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YAQUB KHAN LIEUTENANT GENERAL (RETIRED)

YAQUB KHAN, LIEUTENANT GENERAL (RETIRED) SAHIBZADA (1920) Born in the United Provinces of British India (today’s state of Uttar Pradesh in India), Yaqub joined the British Indian Army before the British decided to leave the subcontinent After the creation of Pakistan, he opted to work for the new Muslim state To do so, he and his family had to leave their ancestral home and migrate to Pakistan He rose quickly in the ranks of the Pakistani army He came to the attention of the public at large during Pakistan’s second general martial law imposed by General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan In 1970 he was dispatched to Dacca (Dhaka) to take over the command of the Pakistani armed forces stationed in the eastern wing of the country As governor, Yaqub took the position that some of his predecessors had also taken Like General Azam Khan, who was the governor of East Pakistan during the first few years of Ayub Khan’s martial-law administration, Yaqub Khan came to the conclusion that the use of force was not a viable solution to the problem of Bengal When it became clear to him that Yahya Khan was determined to force the Bengalis to submit to the will of West Pakistan, Yaqub Khan asked for retirement from the army He returned to Karachi, having been replaced by Lieutenant General A



K Niazi General Zia ul-Haq appointed Yaqub Khan to be Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Zia was obviously happy with the job Yaqub Khan performed in Washington When the military president decided to bring civilian professionals into his cabinet, he asked Yaqub Khan to take the portfolio of foreign affairs He served many years in this position and was back in the Foreign Office as minister even after the induction of Benazir Bhutto as prime minister in December 1988 This appointment came as a total surprise, since Bhutto was not kindly disposed to any associate of Zia It was obvious that Yaqub’s appointment was one part of the deal that Benazir Bhutto had struck with President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and the army to gain power Yaqub remained with Bhutto until her dismissal in August 1990, after which he left active political life He carried out a few assignments for the United Nations and was considered for a senior UN position at one point He retired in Islamabad but returned as foreign minister in the caretaker cabinet that took office after the dismissal of the second administration of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto

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