Born on August 12, 1924, in Jullundur, India, Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq served with the British army during World War II, working his way up to chief of staff of the Pakistani Army by 1976. A year later, he staged a bloodless coup and assumed the presidency. During his 10-year reign, Zia imposed martial law while building up his military in response to the Soviet invasion of neighboring Afghanistan. He was killed in a plane crash in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, on August 17, 1988.
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