It is the 33rd death anniversary of former Pakistan army chief and president General Zia-ul-Haq today (August 17).

There have been no elaborate religious gatherings or other functions planned to observe the death anniversary.

General Zia was killed along with 31 people, including Pakistan army officers and US ambassador and a general, in a plane crash on 17 August 1988 near a small town, Bahawalpur, in Punjab.

He was returning from Bahawalpur after witnessing a US M1 Abrams tank demonstration in Bahawalpur by a C130B Hercules aircraft. The plane lost contact with the control tower soon after takeoff. Witnesses who saw the plane in the air afterward claimed it was flying erratically, then nosedived and exploded on impact.

Those who were killed along with General Zia included chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Akhtar Abdul Rahman, Brigadier Siddique Salik, US Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Lewis Raphel and General Herbert M. Wassom, the head of the US Military aid mission to Pakistan.

He was given a state funeral on August 19 and buried outside Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. A mausoleum was later built on his grave.

General Zia declared martial law in 1977 dismissing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as prime minister and served as the sixth president of Pakistan from 1978 until his death in the plane crash in 1988. He also remained military chief from March 1976 till his death.

About 80,000 people attended the first death anniversary of General Zia. The number of participants started dwindling since then. However, a convention was held in F-9 Park in Islamabad on the 31st death anniversary which was addressed by his son Ijaz-ul-Haq.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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