Zia-ul-Haq: Wikis


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General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
محمد ضياء الحق

In office
September 16, 1978 – August 17, 1988
Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo
Preceded by Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry
Succeeded by Ghulam Ishaq Khan

In office
October 11, 1976 – August 17, 1988
Preceded by Tikka Khan
Succeeded by Mirza Aslam Beg

Born 12 August 1924(1924-08-12)
Jalandhar, British India
Died 17 August 1988 (aged 64)
Bahawalpur, Punjab, Pakistan
Political party Military
Religion Sunni Muslim

General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (Punjabi, Urdu: محمد ضياء الحق  ; 12 August 1924 – 17 August 1988) was the sixth President of Pakistan from July 1977 to his death in August 1988. Distinguished by his role in the Black September in Jordan military operation in 1970, he was appointed Chief of Army Staff in 1976. After widespread civil disorder, he overthrew ruling Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in a bloodless coup d'état on 5 July 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 program, which was initiated by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, denationalization and deregulation and the state's Islamization. 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[citation needed]. However, he is most remembered for his foreign policy; the subsidizing of the Mujahideen movement during the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which led to the Soviet Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan. He was described by some as a "fundamentalist Sunni dictator"[1].

Zia died along with several of his top generals and then-United States Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Lewis Raphel in an aircraft crash near Bahawalpur (Punjab) on 17 August 1988, the circumstances of which are highly suspicious, and at best remain unclear.[citation needed]


Early life

Zia was born in Jalandhar, British India, in 1924 as the second child of an Arain, Muhammad Akbar, who worked as a senior clerk in the Army GHQ in Delhi and Simla pre-partition. Upon Retiremment his Father was given a job as caretaker of the Baba Khel Mosque built and used by the local Burki Pathans.

Zia joined the British Indian Army in 1943. He married Shafiq Jahan in 1951. One of his sons went into politics (Muhammad Ijaz-ul-Haq) becoming a cabinet minister in the government of Nawaz Sharif. He completed his initial education in Simla and then at St. Stephen's College, Delhi.

Army career

Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
12 August 1924(1924-08-12) – 17 August 1988 (aged 64)
Zia ul haq.jpg
Place of birth Jalandhar, British India
Place of death Bahawalpur, Pakistan
Allegiance Pakistan Pakistan
Service/branch Pakistan Army (PA – 1810)
Years of service 1943–1988
Rank General
Unit Armoured Corps (Guides Cavalry FF)
Commands held 2nd Independent Armoured Brigade, Jordan
1st Armoured Division, Multan
II Corps, Multan
Chief of Army Staff
Battles/wars World War II
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Black September in Jordan
Soviet war in Afghanistan

He was commissioned in the British Indian Army in a cavalry regiment on 12 May 1943 and served against Nazi Germany and its allies in World War II. After Pakistan gained its independence, Zia joined the newly formed Pakistan Army as a major. His regiment was now the Guides Cavalry Frontier Force Regiment. He trained in the United States in 1962–1964 at the US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. After that, he returned to take over as Directing Staff (DS) at Command and Staff College, Quetta.[2] During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Zia was a tank commander.[3]

Zia was stationed in Jordan from 1967 to 1970 as a Brigadier, helping in the training of Jordanian soldiers, as well as leading the training mission into battle during the Black September operations as commander of Jordanian 2nd Division, a strategy that proved crucial to King Hussein's remaining in power. By 1973, then Maj Gen Zia was commanding the 1st Armoured Division at Multan.[2]

He was then promoted as Lt Gen and was appointed commander of the II Strike Corps at Multan in 1975. It was during this time when General Zia invited Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as the Colonel-in-Chief of the Armoured Corps at Multan, using his tailor to stitch the Blue Patrols of his size. The next day, Bhutto was requested to climb a tank and engage a target, where the target was quite obviously hit. After the function, General Zia met Bhutto, placed his hand on the Quran and said, "You are the saviour of Pakistan and we owe it to you to be totally loyal to you."[4]

