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Muhammad Zia Ul Haq

Birth:1924

Death:1988

Pakistani President who pursued a more avowedly Islamic government. In 1977, Zia Ul Haq led a coup and deposed prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan and became the Chief Martial Law administrator. In 1978 he assumed the presidency and established an ostensibly more Islamic regime. He re-instated traditional Muslim dress, restored Islamic penal and commercial law. But even President Zia kept Islam at bay in political and economic matters, where his policy was avowedly secularist. 'Militarism and Islam were to be the twin pillars of the Zia regime, a formidable blend in a politically polarised and increasingly pulverised society. In December 1979 the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan gave him just what was needed to establish his regime's non-existent international stock'. On 17 August 1988 Zia Ul Haq died in a plane crash in Pakistan, which remained a mystery. He was very good at image-making and left behind an army that was disliked, politicians divided and a country uncertain of where it was going. Pakistani politics has been dominated by ethnic tension, rivalries and corruption scandals among members of the elite classes.

Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin

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