Pakistan`s former president Leghari dies

Pakistan`s former president Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari died in hospital on Wednesday following a long illness.

Islamabad: Pakistan`s former president Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari died in hospital on Wednesday following a long illness, his son Jamal Leghari told a news agency. He was 70.

Leghari suffered from cardiac problems and had been admitted to the Combined Military Hospital in the garrison city of Rawalpindi a few days ago.

Leghari was a founding member of today`s main ruling Pakistan People`s Party (PPP) and served as head of state from November 1993 to December 1997. He was the country`s eighth president since independence from Britain in 1947.

In 1996, he dismissed the government of PPP prime minister Benazir Bhutto over corruption charges. Bhutto later went into self-imposed exile and died during a gun and suicide attack on an election rally in Rawalpindi in 2007.

Leghari was unable to complete his five-year term as president and resigned after developing differences with Bhutto`s successor, Nawaz Sharif, who is today`s main opposition leader to the federal government.

Born into a wealthy political family to a father who served as a cabinet minister in early years after independence, Leghari studied at Pakistan`s top schools before going on to Oxford University.

He returned to Pakistan to join the civil service and entered politics after the death of his father, Sardar Muhammad Khan Leghari, becoming a founding member of the PPP under future prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in the 1960s.

Leghari also briefly served as foreign minister in 1993 during Benazir Bhutto`s second stint in government.

After stepping down as president, he founded the centrist Millat Party and was elected to the national assembly in 2002 elections as its leader.

Crowds are expected to attend his funeral, due to take place at 4 pm (1100 GMT) in Leghari`s home town of Choti Zaireen in the eastern province of Punjab.

Bureau Report

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