On 1 March 1976, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto approved Zia-ul-Haq as Chief of Army Staff, ahead of a number of more senior officers[citation needed]. At the time of his nominating the successor to the outgoing chief General Tikka Khan, the Lieutenant Generals in order of seniority were, Muhammad Shariff, Muhammad Akbar Khan, Aftab Ahmed Khan, Azmat Baksh Awan, Agha Ibrahim Akram, Abdul Majeed Malik, Ghulam Jilani Khan, and Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. But, Bhutto chose the most junior, superseding seven more senior generals.[5] However, the senior most at that time, Lt Gen Mohammad Shariff, though promoted to General, was made the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, a constitutional post akin to President Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry.[6]

Coup and martial law

Prime Minister Bhutto began facing considerable criticism and increasing unpopularity as his term progressed.[7] Initially targeting leader of the opposition Khan Abdul Wali Khan and his opposition National Awami Party (NAP). Despite the ideological similarity of the two parties, the clash of egos both inside and outside the National Assembly became increasingly fierce, starting with the Federal governments decision to oust the NAP provincial government in Balochistan for alleged secessionist activities[8] and culminating in the banning of the party and arrest of much of its leadership after the death of a close lieutenant of Bhutto's, Hayat Sherpao, in a bomb blast in the frontier town of Peshawar.

Dissidence also increased within the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and the murder of a leading dissident Ahmed Raza Kasuri's father led to public outrage and intra-party hostility as Bhutto was accused of masterminding the crime. Powerful PPP leaders such as Ghulam Mustafa Khar openly condemned Bhutto and called for protests against his regime. The political crisis in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Balochistan intensified as civil liberties remained suspended, and an estimated 100,000 troops deployed there were accused of abusing human rights and killing large numbers of civilians.[9]

On 8 January 1977 a large number of opposition political parties grouped to form the Pakistan National Alliance[9] (PNA). Bhutto called fresh elections, and PNA participated in those elections in full force. They managed to contest the elections jointly even though there were grave splits on opinions and views within the party. The PNA faced defeat but did not accept the results, alleging that the election was rigged. First, they claimed rigging for 14 seats and, finally, for 40 seats in the National Assembly. They proceeded to boycott the provincial elections. Despite this, there was high voter turn out in national elections; however, as provincial elections were held amidst low voter turnout and an opposition boycott, the PNA declared the newly-elected Bhutto government as illegitimate. Firebrand Islamic leaders such as Abul Ala Maududi called for the overthrow of Bhutto's regime.[7] Political and civil disorder intensified, which led to more unrest.[10] Nevertheless, a compromise agreement between Bhutto and opposition was ultimately reported. Yet on July 5, 1977, Bhutto and members of his cabinet were arrested by troops under the order of General Zia.[9]


Postponement of elections and call for accountability

After assuming power as Chief Martial Law Administrator, General Zia promised to hold National and Provincial Assembly elections in the next 90 days[citation needed] and to hand over power to the representatives of the nation[citation needed]. He also stated that the Constitution of Pakistan had not been abrogated whatsoever, but had been temporarily suspended[citation needed]. However, in October 1977, he announced the postponement of the electoral plan and decided to start an accountability process for the politicians. Zia said that he changed his decision due to the strong public demand for the scrutiny of political leaders who had engaged in malpractice in the past (a large number of both PNA and PPP members had asked General Zia to postpone the elections). Thus the "retribution first, elections later" PNA policy was adopted. This severely tainted his credibility as many saw the broken promise as malacious.[citation needed]

A Disqualification Tribunal was formed, and several individuals who had been Members of Parliament were charged with malpractice and disqualified from participating in politics at any level for the next seven years. A white paper document was issued, incriminating the deposed Bhutto government on several counts.

