30 Years ago today: On 17 August 1988 Pakistani president Zia-ul-Haq was killed when his Air Force C-130B Hercules crashed after takeoff from Bahawalpur.

Date:Wednesday 17 August 1988
Type: Lockheed C-130B Hercules
Operator:Pakistan Air Force
Registration:23494
C/n / msn:3708
First flight:1962
Engines:Allison T56-A-7
Crew:Fatalities: 13 / Occupants: 13
Passengers:Fatalities: 17 / Occupants: 17
Total:Fatalities: 30 / Occupants: 30
Aircraft damage:Damaged beyond repair
Location:7 km (4.4 mls) N of Bahawalpur Airport (BHV) (   Pakistan)
Phase:Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:Official state flight
Departure airport:Bahawalpur Airport (BHV/OPBW), Pakistan
Destination airport:Islamabad International Airport (ISB/OPRN), Pakistan

Narrative:
Pakistani president General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq had witnessed a tank inspection at Bahawalpur. The president and his entourage, which consisted a.o. of several senior army generals and the American Ambassador to Pakistan, were returning to Islamabad in a C-130 Hercules.
The airplane crashed shortly after takeoff and caught fire. All aboard were killed.
Many theories indicated that the accident was caused by sabotage. In 2008 newspaper The Times reported that, back in 1988, an analysis by a US lab found “extensive contamination” by brass and aluminium particles in the elevator booster package. This may have caused sluggish controls leading to overcontrol. This in turn may have led to the pilots losing control at low altitude soon after takeoff.