Muhammad Hamidullah Khan

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Muhammad Hamidullah Khan
Wing Commander Hamidullah Khan.jpg
Hamidullah Khan
Born 11 September 1938
Bikrampur, Bengal Province, British Empire
Died 30 December 2011
Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Dhaka, Bangladesh
Allegiance Bangladesh People's Republic of Bangladesh
Service/branch Bangladesh Air Force
Years of service 1971–1979
Rank Wing Commander
Unit Administration and Special Duties A&SD
Commands held Ground Defence Command
Battles/wars Bangladesh Independence War
Chilmari Landing Expedition
Kurigram and Gaibandha Guerilla Campaigns
Kodalkati and Kamalpur Assaults
Tangail Area Ambushes and Raids

Wing Commander M. Hamidullah Khan (BAF-Retd.) (Bengali: এম হামিদুল্লাহ খান) (11 September 1938 – 30 December 2011) was the Sector Commander of BDF Sector 11 Bangladesh Forces during the Bangladesh Independence War against Pakistan in 1971. M. Hamidullah Khan represented Bangladesh during the 36th Session of the United Nations General Assembly as Special Envoy in granting recognition to the State of Palestine and the plenary session on UN Resolutions 242 and 439 on the question of Palestine and Namibia respectively.[1]

Family, early life and education[edit]

M. Hamidullah Khan was born to a political family in Medini Mondal village, Louhajong Ward, in the rural town of Bikrampur, of southern Dhaka, in then Bengal Province of the colonial British Empire. He is the second of the nine children (one deceased in infancy) born to Muhammad Dabiruddin Khan and Jasimunnesa Khan. His father was a Forest Ranger in the British Imperial Forest Service under the Bengal and Assam Forest Department. Flight Lieutenant Hamidullah married Rabeya Sultana Khan on 1 August 1965, at Dhaka, the third daughter of Mokbul Hossain Siddiqi, then Commissioner (East Pakistan) of Taxes and Excise.

Hamidullah Khan's childhood was divided between living in Bikrampur and Dhaka city proper. He moved, with his parents, in 1954 to Mughaltully Ward of Dhaka. Hamidullah spent his adolescence in Dhaka. With the departure of the British and official creation of Pakistan and India in 1947, Hamidullah Khan's father opted for service with the government of India rather than Pakistan, though the family remained in Dhaka (East Pakistan). Dabiruddin Khan later joined them after retirement in 1957.

After primary school at Silver Jubilee Anglo-Bangla Government English School, Guwahati, Assam, and secondary school for a year at Rangamati Missionary School at Chittagong Hill Tracts, he matriculated from Louhajong A.T Institute in Dhaka Bikrampur. He then enrolled in Jagannath University in 1954. After completion of senior secondary school in 1956, he studied at the same college for the Bachelor of Arts in Commerce (General). Hamidullah also had enrolled into the four years Honours program at Dhaka Textile College at Tejgaon and continued simultaneously. In the year 1959, while preparations were finalised to study law after BA finals he accepted an appointment instead as a candidate in the Pakistan Air Force Academy, and reported to Risalpur in the 34th GD(P)as a flight cadet. He graduated in the GD (Admin) branch, later structured and organised as A&SD Branch in the BAF and subsequently attached in the specialisation of security and intelligence under the Provost Marshall's office.[2]

Air Force Career[edit]

M. Hamidullah Khan joined the Pakistan Air Force in June 1962 . He was commissioned a Pilot Officer. He served in the Pakistan Air Force at bases in Lahore, Chaklala, Sargodha, Karachi, Peshawar, and finally Dhaka. In 1970, Flight Lieutenant Hamidullah was transferred to Pakistan Eastern Zone as Assistant Provost Marshal with additional responsibility as Director of Security, Tejgaon International Airport, Dhaka. He was selected for examination and board for promotion to Squadron Leader in July 1970.