Reign as Chief Martial Law Administrator

The Doctrine of Necessity

Nusrat Bhutto, the wife of the deposed Prime Minister, filed a suit against General Zia's military regime, challenging the validity of the July 1977 military coup. The Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled, in what would later be known as the Doctrine of Necessity (not to be confused with the 1954 Doctrine of necessity) that, given the dangerously unstable political situation of the time, General Zia's overthrowing of the Bhutto government was legal on the grounds of necessity. The judgement tightened the general's hold on the government.

Assumption of the post of President of Pakistan

Despite the dismissal of most of the Bhutto government, President Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry was persuaded to continue in office as a figurehead. After completing his term, and despite General Zia's insistence to accept an extension as President, Mr Chaudhry resigned, and General Zia also assumed the office of President of Pakistan on 16 September 1978. Thus his position was cemented as the undisputed ruler of the country.

Over the next six years, Zia issued several decrees which amended the constitution and greatly expanded his power. Most significantly, the Revival of Constitution of 1973 Order granted Zia the power to dissolve the National Assembly virtually at will.

The trial of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

On 4 April 1979, the former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged, after the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence as passed by the Lahore High Court. The Supreme Court ruled four to three in favour of execution. The High Court had given him the death sentence on charges of the murder of the father of Ahmed Raza Kasuri, a dissident PPP politician. Despite many clemency appeals from foreign leaders requesting Zia to commute Bhutto's death sentence, Zia dismissed the appeals as "trade union activity"[citation needed] and upheld the death sentence. The hanging of an elected prime minister by a military man was condemned by the international community and by lawyers and jurists across Pakistan[citation needed]. Today it is widely accepted as a politically motivated judicial murder[citation needed]. Despite the case whereby Bhutto was held behind the murder of Ahmed Raza Kasuri, the trial is considered to have been biased against Bhutto who it is generally believed to have been framed in the case.[citation needed]

Appointment of Martial Law Governors

The Zia regime largely made use of installing high-profile military generals to carte blanche provincial administration under martial law. Zia's Guides Cavalry comrade Lieutenant General Fazle Haq was appointed Governor of North West Frontier Province. Haq's tenure saw the influx of heroin[citation needed], sophisticated weaponry, and countless refugees in from neighbouring Afghanistan. Lieutenant General S.M. Abbasi was appointed Governor of Sindh; his tenure too saw civil disorder amid student riots[citation needed]. By contrast, martial law governor General Jilani of Punjab made much headway in beautifying Lahore[citation needed], extending infrastructure, and muting political opposition[citation needed]. The ascent of Nawaz Sharif to Chief Minister of Punjab was largely due to General Jilani's sponsorship[11]. Perhaps most crucially, General Rahimuddin Khan's appointment to the post of martial law Governor of Balochistan saw the disbanding of the Baloch insurgency, the containment of Afghan mujahideen, as well as the construction of nuclear test sites in the Chagai District.

Reign as President of Pakistan

Formation of Majlis-e-Shoora

In the absence of a parliament, General Zia decided to set up an alternative system, Majlis-e-Shoora, in 1980. Most of the members of the Shoora were intellectuals, scholars, ulema, journalists, economists, and professionals belonging to different fields of life. The Shoora was to act as a board of advisors to the President. All 284 members of the Shoora were to be nominated by the President, also known as a technocracy or government of technocrats.

Referendum of 1984

General Zia eventually decided to hold elections in the country. But before handing over the power to the public representatives, he decided to secure his position as the head of state. A referendum was held on 1 December 1984, and the option was to elect or reject the General as the future President. The question asked in the referendum was whether the people of Pakistan wanted Islamic Sharia law enforced in the country[citation needed]. According to the official result, more than 95% of the votes were cast in favour of Zia-ul-Haq, thus he was elected as President for the next five years. However, they were marred by allegations of widespread irregularities and technical violations of the laws and ethics of democratic elections[citation needed]. Also, despite pressure from the government to vote, only 10% of those eligible to vote did so[citation needed]. Zia had the overwhelming majority of the votes cast, but in reality the referendum was an embarrassing failure.[12]

