PESHAWAR - Veteran leader of Pakistan Peoples Party and former Interior Minister Maj Gen (r) Naseerullah Khan Babar passed away due to protracted illness in Combined Military Hospital here on Monday. Maj Gen (r) Naseerullah Babar was a retired two star rank Major General in the Pakistan Army, and the former Interior Minister of Pakistan. His family is from the Babar tribe of Pakhtuns and hails from the village of Pirpai in district Nowshehra. Babar was a former Pakistan Army general, a former Inspector General Frontier Corps and a senior central leader of Pakistan Peoples Party. He was born in 1928, in Ismail Khel near Akora Khattak, Nowshehra, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. He also remained Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from 1975-1977 under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto government and was Interior Minister in the second term of PPP government from 1993-1996. He was Special Assistant in Benazir Bhuttos first government from 1988-1990. His early education was from Presentation Convent School during 1935 to 1939. From 1939 to 1941 he attended Burn Hall then located at Baramula and Sarinagar. The school was subsequently shifted to Abbottabad after partition. He also attended Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College in Dheradun and joined the Pakistan Army in 1948. He was from the first PMA long course which graduated in 1950. In his long career in the Army, Babar served in the Artillery Corps and Aviation. During the 1965 war with India, Babar single headedly captured an entire Indian company of soldiers (over 70 POWs) and was awarded Sitari-e-Jurat for this action. In the 1971 war, he commanded an artillery brigade in support of 23 Division and later commanded an infantry brigade until he was wounded and evacuated from the battlefield. He also had the distinction of being awarded SJ & Bar. In 1972, he was appointed Inspector General Frontier Corps. He resigned from the Army in 1974 while commanding an infantry division and was appointed Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He joined the Pakistan Peoples Party in 1977 after the arrest of Bhutto. He famously threw away his Hilal-i-Jurat (with bar) and other army medals at the presiding officer of a military tribunal, when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged by the military regime of Gen Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. In 1988, he was Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and successfully ran the election campaign for Begum Nusrat Bhutto from Chitral during the preceding elections. Elected in the 1993 general election on a Peoples Party ticket from Nowshera he defeated Awami National Party President Ajmal Khattak, with the PPPs victory in the election and was appointed Federal Minister for the Interior by Benazir Bhutto. General Babar was also involved in a crackdown on MQM. This operation was very controversial. After the dismissal of Benazir Bhuttos second government by Farooq Leghari, Babar contested the 1997 elections again from Nowshera as well as from Karachi. He was defeated in Nowshera by ANP candidate Wali Muhammad Khan and from Karachi by Nawaz Sharifs nominee Ejaz Shafi. Contesting again in the 2002 general elections he was defeated in the electoral sweep of the religo-political alliance, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal. In October 2007, he left the Pakistan Peoples Party due to his disagreement with Benazir Bhutto over her support for Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf. This action was considered as a major blow for the Pakistan Peoples Party because he was their major political leader in the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. On 19 August 2008, Naseerullah Babar suffered a mild stroke and was admitted to a hospital. He recovered and returned home in November 2008. After that the former federal minister was under treatment at Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Peshawar, for a stroke and passed way on Monday morning at 3:30am. He was buried in his ancestral graveyard in Pirpai Nowshera district. Large number of people including politicians, PPP leaders and workers, high ranking government officials, ministers, MNAs and MPAs attended the funeral prayers of the veteran leader of PPP. Head of his own faction of JUI-S Maulana Sami-ul-Haq led the funeral prayer of Naseerullah Babar.