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Nawabzada Khan, 85; Led Main Opposition Coalition in Pakistan

September 28, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, 85, the head of Pakistan's main opposition alliance and one of its greatest democracy advocates, died Friday of a heart attack after falling ill during a meeting of party leaders in Islamabad.

Khan's career spanned half a century. He was head of Pakistan's main opposition group, the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy, and head of his own party, the Pakistan Democratic Party. He opposed the role of the army in politics, which put him at odds with several military dictatorships in his country, which has been under military rule for more than half its history since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.

Jailed repeatedly during the 1960s and 1970s, he had led opposition to President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in 1999 before restoring a measure of democracy through October 2002 elections. Khan called on the president to leave his simultaneous post as chief of the army and criticized several constitutional amendments the general passed by decree to increase the army's power.

Khan recently had traveled to London and Saudi Arabia to seek support from former Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Shariff in opposing Musharraf.

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