Muhammad Ghulam Tawab

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Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Ghulam Tawab (1 July 1930 – 23 February 1999) was the second chief of the air staff of Bangladesh Air Force who also served as deputy chief martial law administrator of Bangladesh with Ziaur Rahman and M. H. Khan from 1975 to 1977. During the nations war of independence Group Captain Tawab was barred from participating in the struggle due to internal politics spearheaded by A.K. Khandker. However, he remained in contact with General Osmani, and after 16 December 1971, Tawab immediately returned to Bangladesh and General M.A.G. Osmani appointed Tawab as his principal deputy with the rank of Air Commodore at the Bangladesh Forces interim Headquarters in the older 14 Division HQ's office of Pakistan Army at Dhaka Cantoment. Within a short period of three months Tawab played his part in the creation and organization of Bangladesh Air Force. Though a short lived tenure, along with Osamni's resignation as Commander in Chief of Bangladesh Forces on April 21, 1972, Tawab had to leave the country due to political meddling of the Awami League administration. After Sheikh Mujib's assassination in August 1975, Tawab was immediately recalled from West Germany to active duty by Major Dalim upon then Wing Commander M. Hamidullah Khan's advice. Air Vice Marshal A. K. Khandker was promtly dismissed, and Tawab was reinstated to Bangladesh Air Force and appointed the Chief of Air Staff with the rank of Air Vice Marshal. During Tawabs command Bangladesh Air Force reemerged as an active department of armed forces of Bangladesh and received its accurate transformation and structuring. In less than two years, under Tawab's tremendous and dedication hard work Bangladesh Air Force Academy came into being. M. G. Tawab retired from Bangladesh Air Force in 1977 and returned to West Germany. He died in Munich on February 23, 1999 from prostate cancer after several years of heroic fight against this deadly affliction.

Brief[edit]

Tawab was born in a village near Sylhet, of Bengal Province, British Indian Empire, on July 1, 1930. After graduating college Tawab joined the Pakistan Air Force and was commissioned with the 9th GD(P) course as a pilot officer in the PAF. He graduated from PAF College Risalpur on September 15, 1951. Tawab excelled in the PAF by reputation and professionally as well as in Bangladesh Air Force. In 1965, during Indo-Pak war on the western front, Tawab brilliant performance won him great recognition and the highest gallantry award. In 1975, Tawab was promoted to Air Vice Marshal and appointed as Chief of Air Staff of Bangladesh Air Force. He was married to Henrietta, a German national, and has two sons and a daughter.

Pakistan Air Force[edit]

Soon after graduating as a Pilot Officer GD(P), Tawab attended fighter conversion school and after a short stint in a fighter squadron, he was posted as flying instructor at PAF College Risalpur. During Pakistan Air Force's early years dedicated trained instructors were in high demand. Though flying instruction was demanding work, due to Tawab's reputation at excelling in all fields, after two years tenure there he was posted back to a frontline combat fighter squadron. He was one of the first PAF pilots to undergo jet conversion with the USAF in Germany in early 1956. In recognition of his capabilities he was posted as a NATO instructor pilot at the USAF run T-33 (T-Bird) jet transition school at Furstenfledbruck Air Base near Munich in Germany. It was here that he met and married Henrietta, his constant companion in joy, happiness and adversity the lasted forty three years.

Tawab made an effective contribution in the grooming of the group of fighter pilots who defeated the Indian Air Force and blunted Indian land offensives in the 1965 war. Between 1957 and 1971 he held command of No 11 and 14 front line PAF fighter squadrons. He was the chief instructor at the PAF Fighter Leader School, when this premier fighter training institution was commanded by Wg Commander M.Z Masud PAF's top fighter pilot, who later as Base Commander Sargodah emerged as the top hero of the 1965 war. In recognition of his high professional expertise Tawab was given command of PAF's No 32 Fighter Wing in 1963, which he completed with distinction. After graduating from the PAF Staff College Tawab held key appointments at Air Headquarters PAF including Director of Projects and Director of Flight Safety. He was Director of Flight Safety before and during the 1965 war. Seeing the clouds of war on the horizon Tawab volunteered to fly operational combat missions. He was attached to No 19 Squadron commanded by Squadron Leader 'Nosey' Haider. Despite his seniority he flew 24 F-86 Sabre combat missions which included sixteen air defence sorties and eight ground attack missions. He was in the strike formation which bombed Srinagar airfield and Jammu radar during the 1965 war. His citation approved by Air Marshal Noor Khan C-in-C PAF reads as follows, 'Wing Commander Mohammad Ghulam Tawab started taking part in operations from the very first day the hostilities began. He provided top cover for the first strike against Pathankot. During the war he flew sixteen air defence missions and eight close support sorties. He took part in the bombing of Srinagar airfield and Jammu radar. He was responsible for the destruction of ten enemy tanks and twenty vehicles. Such active participation in operations set an excellent example for all the fighter pilots at Peshawar. Wing Commander Mohammad Ghulam Tawab is therefore awarded Sitara-i-Jur'at'. During the 'text book attack' on Pathankot airfield, Tawab flying one of the two top cover sabres counted fourteen fires burning i.e. destruction of 14 IAF Mig-21's and Mystere fighters by Squadron Leader Nosey Haider and his fighter boys. Tawab had an intuitive and alert mind. During a recce mission on 3rd Sept 65 Tawab reported heavy concentration of India armour for a major offensive towards Chawinda. This report helped Pakistan Army to deploy its armour in time to crush the India armour offensive. Tawab was Base Commander PAF base Kohat until before the 1971 war.

Bangladesh Air Force[edit]

Tawab left the PAF in the summer of 1971 and went to Bangkok, Thailand, from where he tried to join forces with General M A G Osmani at 8 Theatre Rd., Calcutta, India. He was barred by Indian authorities under the influence of A.K. Khandker to participate in the glorious war of independence in 1971. Furthermore he was well known as a Pakistan Air Force fighter ace, as he was awarded the prestigious gallantry award of Sitara-i-Jurat for his extreme bravery in the 1965 Indo-Pak war. With his excellent record as a highly qualified fighter pilot, he with a little effort got a job as a test pilot with a German aircraft manufacturing company and as instructor pilot with a flying school there. He was a dare-devil and liked challenges wherever he found them. After retirement Tawab returned to Munich Germany and started indenting business of sorts. He had lived in Munich since with his wife and three children till his death.

References[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Air Vice Marshal Abdul Karim Khondoker
Chief of the Bangladesh Air Force Succeeded by
Air Vice Marshal Khademul Bashar