The Eighth Amendment and elections of 1985

After being elected President, Zia-ul-Haq decided to hold elections in the country in February 1985 on a non-party basis. Most of the opposing political parties decided to boycott the elections but election results showed that many victors belonged to one party or the other. To make things easier for himself, the General nominated the Prime Minister from amongst the Members of the Assembly. To many, his nomination of Muhammad Khan Junejo as the Prime Minister was because he wanted a simple person at the post who would act as a puppet in his hands[citation needed]. Before handing over the power to the new Government and lifting martial law, Zia got the new legislature to retroactively accept all of Zia's actions of the past eight years, including his coup of 1977[citation needed]. He also managed to get several amendments passed, most notably the Eighth Amendment, which granted "reserve powers" to the president to dissolve the National Assembly. However, this amendment considerably reduced the power he'd previously granted himself to dissolve the legislature, at least on paper. The text of the amendment permitted Zia to dissolve the Assembly only if 1 the Cabinet had been toppled by a vote of no confidence and it was obvious that no one could form a government or 2) the government could not function in a constitutional manner.

Involvement in the Soviet-Afghan War

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

President Muhammed Zia-ul_Haq with Ronald Reagan.

On 25 December 1979, the Soviet Union (USSR) invaded Afghanistan. General Zia, as President of neighbouring Pakistan, was asked by several cabinet members to refrain from interfering in the war, owing to the vastly superior military power of the USSR. General Zia, however, was ideologically opposed to the idea of communism taking over a neighbouring country, and made no secret about his intentions of monetarily and militarily aiding the Afghan resistance (the Mujahideen) with major assistance from the United States.

Economic reform

Under Zia, the previous ruler Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's nationalisation policies were slowly reversed[citation needed], and gradual privatisation took place[citation needed]. General Zia greatly favoured egalitarianism and industrialisation. Between 1977 and 1986, the country experienced an average annual growth in the GNP of 6.8%, one of the highest in the world at that time.

Consolidation of Pakistan's nuclear programme

Zia contributed to attaining nuclear capability for Pakistan, a program started by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The country was made a subject of attack by international organisations for not signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Zia deftly neutralised international pressure by tagging Pakistan's nuclear programme to the nuclear designs of neighbouring India. He then drew a five-point proposal as a practical rejoinder to world pressure on Pakistan to sign the NPT; the points including the renouncing of the use of nuclear weapons. He also funded a uranium enrichment plant based at the Kahuta Research Laboratories in Kahuta under Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan. During General Zia's rule the nuclear plan was considered an important national issue and international pressure was difficult to counter unless several other pro-Pakistan nations were also groomed to become nuclear capable. Dr. Khan was assigned this task and given free hand to work with some like minded nations like North Korea, Iran and Libya who also wanted to pursue their nuclear ambitions for a variety of reasons. It was envisaged that this would deflect international pressure on these countries and Pakistan would be spared the international community's wrath.[13] Dr. Khan's dismissal from the nuclear programme in 2004 was considered a face saving exercise by the Pakistani military and political establishment under the then President Pervez Musharraf.[14]

Zia also supported the nuclear program being run in PAEC by Munir Ahmad Khan and sanctioned the launch of the 50 MW heavy water plutonium production reactor at Khushab in 1985. PAEC also carried out the first cold test of a nuclear device on 11 March 1983 which was followed by several cold tests throughout the 1980s.

International standing enhancement and resumption of aid

Zia's international standing greatly rose after his declaration to fight the Soviet invaders, as he went from being portrayed as just another military dictator to a champion of the free world by the Western media[citation needed]. Pakistan–United States relations took a much more positive turn. U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, cut off U.S. aid to Pakistan on the grounds that Pakistan had not made sufficient progress on the nuclear issue. Then, on 25 December 1979, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, and Carter offered Pakistan $325 million in aid over three years. Zia rejected this as "peanuts."[citation needed] Carter also signed the finding in 1980 that allowed less than $50 million a year to go to the Mujahideen. After Ronald Reagan came to office, defeating Carter for the US Presidency in 1980, all this changed, due to President Reagan's new priorities and the unlikely and remarkably effective effort by Congressman Charles Wilson (D-TX), aided by Joanne Herring, and CIA Afghan Desk Chief Gust Avrakotos to increase the funding for Operation Cyclone. Aid to the Afghan resistance, and to Pakistan, increased substantially, finally reaching $1 billion. The United States, faced with a rival superpower looking as if it were to create another Communist bloc, now engaged Zia to fight a US-aided war by proxy in Afghanistan against the Soviets.

