Zia-ul-Haq, Mohammad

Zia-ul-Haq, Mohammad

biographical name

(born Aug. 12, 1924, Jullundur, Punjab, India—died Aug. 17, 1988, near Bahawalpur, Pak.) President of Pakistan (1978–88). He served with the British in Southeast Asia at the end of World War II; after Pakistan's independence, he held various staff and command appointments for 19 years. He became a major general in 1972 and army chief of staff in 1976. The following year he seized power from Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and in 1978 he assumed the presidency. After having the popular Bhutto executed in 1979, he tightened his grip on the government, suspending political parties and declaring martial law, and he worked for the Islamization of Pakistan's political and cultural life. He died in an airplane crash.

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