
“She just said, ‘Fati, you don’t understand how this works.’ There were never any criminal proceedings.After another 45 minutes, an increasingly worried Fatima called the prime minister’s house and asked to speak to her aunt.Benazir’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, took her call.In view of their worsening relations, Murtaza is said to have rung Zardari and invited him for a chat at the Bhutto headquarters, 70 Clifton.It was agreed he should come without bodyguards, in order that the two might meet privately and try to settle their differences. But as the two men were walking through the garden, Murtaza’s guards suddenly appeared and grabbed Zardari.Murtaza took out a cut-throat razor, and after slowly sharpening it, personally shaved off half of Zardari’s moustache. A furious Zardari, who had presumably feared much worse than a shave, was compelled to remove the other half of his moustache once he got home.Whether there is any truth to this story – and Murtaza’s family strongly deny there is – the two brothers-in- law had become irreconcilable by the end of the summer of 1996, and few believed the rivalry was likely to end peacefully. Murtaza’s bodyguards were notoriously rough, and Murtaza was alleged to have sentenced to death several former associates, including his future biographer, Raja Anwar, author of an unflattering portrait, The Terrorist Prince. Around the time of the alleged moustache shaving, when Benazir’s mother, the Begum Bhutto, suggested that Murtaza be made the chief minister of Sindh, Benazir and Zardari’s response was to remove the Begum as chairperson of the PPP.“They had taken my father to the Mideast, a dispensary,” says Fatima.“It wasn’t an emergency facility and had no surgeons or any facilities for treating a wounded man. One of those shots was from point-blank range, at the back of his jaw, and it had blown away part of his face. Then my mother sat with him, speaking to him, holding his hand. We lost him just after midnight.” The two bereaved women went straight to a police station to register a report, but the police refused to take it down.Two hundred yards down the road, inside the compound of 70 Clifton, the house where Benazir Bhutto had spent her childhood, was Murtaza’s wife Ghinwa, his daughter, the 12-year-old Fatima, and the couple’s young son, Zulfikar, then aged six.When the first shot rang out, Fatima was in Zulfikar’s bedroom, helping put him to bed.