Fighting the war by proxy

Zia now found himself in a position to demand billions of dollars in aid for the Mujahideen from the Western states, famously dismissing a United States proposed $325 million aid package as "peanuts". Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence and Special Service Group now became actively involved in the conflict, and in cooperation with the Central Intelligence Agency and the United States Army Special Forces supported the armed struggle against the Soviets.

In 1981, Ronald Reagan succeeded Jimmy Carter as President of the United States. Reagan was completely against the Soviet Union and its Communist satellites, dubbing it "the evil empire". Reagan now increased financial aid heading for Pakistan. In 1981, the Reagan Administration sent the first of 40 F-16 jet fighters to the Pakistanis. But the Soviets kept control of the Afghan skies until the Mujahideen received Stinger missiles in 1986. From that moment on, the Mujahideen's strategic position steadily improved.

The Soviets declared a policy of national reconciliation. In January they announced that a Soviet withdrawal was no longer linked to the makeup of the Afghan government remaining behind. Pakistan, with the massive extra-governmental and covert backing from the largest operation ever mounted by the CIA and financial support of Saudi Arabia, therefore, played a large part in the eventual withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1988.

The war legacy

The war left deep scars to the Pakistani society with the menace of Kalashnikov (AK-47 assault rifle) culture spreading all over the country.[15] It is estimated that there are currently 20 million firearms in Pakistan, which has a population of 160 million i.e., every eighth person has a firearm, most likely an automatic one.[16] The rise of the illicit drug trade and its spread through Pakistan to the rest of the world increased tremendously during the Soviet-Afghan war. Afghanistan's drug industry began to take off after the Soviet invasion in 1979. Desperate for cash with which to buy weapons, various elements in the anti-Communist resistance turned to the drug trade. This was tolerated if not condoned by their American sponsors such as the CIA.[17]

Two Afghan Mujahideen groups later morphed into Jihadist outfits in the shape of Taliban and Al-Qaeda in the early 1990s. The Pakistan and US trained Arab and Afghan fighters later in 2001 initiated a 'Jihad' against US. The links of the spectacular and deadly events of September 11 were deeply rooted in the Soviet-Afghan war. Osama bin Laden invested his inherited money into the Soviet-Afghan war to fight the 'infidel communist power' and was abetted by CIA, ISI, US and Pakistani military establishments for over 10 years.[18]

General Zia-ul-Haq's 'Islamisation'

On 2 December 1978, on the occasion of the first day of the Hijra to enforce the Islamic system in Pakistan in a nationwide address, Zia accused politicians of exploiting the name of Islam: "Many a ruler did what they pleased in the name of Islam."[citation needed]

After assuming power, the government began a program of public commitment to enforce Nizam-e-Mustafa (Islamic System), a significant turn from Pakistan's predominantly Anglo-Saxon law, inherited from the British. As a preliminary measure to establish an Islamic society in Pakistan, General Zia announced the establishment of Sharia Benches.

Under the Offences Against Property (Hudood Ordinance) Ordinance, 1979; the punishment of imprisonment or fine, or both, as provided in the existing Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) for theft, was substituted by the amputation of the right hand of the offender from the joint of the wrist by a surgeon. For robbery, the right hand of the offender from the wrist and his left foot from the ankle should be amputated by a surgeon. Hudood (حدود, also transliterated Hadud, Hudud; plural for Hadh, حد, limit, or restriction) is the word often used in Islamic social and legal literature for the bounds of acceptable behaviour. Although the punishments were imposed, the due process, witnesses and prosecution system remained un-Islamic Anglo-Saxon. As in Islamic law Hudud can only be given if four witnesses saw the crime happen, in reality hardly anyone can be punished by Islamic Hud laws as very rarely can the conditions for punishment be met.

