ISLAMABAD: Former foreign minister Sahibzada Yaqub Ali Khan – who was also a former military general – passed away here on Tuesday.
According to a report, he was 95. Born on December 23, 1920 in Rampur area of India’s UP state, Khan was a high-profile figure and high-ranking general who held the most senior and prestigious military and government assignments in government. He represented Pakistan for three decades at international forums.
Khan first served as the foreign minister in military government of president General Ziaul Haq from 1982 to 1991 until the dying days of Cold War, and then also served as the caretaker Foreign minister from 1996 to 1997.
Educated and received commission in the army after attending the Rashtriya Indian Military College, Yaqub Khan served well in World War II on behalf of British Indian Army.
He later opted for Pakistan and joined the staff of the Pakistan Army. In 1973, he entered in Foreign Service assuming the diplomatic post of Pakistan Ambassador to the United States, Soviet Union and France, which he held until 1979.
Upon his return, he was re-called for his military service by then-Chief of Army Staff General Ziaul Haq in 1980, re-assuming the foreign ministry in 1982.
Yaqub Ali Khan became an international figure when he played a central role in the UN-sanctioned negotiations to end the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan Soviet Socialist Republic, and also took part to end the civil war in Nicaragua, as he was the point man of the United Nations.
Since 1990, Khan associated with the United Nations, served at the special representative of UN for Western Sahara and was finally reappointed as foreign minister in 1996. As a result of 1997 parliamentary elections, Yaqub Ali Khan took subsequent retirement from the Foreign Service and settled in USA where he continues to spend his later life in peace.