Iqbal Khan (general)

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For other people with the same name, see Iqbal Khan.
Iqbal Khan
Birth name Muhammad Iqbal Khan
Nickname(s) M.I. Khan
Born Pindi Gheb
Died Pindi Gheb
Allegiance  Pakistan
Service/branch  Pakistan Army
Years of service 1944-1984
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Service number (PA – 2052)
Unit 2nd FF Regiment
Commands held DG Military Intelligence (DG MI)
33rd Infantry Division, Quetta
Chief of General Staff (CGS)
IV Corps, Lahore
V Corps, Karachi
Deputy Chief of Army Staff (DCOAS)
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Operation Searchlight
Balochistan conflict
Operation Fair Play
Soviet war in Afghanistan
Awards Sitara-e-Basalat
Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military)

Muhammad Iqbal Khan, NI(M), SBt, is a former four-star general of the Pakistan Army who stayed as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee from 1980 to 1984 during the martial regime of Chief Martial Law Administrator and Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan Army General Zia-ul-Haq. During his career, Iqbal was Deputy Chief of Army Staff (DCOAS), Commander IV Corps of Lahore and Chief of General Staff (CGS) at the Army General Headquarters (GHQ).

Military career[edit]

Iqbal Khan studied at Military College Jhelum (College No. 1187) and was commissioned in the 2nd FF Regiment of the Pakistan Army.[1] During the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War, Iqbal Khan was serving as Director General Military Intelligence of the Pakistan Army.[2] He then commanded the 33rd Infantry Division at Quetta during the 1973 during counter-insurgency operations in Balochistan[3] He was later appointed Chief of General Staff (CGS) at the GHQ from where he was elevated to lieutenant general in March 1976 and posted as commander IV Corps at Lahore.[4]

Career in military government[edit]

When martial law was declared on 5 July 1977, Iqbal Khan, by virtue of being a corps commander was elevated to be the Martial Law Governor of Punjab. He was part of small coterie of generals under General Zia ul-Haq, who determined the national security policies in the martial regime. The other generals were Lt Gen Faiz Ali Chishti (Commander X Corps, Rawalpindi), Lt Gen Jehanzeb Arbab (Martial Law Governor of Sindh and Commander V Corps, Karachi), and other military governors of NWFP and Balochistan.[5] He stayed at Lahore for another year when Sawar Khan from Peshawar replaced him. Iqbal himself was sent as commander V Corps, Karachi replacing Lt Gen Jehangir Arbab who was sent as permanent representative to CENTO. At the same time, Iqbal was promoted as the Deputy Chief of Army Staff (DCOAS) in 1978.[6]

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee[edit]

In April 1980, Iqbal Khan was promoted to full General and appointed as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. He completed his four-year term and retired from the army in 1984.

Legacy and honors[edit]

Along with Generals Attiqur Rahman and Habibullah Khan Khattak, Iqbal Khan was considered to be an outstanding and honourable soldier who was a credit to the army.[citation needed] He stayed as Colonel Commandant of the Frontier Force Regiment from August 21, 1978 to March 17, 1985.

He was awarded Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military) and Sitara-e-Basalat for his meritorious services.


  1. ^ A.H. Amin. "Interview with Brig (retd) Shamim Yasin Manto" Defence Journal, February 2002
  2. ^ Hamid Hussain. "Demons of December" Defence Journal, 2002 December
  3. ^ Ikram Sehgal. "Learning from experience" The Daily Star, 23 August 2007
  4. ^ A.H. Amin "Remembering Our Warriors: Maj Gen (Retd) Tajammal Hussain Malik" Defence Journal, September 2001
  5. ^ Rizwan Hussain. "Pakistan and the Emergence of Islamic Militancy in Afghanistan" Ashgate Publishing, 2005, ISBN 0-7546-4434-0
  6. ^ Pakistan under Zia, 1977-1988 By Shahid Javed Burki Asian Survey, Vol. 28, No. 10 (October, 1988), pp. 1082-1100
Military offices
Preceded by
M. Rahim Khan
Chief of General Staff
1974 – 1976
Succeeded by
Abdullah Malik
Preceded by
Mohammad Shariff
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee
1980 – 1984
Succeeded by
Rahimuddin Khan