General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq – Former President of Pakistan (Born: 12 August 1924, Jalandhar, India)
General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq was the one who forced the right of war for the third time in the brief history of Pakistan. The second child and the eldest son of Muhammad Akram, a teacher in the British army, Zia-ul-Haq was born on 12 August 1924 in Jalandhar.
After receiving his early education from the government college Simla, he made his B.A. honors from St. Stephen College, Delhi. He was commissioned in 1943 in the British Army and served during the Second World War in Burma, Malaya and Indonesia. When the war was over, he decided to join the armored corps. At the time of independence, like most Muslim officers in the British army, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq decided to join the Pakistani army. As a major, he received an opportunity to make a training course in the Commander and Staff College of the United States of America in the years 1963-64. During the war in 1965, he served as the Assistant Quartermaster of the 101 Infantry Division, which was published in the Kiran Sector. He stayed in Jordan from 1967 to 1970, where he was involved in the training of Jordon’s military. He was appointed Commander-in-Charge of Multan in 1975.
On April 1, 1976, in a surprise, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Zia-ul-Haq as Chief of the Army Staff, replaced five senior generals. Bhutto probably wanted someone as the head of the armed forces, which would not prove a threat to him, and the best available option was the simple general, who seemed to be only interested in offering prayers and playing golf. But the story proved that General Zia-ul-Haq was much smarter than Bhutto thought. When political tension Become its climax due to the deadlock between Bhutto and the leadership of the Pakistan National Alliance on the issue of general elections, Zia-ul-Haq used the situation. On July 5, 1977, he led a bloodless coup that overthrew the Bhutto government and enforced the war law in the country.
After taking power as Chief Martial Law Administrator, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq promised to hold National and Provincial Assembly elections in the next 90 days and give power to the representatives of the nation. However, in October 1977 he announced the shift of the electoral plan and decided to begin an accountability process of the politicians. In a statement, he said that he had changed his decision due to strong public demand for the examination of political leaders who had pampered in abuse in the past. The disqualification tribunal was formulated and many former deputies were disqualified from participating in the policy at each level for the next seven years. A white paper was also issued that criticized the activities of the Pakistan People Party government under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
With the retirement of Fazal Ilahi, Zia-ul-Haq also assumed the position of President of Pakistan on 16 September 1978. In the absence of a parliament, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq decided to set up an alternative system. He introduced Majlis-i-Shoora in 1980. Most members of the Shoora were intellectuals, scholars, ulema, journalists, economists and professionals from different walks of life. The Shoora should serve as President-in-Office of the Council. The idea of founding this institution was not bad, but the main problem was that all 284 members of the Shoora should be nominated by the President and there was no room for the intention.
In the middle-1980s, Zia-ul-Haq decided to fulfill his promise to hold elections in the country Pakistan. But before he gave power to the government, he planned to secure his position. The referendum took place in the county in December 1984, and the masses were given the opportunity to choose or reject the general as the future
president of Pakistan. The question put in the referendum was formulated in such a way that the victory of Zia-ul-Haq was connected with the process of Islamization in the country.
According to official results, more than 95 percent of the votes were cast in favor of Zia-ul-Haq, so he was elected president for the next five years.
After the election of the President, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq decided to hold elections in the country in February 1985, on a non-party basis. Most political parties decided to boycott the elections, but the election results showed that many winners belonged to one party or the other. To make things easier, the General has nominated the Prime Minister among the members of the Assembly. For many, his nomination of Muhammad Khan was Junejo as prime minister because he wanted a simple person at the post office that would act as a marionette in his hands. Before surrendering the power of the new government, he made certain amendments to the constitution and received them from parliament before accepting the state of emergency in the county. Because of this eighth amendment in the Constitution, the powers of the President were increased to an absolute level on the plea of securing national integrity.
Over time, parliamentarians wanted to have more freedom and power. At the beginning of 1988 rumors were spread about the differences between the Prime Minister and Zia-ul-Haq. The general feeling was that the President, who had enjoyed absolute power for eight years, was not ready to share him with anyone else. On 29 May 1988, Zia-ul-Haq finally dissolved the National Assembly and removed the Prime Minister in accordance with Article 58 (2) (b) of the amended Constitution. Apart from several other reasons, Junejo’s decision to sign the Geneva agreement against the wishes of Zia-ul-Haq proved to be one of the main factors for its removal.
After 11 years, Zia-ul-Haq has once again given the nation the same promise to hold fresh elections in the next 90 days. With Benazir Bhutto back in the country and the Muslim League leadership angered with the president on the decision of May 29, Zia-ul-Haq was caught in the most difficult situation of his political life. The only way for him was to repeat the story and postpone the elections.
But before a decision Zia-ul-Haq died on 17 August 1988 in a plane crash at Bhawalpur. The accident proved very costly for the country, as almost the entire military elite was on board from Pakistan. Although the ambassador of the United States was also killed in misfortune in Pakistan, many do not rule out the US’s involvement in sabotage. They believe that the United States could not afford Pakistan to resist the Geneva Treaty, and so they removed the biggest hurdle in their path. The remains of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq were buried in the premises of the Faisal Mosque, Islamabad. His death brought a large number of mourners to his funeral, including a large number of Afghanis, which proved to be one of the greatest in the country’s history.
During his reign General Zia-ul-Haq tried his utmost to cultivate close relations with the Muslim world. He made strenuous efforts with other Muslim states to end the war between Iran and Iraq. Pakistan entered the non-Aligned movement in 1979 during the time of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. He also fought a war with a plenipotentiary in Afghanistan and saved Pakistan from a direct war with the Soviet Union.