Muhammad Hamidullah Khan

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Muhammad Hamidullah Khan
Wing Commander Hamidullah Khan.jpg
M. Hamidullah Khan, TJ, SH, BP
Born(1938-09-11)11 September 1938
Bikrampur, Bengal Province, British Empire(present day Munshigonj)
Died30 December 2011(2011-12-30) (aged 73)
Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Dhaka, Bangladesh
Allegiance Bangladesh
Service/branchAir Force
Years of service Pakistan Air Force (1960-1971)
BDF (1971-1972)
 Bangladesh Air Force (1972-1979)
RankWing Commander
UnitAdministration and Special Duties A&SD
Commands held
Personal details
Political partyNon

M. Hamidullah Khan, TJ, Sitara-e-Harb, BP (Bengali: এম হামিদুল্লাহ খান; 11 September 1938 – 30 December 2011) was a military leader in two wars fought in South Asia: the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 and the Bangladesh Independence War in 1971.

During the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, Hamidullah was awarded Tamgha-i-Jurat Gallantry Medal for his courage and Sitara-e-Harb War Medal for his dedication in the September 1965 Pathankot infiltration. In the Bangladesh Independence War in 1971, he planned and commanded the Chilmari riverborne amphibious raid, one of the most strategically significant ground combat operation that was fought during the War of Independence of Bangladesh within the Mankachar sub~sector boundary of BDF Sector 11. During the war in 1971, he held three posts. As an official of the Bangladesh Government, M. Hamidullah Khan was the Principal BDF Representative of Guerilla Training at Chakulia, Bihar. After participating in the Sector Commanders Conference held between July 11~17th 1971, BDF C-in-C Colonel M. A. G. Osmani transferred Hamidullah to Teldhala, BDF Sector 11 HQ. During that time he received a battlefield promotion to Squadron Leader. Bangladesh Forces Sector 11 headquarters was under the command of BDF Commander Lt. Col. Ziaur Rahman, who appointed Hamidullah BDF Commander of Mankachar Sub-Sector 1, with additional charge of independent Roumari area.[1] On 3 November 1971, Sqn Ldr M. Hamidullah Khan was appointed BDF Commander of Sector 11. Hamidullah was the Bangladesh representative during the 34th UNGA, United Nations General Assembly session in 1979 as Bangladesh Special Envoy on the question of 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.[2][failed verification] He held numerous public appointments and elected posts during his service to the country. Upon his death President of Bangladesh Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave M. Hamidullah Khan a state funeral with full military honors.

Early life[edit]

M. Hamidullah Khan was born in Medini Mondal ward, Louhajong sub district, Bikrampur, Dhaka. He was the second of nine children, one of whom died in infancy, born to Muhammad Dabiruddin Khan and Jasimunnesa Khan. His father was a forest ranger in the Bengal and Assam Forest Department of the Imperial Forest Service. Hamidullah married Rabeya Sultana Khan, the third daughter of Mokbul Hossain Siddiqi, then East Pakistan Commissioner of Taxes and Excise, on 1 August 1965, in Dhaka. Hamidullah Khan's childhood was divided between living in Louhajong, Assam, Rangamati and Dhaka city. His family moved to the Mughaltully Ward of Dhaka in 1954, where he would spend his adolescence. Following independence and the creation of India and Pakistan in 1947, the family remained in East Pakistan, until his father's retirement in 1957. Hamidullah Khan attended primary school at Silver Jubilee Anglo-Bangla Government English School, Guwahati, Assam, British India. He went on to secondary school for a year at Rangamati Missionary School at Chittagong Hill Tracts, then transferred to and graduated from Louhajong A.T Institute in Dhaka Bikrampur (present-day Munshigonj). He then enrolled in Jagannath College, now Jagannath University, in 1954. After the completion of his senior secondary school in 1956, he studied at the same college in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts in Commerce (General). Hamidullah simultaneously enrolled in the honours program at Dhaka Textile College at Tejgaon. Hamidullah Khan entered the Pakistan Air Force Academy in July 1960, and reported to Risalpur in the 34th GD(P)(Squadron no.1) as a flight cadet.

