General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq’s tenure ranged from July 1977 to his death on 17th August 1988. Zia was born in Jalandhar, British India, in 1924. After graduation, he joined the British Indian Army in 1943. He married Shafiq Jahan in 1951.
One of his sons Muhammad Ijaz-ul-Haq joined politics and became a cabinet minister in the government of Nawaz Sharif. Zia-ul-Haq was appointed Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in 1976.
After widespread civil disorder, he overthrew ruling Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in a bloodless coup d’état on July 5, 1977 and became the state’s third ruler to impose martial law. He initially ruled as Chief Martial Law Administrator, but later installed himself as the President of Pakistan in September 1978.
Zia’s major domestic initiatives included the consolidation of the fledgling nuclear programme, which was initiated by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, denationalisation and deregulation and the state’s Islamisation. His tenure saw the disbanding of the Baloch insurgency. His endorsement of the Pakistan Muslim League (the founding party of Pakistan) initiated its mainstream revival. However, he is most remembered for his foreign policy; the subsidising of the Mujahideen Movement during the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which led to the Soviet Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan. Zia died along with several of his top generals and then United States Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Lewis Raphel in a suspicious aircraft crash near Bahawalpur on August 17, 1988.
May his soul rest in peace.ameen.