Muhammad Hamidullah Khan

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Muhammad Hamidullah Khan
Wing Commander Hamidullah Khan.jpg
M. 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 1962–1979 (PAF - BAF)
Rank Wing Commander
Unit Administration and Special Duties ((A&SD))
Commands held

Provost Marshal

Ground Defence Commander
Battles/wars Bangladesh War of Independence
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 a career air force officer, originally in the PAF and later BAF. He was Commander of Sector 11, Bangladesh Forces during the Bangladesh War of Independence from Pakistan in 1971. M. Hamidullah Khan represented Bangladesh during the 34th Session of the United Nations General Assembly 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.[1]

Early life[edit]

Hamidullah Khan was born in Medini Mondal village, Louhajong Ward, 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 British Imperial Forest Service under the Bengal and Assam Forest Department. Hamidullah married Rabeya Sultana Khan, the third daughter of Mokbul Hossain Siddiqi, then East Pakistani Commissioner of Taxes and Excise, on 1 August 1965, in Dhaka.

Hamidullah Khan's childhood was divided between living in Bikrampur 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, while his father chose to work for the Indian government until his retirement in 1957. Hamidullah Khan attended primary school at Silver Jubilee Anglo-Bangla Government English School, Guwahati, Assam. He went on to secondary school for a year at Rangamati Missionary School at Chittagong Hill Tracts, before switching to and graduating 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 in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts in Commerce (General). Hamidullah simultaneously enrolled in the four years Honours program at Dhaka Textile College at Tejgaon. Hamidullah Khan entered the Pakistan Air Force Academy in 1960 and reported to Risalpur in the 34th GD(P) as a flight cadet. However, he was commissioned in the GD (Admin) branch of Pakistan Air Force, later structured and organized as Administrative and Special Duties Branch. He was inducted into the nascent Bangladesh Air Force in the same branch, and was appointed as BAF's first Provost Marshal in charge 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.[2]

Air Force career[edit]

Hamidullah Khan joined the Pakistan Air Force in July 1960 and was commissioned in June 1962 as a pilot officer. He served in the Pakistan Air Force at bases in Risalpur, Chaklala(Rawalpindi), Sargodha, Karachi, Peshawar, and finally Dacca. In November 1970, Flight Lieutenant Hamidullah Khan was transferred to the Pakistan Eastern Zone as Assistant Provost Marshal and Director of Security for Tejgaon International Airport in Dhaka. After he joined the Bangladesh war of Independence, he received a Battlefield Promotion to squadron leader in July 1971.

1965 India - Pakistan War -

PAF Base Chaklala, Rawalpindi: With only 8 weeks counter-intelligence and guerilla training he infiltrated Indian border from Sialkot for intel gathering (taking photographs) on a night mission for assisting SSG commandos air drop mission over the border near Pathankot(about 12 hrs terrain hike to the air base). Was awarded Sitara-e-Harb(Medal of War) and Tamgha-e-Jurat(Star of Courage).

Bangladesh War of Independence[edit]

On 30 March 1971 Flight Lieutenant Hamidullah defected from the PAF, and he reported to the Bangladesh Provincial Government April 14 via Agartala. He was posted as the Chief Bangladesh Representative of the Provincial government to Chakulia Guerilla Training Camp in Bihar in mid May 1971.

Between 11 and 17 July 1971, he attended the Bangladesh Sector Commanders Conference and he was subsequently posted at the Teldhala, BDF Sector 11 Headquarters. Major Ziaur Rahman, in command of the entire war effort in that sector, appointed Hamidullah as commander sub-sector 1, stationed in Mankachar, with the additional responsibility as administrator of the Roumari area. Hamidullah would hold these positions between July and 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 Hamidullah received a battlefield promotion to squadron leader by Bangladesh Forces Commander in Chief Colonel M.A.G Osmani. His largest and most significant guerrilla operation would be the Chilmari expedition, on 16 and 17 October, during which Hamidullah led a crossing with 50 boats of the Ganges River by Kurigram. Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan officially took command of BDF Sector 11 under authority of Direct Order Transfer of Command from the Emergency Action Message tele-wired from the Provincial Bangladesh Government interim HQ at 8, Theatre Rd. Calcutta.

Post independence[edit]

After the war, Hamidullah was inducted into the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) and was appointed the first Provost Marshal of Bangladesh Air Force in April 1972. In 1973 Hamidullah received his final promotion to wing commander. While in the BAF, he served in the BAF headquarters, Intelligence and Security, and Air Education and Training fields. He also held the positions[when?] of Chief of Air Force Security (Provost Marshal), Director of Air Intelligence and Director of Recruiting, and Ground Defense Commander. He was also the Administration Branch Commanding Officer at BAF Base Bashar.[citation needed] Hamidullah officially retired from Bangladesh Air Force on 10 January 1979.

Hamidullah received a service award for gallantry on 15 December 1973. M. Hamidullah Khan wrote a three volume book 71' Northern Front (in Bangla: Ekature Uttor Ronangon) of his and other guerrilla fighters' accounts of the War of Independence, squarely concentrating on 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 Executive Secretary of the Central Executive Committee, later re-designated as Office Secretary. He remained in that post until 1989. In the party's second national council he was 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.

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

He re-emerged in 2007 after an absence from public life and began speaking on Bangladesh social, political, and economic matters. BNP party chief and former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia recalled 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, and chairman of the Janata Bank between 1995 and 1996.


Upon his death, 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).[2]


  1. ^ "Hamidullah Khan passes away". The Daily Star. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Hamidullah passes away". New Age. Dhaka. 30 December 2011. Archived from the original on 14 May 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  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
  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. 

External links[edit]