He served as foreign minister of Pakistan under the military government of General Ziaul Haq and then under the civilian governments of both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. In all, he was foreign minister of Pakistan from 1982 to 1981.
He served briefly as caretaker foreign minister and was also Pakistan’s ambassador in important world capitals like Moscow, Washington DC and Paris.
Prior to that, he had an illustrious career in the military, first in the Indian Army (before 1947) and then in the Pakistan Army, retiring as a lieutenant-general.
He received his commission in the army after attending the Rashtriya Indian Military College and served in World War II. During the 1965 war with India he commanded an armoured division as major-general. Later, he was promoted to the post of Chief of General Staff of the Eastern Military High Command. In 1971 he was made commander of the Eastern Command.
He was then posted back to West Pakistan and all combatant corps against India in the 1971 war were placed under his command.
Sahabzada Yaqub Khan was born in the then Indian princely state of Rampur in 1920 (it is now in present-day Uttar Pradesh). He studied at Col. Brown Cambridge School in Dehradun and the Prince of Wales Indian Military College, also at Dehradun.
Sahibzada Yaqub Khan was the founding chairman of the Aga Khan University Board of Trustees.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condoled his death and called it a loss to Pakistan.