Rahimuddin Khan (born 21 July 1924) is a retired four-star general of the Pakistan Army who served as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee from 1984 to 1987, after serving as the 7th Governor of Balochistan from 1978 to 1984. He also served as the 16th Governor of Sindh in 1988.
Born in Qaimganj, United Provinces, British India, Rahimuddin opted for Pakistan at Partition, enrolling as the first cadet of the Pakistan Military Academy. He was part of military action during the 1953 Punjab disturbances, and later commanded 111 Brigade in Rawalpindi, 8th Division in Sialkot, and II Corps in Multan before being appointed Chairman Joint Chiefs.
As the longest-serving governor of Balochistan in Pakistan's history, Rahimuddin ended the 1973 operation in Balochistan, declaring a general amnesty and military withdrawal in 1978. His tenure saw widespread economic development, the construction of nuclear test sites in Chaghai, and the halting of the Baloch insurgency, but was controversial for suppressing the Afghan mujahideen entering the province during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.
Rahimuddin Khan was born in Qaimganj, United Provinces, India, in the majority Afridi Pashtun community that migrated from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He was the nephew of educationist Zakir Hussain, later the President of India, and the son-in-law of educationist Mahmud Hussain. He attended Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi, founded by Zakir Hussain. He opted for Pakistan during independence in 1947, enrolling as Gentleman Cadet-1 of the Pakistan Military Academy. As captain, he helped enforce martial law in Lahore during the 1953 Lahore riots.
He attended Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and Command and Staff College in Quetta in 1965, and was appointed sub-martial law administrator of Hyderabad in 1969. He served as inaugural commander of 111 Brigade in Rawalpindi in 1970. In February 1971, General Yahya Khan assigned Rahimuddin to preside over the military tribunal of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Faisalabad. According to Shuja Nawaz, Rahimuddin was reportedly uncomfortable conducting the trial. 111 Brigade was led by Rahimuddin, and later Naseerullah Babar at the trial's verdict, during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971. After becoming Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto rescinded the verdict, which was never made public, and released Mujib.
Rahimuddin served as Chief Instructor at the Armed Forces War College at the then National Defence College, Rawalpindi until 1975. Bhutto requested Rahimuddin to head the new Atomic Energy Commission and nuclear programme, but was declined. As Lieutenant-General, he became Commander II Corps in Multan in 1976. He was made Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee by General Zia-ul-Haq in 1984. He retired in 1987.
Governor of Balochistan
A military operation against separatists was commenced in Balochistan by Prime Minister Bhutto led by army chief Tikka Khan in 1973, claiming thousands of lives. Rahimuddin was appointed Governor of Balochistan on 16 September 1978. He declared an end to the operation, and announced a general amnesty for fighters willing to give up arms. Army withdrawal was completed by 1979. The Baloch separatist movement came to a standstill. Under Rahimuddin, Foreign Policy Centre held that "the province's tribal sardars were taken out of the pale of politics for the first time." He was known for clean reputation during corrupt regimes.
Rahimuddin opened the Sui gas field to provide gas directly to Quetta and other Baloch towns for the first time. Electricity expansion from Quetta to Loralai converted vast areas with sub-soil water into fertile ones. He also consolidated the then-contentious integration of Gwadar into Balochistan, notified as a district in 1977. Despite opposition from finance minister Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Rahimuddin heavily promoted large-scale manufacturing and investment in infrastructure, leading to provincial GDP growth rising to the highest in Balochistan's history. Addressing the province's literacy rate, the lowest in the country, he administered the freeing up of resources towards education, created girls' incentive programs, and had several girls' schools built in Dera Bugti District. He also oversaw the construction of nuclear test sites in Chaghai where tests were conducted in 1998.
Containment of Afghan refugees
During the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the Zia regime began aiding the anti-communist Afghan mujahideen. Millions of Afghan refugees, believed to be the largest refugee population in the world, crossed over the border into Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Under Zia and General Fazle Haq in KP, heroin and weaponry freely entered with the mujahideen. In Balochistan however, Rahimuddin Khan detained the mujahideen in barbed wire military camps and seized their arms. Several fighters were allegedly transported back into Afghanistan by force, criticized by Pakistani human rights agencies. He also restricted refugees to civilian encampments during the war. Pakistan's Balochistan policy became highly unpopular in the eyes of Afghans, but drugs and weapons remained low in the province, becoming widespread in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
In March 1981, the Al-Zulfikar terrorist organization led by Murtaza Bhutto hijacked a Pakistan International Airlines airplane from Karachi to Kabul. The hijackers threatened to murder hostages if state authorities did not release specific political prisoners. Upon the authorities' refusal, Al-Zulfikar shot and killed passenger Captain Tariq Rahim, mistakenly believed to be the son of General Rahimuddin Khan. The decision to kill Rahim was taken after Murtaza Bhutto consulted KHAD chief Mohammad Najibullah. Tariq Rahim had actually been a former aide-de-camp to the elder Bhutto. The episode was ended when Zia-ul-Haq released the prisoners.
Governor of Sindh and retirement
Zia dismissed his own government in May 1988. Rahimuddin became civilian Governor of Sindh, and governor's rule was imposed citing emergency. Claiming corruption, Rahimuddin began dismissing large numbers of police and civil servants, including Z.A. Nizami from the Karachi Development Authority. Rahimuddin also launched a brutal police crackdown on land mafia, one of the widest ever in Karachi, criticized by both PPP and the Zia regime for its heavyhanded tactics. It was stopped by the government immediately after he resigned. He moved to create separate police forces for the city and the rural areas, but this was also resisted after his resignation for fears of complicating the Sindhi-Muhajir relationship. Special riot control officers were trained to cope with ethnic riots, and river and forest police were also set up to battle dacoity. Ghulam Ishaq Khan became acting President after Zia's death in an aircrash on 17 August, and reintroduced the Chief Minister of Sindh office. Rahimuddin resigned in response, some say as this was attempt to limit his gubernatorial powers.
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The cadets who left for Pakistan formed the First Course of the PMA. Gentleman Cadet No. 391 at the IMA, who became Cadet No. 1 at the PMA, and also honer of P.A(Pakistan Army) No 1, Rahim Uddin Khan, rose to the rank of General and became Joint Chief of Staff in Pakistan and, later, Governor of one of the provinces.[permanent dead link]
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Lieutenant-General Rahimuddin Khan kept the governor's post in addition to commanding 2 Corps virtually in absentia. Its headquarters was located in the distant city of Multan.
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Mr Bhutto didn’t wait long and ordered the army to move into the interior of Balochistan and then dismissed the Governments both in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan...thousands of people were killed in those army operations, which continued for 5 years. Thousands were rendered homeless...
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Balochistan is home to the largest number of school buildings that are falling apart. It also has the least number of educational institutions, the lowest literacy rate among both males and females.
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For years Karachi was at the mercy of a plunderer of the KDA, Z A Nizami, until one fine day the then governor of Sindh, General Rahimuddin, realizing that enough was enough, sacked the man...
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The Bishop persisted. In July 1988, he asked Governor Rahimuddin for the plot, categorically stating that he did not intend to construct a building thereon but would use it as an open playground. The authorities held their ground.
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Khan’s presidency also saw the resignation of General Rahimuddin Khan from the post of Governor of Sindh, due to differences between the two after Khan started restricting Rahimuddin’s vast amount of legislative power.
Khuda Bakhsh Marri
| Governor of Balochistan
Farooq Shaukat Khan Lodi
Ashraf W. Tabani
| Governor of Sindh
| Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee
Akhtar Abdur Rahman