Air Force career[edit]

As a career officer in the air force, Hamidullah Khan served 12 years in the PAF from June 1960 till 29 March 1971. He was commissioned initially in the GD(P) branch on 30 June 1962 from Pakistan Air Force Academy, Risalpur. He was later transferred to Administration and Special Duties Branch (Provost Marshal). His primary field of duty was security, investigations and counter intelligence. He served in the Pakistan Air Force at bases in Risalpur, Chaklala(Rawalpindi), Sargodha, Karachi, Peshawar, and finally Dacca. In September 1970, Flight Lieutenant Hamidullah Khan was posted to the Pakistan Eastern Zone as Assistant Provost Marshal P&S (Provost & Security) Unit 5 and Director of Security, Tejgaon International Airport in Dhaka. After the Bangladesh war of Independence, Hamidullah Khan received induction into the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) on 7 April 1972.

1965 India - Pakistan War -

PAF Base Chaklala, Rawalpindi: With 8 weeks of counter-intelligence and guerilla training he successfully infiltrated the Indian border from Sialkot on a night reconnaissance mission to gather photographic intel for assisting SSG commandos air drop mission over the border near Pathankot (about 12 hrs terrain hike to the air base). For his dedication and display of immense courage, he was awarded the Tamgha-e-Jurat (Star of Courage) and for participation the Sitara-e-Harb (Medal of War) awards.

Bangladesh War of Independence[edit]

On 30 March 1971, Flight Lieutenant M. Hamidullah Khan TJ, SH, defected from the Pakistan Air Force, and reported to the Bangladesh Provincial Government April 14 via Agartala. He was inducted into the Provincial Government of Bangladesh at 8 Theatre Road, Calcutta the following day. He was then posted as the Principal Representative of the Provincial Government of Bangladesh to Chakulia Guerilla Training Camp in Bihar during the period of April ~ June 1971. After he joined the Bangladesh Forces (BDF), M. Hamidullah Khan participated at the Sector Commanders Conference held between 11 July and 17 July 1971, and subsequently following the conference was posted by BDF Commander-in-chief (C-in-C) Colonel M.A.G Osmani to Teldhala, Mankachar, State of Meghalaya, BDF Sector 11 Headquarters under its Commander Major Ziaur Rahman, in command of the entire war effort in that sector. Zia appointed Hamidullah as commander of sub-sector 1, stationed in Mankachar, Meghalaya, with the additional responsibility of administration and protection of the independent Roumari area. Hamidullah would hold these positions between April, and until end of October 1971 during the war. As sub-sector commander, he commanded over 800 troops and fought 22 major encounters. In recognition of his efforts, Flight Lieutenant M. Hamidullah Khan received a battlefield promotion to squadron leader by BDF C-in-C Colonel M.A.G Osmani. His largest and most significant guerrilla operation would be the Chilmari Landing/Raid, on 16 and 17 October, during which Hamidullah led a crossing with 50 boats of the Ganges River by Kurigram and conducted a shock landing and attack on the Chilmari stronghold of the Pakistan Army, On 3 November 1971 Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan officially took command of BDF Sector 11 under authority of Direct Order Transfer of Command from an EAM Emergency Action Message tele-wired from the Provincial Bangladesh Government interim headquarters at 8, Theatre Rd. Calcutta.

Post independence[edit]

After the war, Hamidullah was inducted into the nascent BAF A&SD branch upon transfer from BDF Command by official government order, gazetted 7 April 1972 and was appointed the first Provost Marshal of BAF in Command of BAF Police and Ground Defense. In addition, he was assigned the security of the two airports in Dhaka, Kurmitola Air Base and Dhaka Air Base at Tejgaon. In 1973, Hamidullah received his final promotion to Wing Commander.

