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 Bangladesh Forces Commander of BDF Sector 11 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 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 into a political family in the Medini Mondal village, Louhajong Ward, of the rural town of 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. Flight Lieutenant 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 partition 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 1959 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 was subsequently assigned the security and intelligence specialisation in the Provost Marshall's office.[2]

Air Force career[edit]

Hamidullah Khan joined the Pakistan Air Force in June 1962 and was commissioned as 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 the Pakistan Eastern Zone as Assistant Provost Marshal and Director of Security for Tejgaon International Airport in Dhaka. He was promoted to squadron leader in July 1970.

Bangladesh War of Independence[edit]

At the beginning of the Bangladesh War of Independence, Hamidullah was assigned[when?] as the Assistant Provost Marshal for the Pakistani Air Force Eastern Zone, Provost Marshal P ans S Unit 5, Dhaka. On 30 March Flight Lieutenant Hamidullah defected from the PAF, and he reported to the Bangladeshi Provincial Government in Calcutta on April 14. Initially he was posted as the Bangladeshi Representative at the Chakulia Guerilla Training Camp in Bihar.

Between 11 and 17 July 1971, he attended the Bangladesh Sector Commanders Conference and he was subsequently posted at the Teldhala, Mukti Bahini Sector 11 Headquarters. Major Ziaur Rahman, then in command of the entire war effort in that sector, appointed Hamidullah as the sub-sector 1 commander, stationed in Mankachar, with the additional responsibility as administrator of the Roumari area. Hamidullah would hold these positions between July and November 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 Mukti Bahini 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 of the Ganges River by Kurigram.

Post independence[edit]

After Bangladesh received its independence, 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. 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.[when?] Muhammad 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 Mukti Bahini Sector 11. Hamidullah's second book was a two-volume set about the Independence War. He also authored three 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[when?] after an absence from public life and began speaking on Bangladeshi 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 Bangladeshi government throughout his active life. He served as chairman of the Bangladesh Postgraduate Medical Research Centre between 1979 and 1982, 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". Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "New Age | Newspaper". 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. ^ 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. 

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