Zia ul-Haq, Mohammad, 1924–88, Pakistani military and political leader. Named general and chief of staff by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1976, he declared martial law in July, 1977, in response to agitations against election fraud. He imprisoned Bhutto, later (1979) executing him. Zia became president in 1978 declaring the “Islamization” of Pakistan. He attempted to establish a partyless politics, winning a referendum in 1984. He permitted elected legislatures by 1985, lifting martial law in 1986. However, agitations caused Zia to dissolve the government (May, 1988), calling for elections in 90 days. He died in a plane crash and was succeeded by Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
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