In Kurachi, Pakistan, hundreds of miles away from Rawalpindi where Bhutto was killed, Afridi got word via text message on his cell phone.
Television and radio news have been blacked out in the country since early November when Gen. Pervez Musharraf took emergency rule of the country. Pakistanis rely on Internet news sites as well as satellite dishes to learn of news within their own country.
News of Bhutto's death spread across Pakistan via text message and word of mouth, drawing hundreds out onto the street in grief and anger.
"At first no one would believe it," Afridi said. "Soon there was firing outside of our gate, things were being burned, there was violent reaction."
Afridi, a cardiologist for Clipper Cardiovascular Associated in Newburyport, was in Pakistan visiting his brother. He recently returned and shared his experience, giving a rare window into a world few Americans understand.
In the days following Bhutto's death, violence marred the country with protests and widespread burning of cars, buildings and looting, Afridi said.
"People were generally angry, and there were random acts of violence. In Pakistan, this is acceptable only because there is so much poverty," Afridi said, noting the high cost of living, unemployment and poverty rates in Pakistan.
The government shut down businesses, and Pakistanis across the country struggled to get food staples and fuel.
"There was no fuel so we had to conserve," Afridi said. "They shut everything off because people were burning everything on the road."
News of Bhutto's death created chaos in Pakistan and raised concern worldwide about that country's unstable political climate and the country's fragile relations with the United States. A graduate of Harvard and Oxford, Bhutto had the backing of the U.S. because she pushed for democracy and an end to terrorism.
"Even the places in the country where she was not popular, people were asking why this happened and what was the reason," Afridi said. "I am sad, but I am not surprised by her death. It is sad we lost a leader. She would have probably transformed the country and would have become a power of democracy. But old generals are holding us back and holding onto power by dividing and conquering. They want to hold onto the free money coming to them from the U.S. government."
For Afridi, the latest developments are gut-wrenching for a Pakistani still entrenched in his heritage.
"I am an eternal optimist, and I want to think good things will come for Pakistan, but the way things have been divided and the structure, it appears there will be more turmoil and strife in the future," Afridi said. "It is sad because the people are good people and want to work hard and achieve, but the leaders have changed the country."
Afridi urges Americans to foster acceptance of the Pakistani people and the Muslim religion they practice.
"Over the past 15 years, there has been the belief Pakistan spreads hate of Americans and Pakistanis spread rumor America hates them," Afridi said. "But people are the same everywhere; they want to have food and a job. The values for most of the people are the same; the language, the clothes and the food is what separates."
Afridi moved to the United States 20 years ago to study medicine at Boston University. He never meant to leave Pakistan for good but after graduating from Boston University he settled in Needham, where he now raises his family.
"You grow up in a country that has given so much to you, and although you make your home in a new country, those smells, the people, the culture never leave you," Afridi said. "You can take me out of Pakistan, but you can't take Pakistan out of me."