He was later Pakistan's UN Representative. He also served as the UN's point man in negotiating an end to the Civil War in Nicaragua.
Sahabzada Yaqub Khan is a member of the erstwhile royal Afghan Pashtun Rohilla family of Rampur, India. He studied at the famous Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College, Dehradun. Sahabzada Yaqub Khan enjoyed a distinguished career in the Pakistani Army that began before Pakistani independence. Rising to the rank Lieutenant General, Yaqub Khan served as Chief of General Staff, Commander Eastern Command, and briefly after the resignation of Vice Admiral S.M. Ahsan, Governor of East Pakistan.
On retiring from the Army he embarked on a career as a diplomat, serving as Ambassador to France, the United States and Soviet Union from 1972 to 1982. Since 1982 he served as Foreign Minister under seven different governments. Then from 1992 until 1997 Yaqub Khan was the United Nations Secretary General's Special Representative for the Western Sahara.
Sahabzada Yaqub Khan is the founding chairman of the Aga Khan University Board of Trustees, which he chaired for almost two decades until his retirement in 2001. He was a commissioner in the now retired Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict.
Sahabzada Yaqub Khan is married to Begum Tuba Khaleeli, of the prominent Iranian Khaleeli family of Calcutta, and has two sons, Samad and Najib.