In legal terms, (Islamic law being usually referred to as Sharia, شريعة) the term is used to describe laws that define a certain level of crime classification[citation needed]. Crimes classified under Hudud are the most severe of crimes, such as murder, theft, and adultery. There are minor differences in views between the four major Sunni madh'habs about sentencing and specifications for these laws. It is often argued that, since Sharia is God's law and states certain punishments for each crime, they are immutable. It has been argued by some, that the Hudud portion of Sharia is incompatible with humanism or human rights. Although the Hud punishment were imposed but the Islamic law of evidence was not implemented and remained British in origin.

Drinking of wine (i.e. all alcoholic drinks) was not a crime under the PPC. In 1977, however, the drinking and selling of wine by Muslims was banned in Pakistan and the sentence of imprisonment of six months or a fine of Rs. 5000/-, or both, was provided in that law.

Under the Zina Ordinance, the provisions relating to adultery were replaced so that the women and the man guilty will be flogged, each of them, with one hundred lashes, if unmarried. And if they are married they shall be stoned to death provided 4 impeccable witnesses can witness the act of penetration.

The Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) were amended, through ordinances in 1980, 1982 and 1986 to declare anything implying disrespect to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, Ahl al-Bayt (family members of Muhammad), Sahaba (companions of Muhammad) and Sha'ar-i-Islam (Islamic symbols), a cognizable offence, punishable with imprisonment or fine, or with both.

Laws against Ahmadiyya community of 1984

Another addition to the laws was Ordinance XX of 1984. Under this, the Ahmadiyya were barred from calling themselves Muslims, or using Islamic terminology or practising Islamic rituals. This effectively resulted in classifying the Ahmadiyya community of Pakistan into a minority group in law. Zia was also considered anti-Shia[citation needed] because during his reign many Shi'a Muslims personalities and politicians were killed, most prominently the judicial killing of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

General Zia-ul-Haq promulgated Ordinance XX on 26 April 1984, banning members of the Ahmadiyya community from performing some of their religious ceremonies and prayers.[19] He declared "This Ordinance may be called the Anti-Islamic Activities of the Ahmadis (Prohibition and Punishment) Ordinance, 1984". Although before Zia's rule, in 1974 Pakistan's National Assembly under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto it was declared that Ahmadis are classified as non-Muslims for the definition of the law.[20] But it was not sufficient in stopping the missionary activities of the Ahmadiyya community. Article 298-C of the new law states "Any person of the Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves ‘Ahmadis’ or by any other name), who, directly or indirectly, poses himself as Muslim, or calls, or refers to his faith as Islam, or preaches or propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine."

Dismissal of the Junejo government and call for new elections

As time passed, the legislature wanted to have more freedom and power and by the beginning of 1988, rumors about the differences between Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo and Zia were rife.

On 29 May 1988, General Zia dissolved the Senate and the National Assembly and removed the Prime Minister under article 58(2)b of the amended Constitution. Apart from many other reasons, Prime Minister Junejo's decision to sign the Geneva Accord against the wishes of General Zia, and his open declarations of removing any military personnel found responsible for an explosion at a munitions dump at Ojhri Camp, on the outskirts of army headquarters in Rawalpindi, earlier in the year, proved to be some of the major factors responsible for his removal.