Bangladesh War of Independence[edit]

Hamidullah was assigned as the Asst. Provost Marshall in the Eastern Zone of Pakistan Air Force Provost Marshal P ans S Unit 5, Dhaka. On 30 March Flt. Lt. Hamidullah defected the PAF and reported to the Bangladesh Provincial government at 8 Theatre Road, Calcutta, on April 14 through Agartala. Initially he was posted as Bangladesh Representative at Chakulia Guerilla Training Camp, Bihar. In July 11~17th, he attended the Bangladesh Sector Commanders Conference of 1971. He was subsequently posted at Teldhala, BDF Sector 11 HQ. Major Ziaur Rahman, then in command of the entire war effort in that Sector(Central Sector) appointed Hamidullah the sub-sector commander of sub-sector 1 at Mankachar (July~Nov 2nd 1971) with additional responsibility of as administrator of the Roumari area. As sub-sector commander, he commanded over 800 troops, and fought 22 major ambushes, raids, demolitions and counterattacks. In recognition Flight Lieutenant Hamidullah received a Battlefield Promotion to Squadron Leader under direct orders from BDF C-in-C Colonel M.A.G Osmani. The most significant and largest guierilla operation among the operations he planned and led was the Chilmari Operation. Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan organised, planned and led the Chilmari expedition Oct 16th~17th, crossing the Ganges river by Kurigram.

Post Independence[edit]

After independence, Hamidullah was inducted as per governmt D/O of April 7, to serve Bangladesh Air Force BAF. In April 1972, he was appointed the first Provost Marshal of Bangladesh Air Force. In 1973 Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah khan received his final promotion to Wing Commander. While in BAF, he served BAF headquarters, Intelligence and Security, and Air Education and Training. He also held the position of Chief of Air Force Security(Provost Marshall), Director Air Intelligence and Director Recruiting. He was Officer Commanding Administration Branch at BAF Base Bashar.[citation needed] Hamidullah officially retired from Bangladesh Air Force on 10 January 1979.

Hamidullah received a service award for gallantry. M. Hamidullah Khan wrote a three volume book "71' Northern Front" (in Bangla: Ekature Uttor Ronangon) of his and the guerrilla fighters accounts of the War of Independence, squarely concentrating on the Central Sector BDF Sector 11. He also authored 4 more books on the events related to the war and post independence. The Bangladesh Government named Road 23 in the town of Banani in Dhaka after him.[3] Along with 55 other fighters, his biography was included in a CD released by the Bangladesh government.[4]

Political career[edit]

In September 1978, M Hamidullah Khan joined the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) by the calling of war colleague Ziaur Rahman, founder of the party. In the BNP's first council held in 1978, Hamidullah Khan was appointed as the party's first Executive Secretary of the Central Executive Committee, later redesignated as Office Secretary. He remained in that post until 1989. In the party's second national council he was made the Secretary of the BNP International Affairs Committee. In the 5th National Council of BNP Hamidullah was appointed the Secretary of the Central Committee of the BNP National Executive Committee on Independence War and Veterans Affairs, which he held until his passing. He was nominated four times and elected thrice in Jatiyo Sangshad elections. He was elected in

He re-emerged from an absence to re-enter public life and began publicly speaking on social, political and economic matters in the country. During the caretaker government administration he spoke eloquently shedding light on the history of Bagladesh independence war and relating issues. BNP party chief former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia recalled him to active politics and nominated him for the electoral seat of Dhaka-15 (Mirpur and Kafrul) for the 9th Parliamentary General Elections held on 29 December 2008. Allegations of massive vote rigging by his Awami League opponent was reported[5]

He served in different positions in Bangladesh government throughout his active life. Hamidullah served as chairman of Bangladesh Post Graduate Medical Research Centre (1979–1982), Bangladesh Freedom Fighters Welfare Trust (1993–1996), Janata Bank (1995–1996).

He wrote books on his accounts of the creation of the Bangladesh Forces and the events leading to it, BDF Sector 11, its war operations including surrounding complexities, related events and consequences of the Indian occupation. Hamidullah also wrote about events and aftermath of the November 1975 and 1977 BAF uprisings. His second book is a two-volume set about the Bangladesh Independence War along with two documentaries. Many of his interviews and articles appeared in the national dailies and magazines.


Upon his death, Muhammad Hamidullah Khan was given a state funeral[6] with a military guard of honour.[7] Hamidullah Khan is survived by his spouse Rabeya Sulatna Khan and two sons, Murad Hamid Khan (Sonny) and Tariq Hamid Khan (Konny).[2]


  1. ^ "Hamidullah Khan passes away". Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "New Age | Newspaper". Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ :The Daily Star: Internet Edition[dead link]
  5. ^ Bangladesh Election Commission: Asset Database
  6. ^ UNB, Dhaka (1 January 2012). "Sector commander Hamidullah laid to rest". Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "New Age | Newspaper". 1 January 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 

External links[edit]