As Ground Defense Commander, Wing Commander Hamidullah Khan led a team that crushed the BAF airmen uprising and rebellion restoring order following the 1977 JAL Flight 472 hijacking incident at Dhaka International Airport/Bashar Air Base, Tejgaon during Air Marshall A. G Mahmood's tenure as COS. He further secured and tightened the safety and movements in and around the entire airport. Then President Ziaur Rahman, immediately following the attempted coup, appointed Hamidullah khan as ZMLA and Director of Martial Law Communications and Control Center set up at the old parliament building (present day prime minister's office) at Tejgaon. Hamidullah initiated the transfer of DFI under the Ministry of Defense from Bailey Road to Dhaka Cantonment under the direct control of the President and rechristened as DGFI.

He also held the positions of Chief of Air Force Security (Provost Marshal), Head of DFI Screening Committee, Director of Air Intelligence and Director of Recruiting, and Ground Defense Commander. He was also the Commanding Officer Administration Branch of BAF at Base Bashar.[1] Hamidullah officially retired from BAF on 10 January 1979.

Hamidullah received a gallantry award for Courage on 15 December 1973. M. Hamidullah Khan wrote a three-volume book called 71' Northern Front (in Bangla: Ekature Uttor Ronangon) of his and other guerrilla fighters' accounts of the War of Independence, squarely concentrating on guerilla warfare at the Central Sector BDF Sector 11. Hamidullah's second book was a two-volume set about the Independence War. He also authored four more books and made two documentaries on the events surrounding the war and post-independence. The Bangladesh Government named Road 23 in the town of Banani, Dhaka after him.[3] Along with those of 55 other fighters, his biography was included in a CD released by the Bangladesh government.[4]

Political career[edit]

In September 1978, Hamidullah joined the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). During the BNP's first council in 1978, Hamidullah Khan was appointed the first International Affairs Secretary of the Central Executive Committee including the post of Executive Secretary, in the present day re-designated as Office Secretary. He remained in that post until 1989. In the party's second national council in 1993, he was again made Secretary of the BNP International Affairs Committee. In the fifth national council, Hamidullah was appointed Secretary of the Central Committee of the BNP National Executive Committee on Independence War and Veterans Affairs, which he held until his death. Hamidullah was denied a party nomination and brushed aside without notice in 1996 and 2001. M. Hamidullah Khan immediately followed into the welcoming hand of Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League but following a year later returned to BNP.

He was nominated four times and elected thrice in Jatiyo Sangshad elections. These elections included:

He re-emerged in 2007 after a long absence from public life, since the time he resigned from BNP. He had joined the Awami League in 1996 which ended in two years short stint. He wrote five books, gave interviews, began speaking on Bangladesh social, political, and economic matters. BNP party chief and former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia, re-called him to active politics and nominated him for the electoral seat of Dhaka-15 (Mirpur and Kafrul) during the 9th Parliamentary General Elections, held on 29 December 2008.[5] Hamidullah served in different positions in the Bangladesh government throughout his active life. He served as chairman of the Bangladesh Postgraduate Medical Research Centre between 1979 and 1982, member of the DU senate, chairman of the Bangladesh Freedom Fighters Welfare Trust from 1993 to 1996, Chairman of the BIDA formerly the Board of Investment, chairman of the Janata Bank between 1995 and 1996.


Muhammad Hamidullah Khan was given a state funeral with a military guard of honour.[6][7] Hamidullah Khan is survived by his spouse Rabeya Sulatna Khan and two sons, Murad Hamid Khan (Sonny) and Tariq Hamid Khan (Konny).[8]


  1. ^ a b "Biography". Bengal Renaissance.
  2. ^ "Hamidullah Khan passes away". The Daily Star. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Khoka opens Hamidullah Khan Road". New Age. Dhaka. 19 June 2007. Archived from the original on 3 December 2007.
  4. ^ "CD on biographies of 56 FFs released". The Daily Star. 19 December 2009.
  5. ^ "Bangladesh Election Commission: Asset Database". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  6. ^ "Sector commander Hamidullah laid to rest". The Daily Star. UNB. 1 January 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Hamidullah laid to rest". New Age. Dhaka. UNB. 1 January 2012. Archived from the original on 14 May 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  8. ^ "Hamidullah passes away". New Age. Dhaka. 30 December 2011. Archived from the original on 14 May 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2012.

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