Zia played the Islam card to defend himself and the generals against any accusations of misrule and corruption[citation needed]. Gen Zia-ul-Haq and his generals had made millions from the illicit heroin trade[citation needed] and underhand weapons deals, besides huge embezzlement in funds diverted towards the Afghan war. However since media in Pakistan was brutally gagged in his days[citation needed], none of his corruption could be documented and brought to lime light by the print media. When accused of trying to cover-up the Ojari camp incident, on May 29, 1988, he invoked an amendment that he had recently added to the Pakistani Constitution that allowed him to dismiss the Prime Minister, dissolve the National Assembly and all provincial assemblies - basically, the entire legislative portions of the government outside of the Presidency. Zia's loyalists in the military were called to form an interim government. Zia justified his actions and diverted attention from his corruption[citation needed] by focusing on how the further Islamization of Pakistan had been negligently delayed by Junejo and his government.

General Zia-ul-Haq promised to hold elections in 1988 after the dismissal of Junejo government. He said that he would hold elections within the next 90 days. The late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's daughter Benazir Bhutto had returned from exile earlier in 1986, and had announced that she would be contesting the elections. With Bhutto's popularity somewhat growing, and a decrease in international aid following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Zia was in a repetitively difficult political situation.

Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD)

In 1983, as a reaction to Zia's policies, the populist Movement for the Restoration of Democracy was born and soon gained popularity in Pakistan's smaller, poorer provinces, especially in Bhutto's home province, Sindh. Zia's response to MRD was brutal with up to 45000 troops deployed in Sindh alone to crush the movement[citation needed], besides thousands others sent to te remaining provinces. Thousands of civilians were killed[citation needed]. Zia's attack on MRD was perceived as a further assault, along with Bhutto's overthrow, on the Sindhi population[citation needed]. Mrs Gandhi, Indian PM raised concerns over this brutality and violation of human rights at the hands of Pakistan's military dictatorship (Dawn 14 August 1983).[22]


General Zia-ul-Haq died in a plane crash on 17 August 1988. After witnessing a US M1 Abrams tank demonstration in Bahawalpur, Zia had left the small town in the Punjab province by C-130 Hercules aircraft. Shortly after a smooth take-off, the control tower lost contact with the aircraft. Witnesses who saw the plane in the air afterward claim it was flying erratically, then nosedived and exploded on impact. In addition to Zia, 31 others died in the plane crash, including Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Akhtar Abdur Rehman, close associate of General Zia Brigadier Siddique Salik, the American Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Raphel and General Herbert M. Wassom, the head of the U.S. Military aid mission to Pakistan.[21][22] Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the Senate Chairman announced Zia's death on radio and TV. The manner of his death has given rise to many conspiracy theories.[23] There is speculation that America, India, the Soviet Union (as retaliation for US-Pakistani supported attacks in Afghanistan) or an alliance of them and internal groups were behind the attack.[24][25]

A board of inquiry was set up to investigate the crash. It concluded the most probable cause of the crash was a criminal act of sabotage perpetrated in the aircraft. It also suggested that poisonous gases were released which incapacitated the passengers and crew, which would explain why no Mayday signal was given.[26]

Funeral and burial

His funeral was held on 19 August 1988 in Islamabad. Also in attendance was his successor President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, who had earlier officially announced Zia's death in a nationwide address. Zia's body was buried in a small tomb outside the Faisal Mosque.

Books about Haq's time period

  • Breaking the Curfew by Emma Duncan (1989) ISBN 071812989X
  • Working with Zia by General Khalid Mahmud Arif
  • Khaki Shadows by General Khalid Mahmud Arif
  • Desperately Seeking Paradise by Ziauddin Sardar
  • Waiting for Allah by Christina Lamb
  • Ayub, Bhutto, and Zia by Hassan Iftikhar
  • Journey to Disillusionment by Sherbaz Khan Mazari
  • Ghost Wars by Steven Coll
  • General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq Shaheed: A Compilation by various authors
  • Charlie Wilson's War by George Crile
  • The Bear Trap: Afghanistan's Untold Story by Mohammed Yousaf, Mark Adkin (1992) ISBN 0850522676
  • A case of Exploding Mangos by Mohammed Hanif

Portrayals in popular culture

Zia has been portrayed in English language popular culture a number of times including:

  • In the comic Shattered Visage, it is implied that Zia's death was orchestrated by the same intelligence agency that ran The Village from the show The Prisoner.
  • Zia was portrayed by Indian actor Om Puri in the 2007 film Charlie Wilson's War.
  • Zia is caricatured as one of the main protagonists in Mohammed Hanif's 2008 satirical novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes which is loosely based around the events of his death.[27]
  • Zia is the basis for the character General Hyder in controversial Salman Rushdie's novel Shame (1983), which describes Zia's long-lasting relationship with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (here known as Iskander Harrapa), the president whom he would later overthrow and "put to death".

