ISLAMABAD - Former president and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Zia-ul-Haq was remembered on his 30th death anniversary on August 17 across the country.
The four-star rank general served as the 6th president of Pakistan from 1978 until his death in 1988, after declaring martial law in 1977. He also remained Pakistan’s military chief from March 1976 to August 1988.
He was Pakistan’s longest-serving head of state. In addition to Zia, 31 others also lost their lives in the plane crash 30 years ago, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee chairman General Akhtar Abdur Rahman, close associate of Zia, Brigadier Siddique Salik, the American Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Lewis Raphel and head of US Military aid mission to Pakistan General Herbert Wassom.
Zia started his military career in World War II as a British-Indian army officer after graduating from the Delhi University with a BA degree in history.
In 1970, he led the Pakistani training mission in Jordan, proving instrumental in putting down the Palestinian Black September insurgency against King Hussein. Then-premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto appointed Zia as COAS in 1976.
Zia was killed in a mysterious plane crash near Bahawalpur on August 17, 1988.