See also


  1. ^ Pakistan's abused Ahmadis, The Economist, Jan 13th 2010
  2. ^ a b A.H. Amin. "Interview with Brig (retd) Shamim Yasin Manto" Defence Journal, February 2002
  3. ^ The Consequences of Nuclear Proliferation: Lessons from South Asia By Devin T. Hagerty Published by MIT Press, 1998, ISBN 0262581612, pp 114
  4. ^ A.H. Amin "Interview with Maj Gen (retd) Naseerullah Khan Babar" Defence Journal, April 2001 issue
  5. ^ Ardeshir Cowasjee, "The general's generals" Daily Dawn, 29 June 1995
  6. ^ A.H. Amin "Remembering Our Warriors: Maj Gen (Retd) Tajammal Hussain Malik" Defence Journal, September 2001
  7. ^ a b Story of Pakistan. "Ouster of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto" (PHP). http://www.storyofpakistan.com/articletext.asp?artid=A143. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  8. ^ Militarism and the State Pakistan: Military Intervention by Eqbal Ahmed (Le Monde Diplomatique, October 1977)
  9. ^ a b c US Country Studies. "Zulfikar Ali Bhutto" (PHP). http://countrystudies.us/pakistan/20.htm. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  10. ^ Mazari, Sherbaz(2000) A Journey into disillusionment
  11. ^ Nawaz Sharif Profile on WikiMir source of original citation
  12. ^ The History and Culture of Pakistan, Nigel Kelly ISBN 1901458679
  13. ^ Proliferation Unbound: Nuclear Tales from Pakistan, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan. by Gaurav Kampani,February 23, 2004
  14. ^ The Man Who Sold the Bomb, Time.com Sunday, Feb 6, 2005
  15. ^ Pakistan's Kalashnikov Culture and the CIA-ISI-Saudi Axis,By Alex Constantine
  16. ^ Guns in Pakistan
  17. ^ The Afghanistan Drug Trade, Forbes.com by Richard McGill Murphy October 16, 1997
  18. ^ US lowers net worth of osama bin Laden, By Katherine Pfleger Shrader, Associated Press writer, September 2, 2004
  19. ^ Pakistan Penal Code, Religious and Ahmadi-specific Laws
  20. ^ Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, PART XII - Miscellaneous, Chapter 5. Interpretation, Article 260(3)
  21. ^ Foreign affairs Pakistan by Pakistan. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (MOFA, 1988)
  22. ^ "Plea in court to revive C-130 crash case" Business Recorder, 22 April 1996
  23. ^ Daily Times Online Edition December 4, 2005
  24. ^ Times Online, 16 August 2008
  25. ^ Hamilton, Dwight. "Terror Threat: International and Homegrown terrorists and their threat to Canada", 2007
  26. ^ The History and Culture of Pakistan by Nigel Kelly. ISBN 1901458679
  27. ^ Mohammed Hanif (May 2008). A Case of Exploding Mangoes. Knopf. ISBN 0307268071. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Tikka Khan
Chief of Army Staff
1976 – 1988
Succeeded by
Mirza Aslam Beg
Political offices
Preceded by
Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry
President of Pakistan
1978 – 1988
Succeeded by
Ghulam Ishaq Khan
Preceded by
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Defence Minister of Pakistan
Succeeded by
Ali Ahmad Talpur
Preceded by
Ali Ahmad Talpur
Defence Minister of Pakistan
Succeeded by
Muhammad Khan Junejo


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