Rao Farman Ali

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Rao Farman Ali
Rao Farman Ali.jpg
Rao Farman Ali (1924–2004), ca. 1969
Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources
In office
23 March 1985 – 29 May 1988
President Zia-ul-Haq
Prime Minister Muhammad Junejo
National Security Advisor
In office
29 March 1985 – 17 August 1988
Preceded by Tikka Khan
Succeeded by Tariq Aziz
Managing Director of Fauji Foundation
In office
Personal details
Born Rao Farman Ali Khan
(1923-01-01)January 1, 1923[1]
Rohtak, East Punjab, British India
Present-day Haryana, India
Died January 20, 2004(2004-01-20) (aged 81)
Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan
Resting place Westridge Cemetery
Citizenship British Subject (1915–1947)
Pakistan (1947–2004)
Profession Agronomist
Military service
Service/branch  British Indian Army (1935–1947)
 Pakistan Army (1947–1972)
Years of service 1942–1972
Rank OF-7 Pakistan Army.svg US-O8 insignia.svg Major-General
Unit 26th Field Regiment, Regiment of Artillery
Commands Corps of Military Police
Dir.Gen. Military Operations
Military Advisor East Pakistan Military

World War II
Bangladesh Liberation War

Service number PA – 1364

Major-General Rao Farman Ali Khan (Urdu: راؤ فرمان علی; English IPA: Rəoʊ Fərmən ɑlɪ; 1 January 1923 – January 20, 2004), was a two-star rank army general in the Pakistan Army and former political figure who is widely accused as a "conspirator" of the civil war in East Pakistan and one of directly responsible of committing the mass atrocities in East Pakistan.[2][3][4]

Commissioned in 1942 as a forward observer in Regiment of Artillery, he served as military adviser to the East Pakistani military, and oversaw the deployment of military police aided with the Volunteers during the civil war unrest in East Pakistan in 1970–71.[5] He testified his responsibilities in the Hamoodur Rahman Commission in 1972 but denied allegations of mass atrocities committed in East Pakistan in spite of Commission proved the involvement of misconducts and atrocities of Pakistani military personnel.[6]

Upon being forced retired, he joined the Fauji Foundation as an agronomist, and created the fertiler in 1978.[7] From 1985–88, he served as petroleum minister and National Security Advisor in President Zia-ul-Haq's administration, and went into underground after Zia's death.[7]

Ali remains a controversial figure with East Pakistani civilian bureaucrats and his superior military officials accusing and branding him as "conspirator", "opportunist" , and "swindler", and widely held him responsible of committing the mass atrocities in East Pakistan.[8]


Rao Farman Ali was born in Rohtak, East Punjab, British India in 1923.[9] His date of birth is read as 1 January 1923, according to the official headstone written in Urdu in his grave which is located in the Westridge cemetery in Rawalpindi.[1] Very little is known about his early life in the literature based on Pakistani military, and not much is published about his educational background.

He gained commissioned as an officer in the Regiment of Artillery of British Indian Army and participated in the World War II in 1942, on the side of the Great Britain.[10] In 1947, he opted for Pakistan Army and joined the Military Police.[9] His military career saw his repeated deployment in East Pakistan as a political adviser and later ascended as military adviser to East Pakistan Army.[9] In 1960s, his military assignments were posted at the Army GHQ and served in the Directorate-General of Military Operations (DGMO) and served as Director-General Military Training (DGMT), also at the Army GHQ.[7]

It is not known if Rao took participation in war with India in 1965, since he was stationed in East.[11] In 1967, he was again stationed in East as a officer commanding of the 14th Battalion; he was posted again and sent back to West.[11] In 1969, President Ayub Khan handed over the presidency to his Commander-in-Chief General Yahya Khan who posted Ali upon the request of Major-General Muzaffaruddin– the martial law administrator of East Pakistan.[11]

The posting came at the behest of the East Pakistani government requesting him due to his experiences in East.[11] He was the military adviser to the East Pakistan Army and elevated as the Defence Secretary of the East Pakistani government, serving from 1969–71.[12] He enjoyed full support of President Yahya Khan serving under several governors and oversaw various civil affairs in the government.757-759[10] He helped raise the paramilitary units such as the Volunteers, Peace Committee, Al Badr, and Al Shams to counter the violence instigated by the Mukti Bahini.:758–759[10]

In 1971, when the talks with Awami League failed, Ali alongside with Lieutenant-General Tikka Khan launched the military crackdown on on Awami League under direction of President Yahya Khan.[5] Ali is held responsible for wide spread genocide and massacre took place in Dhaka University.[13]

Altaf Gohar, an East Pakistani civil servant, recounted an incident from his memory that a hit list had been drawn up for elimination of certain Bangalis.:27–30[3] A friend of Altaf Gohar was also in the list and his friends relatives requested Gohar if he could do something to save his friend.:28[3] Gohar held a meeting with Farman and requested him to drop the name from his hit list. " Farman took, said Gohar, a diary out of his drawer and crossed the name out. The name was of Mr. Sanaul Huq and he was spared.":29[3]

After the civil war in 1971 ended, Farman's diary was recovered from the ruins of the Governor's house. The copy of a page from the diary shows the list of intellectuals from Dhaka University. Out of which, 14 of them were killed on 14 December 1971.[14] In 1971, he, along with Niazi, sent telegram to U.S. Embassy in Dacca to transmit the surrender proposal to New Delhi.[15] Another message was directed by Farman Ali to United Nations which countermanded with the message sent by President Yahya Khan; his message was then described as "unauthorized."[16]

About the East Paksitan unrest, A.A.K. Niazi maintained that Farman requested the latter on multiple occasions to stationed him back to Pakistan after the Farman's gained notoriety over his involvement in the killing of the intellectuals.[13] A.A.K. Niazi wrote in his book, "The Betrayal of East Pakistan that Farman had quoted: "Mukti Bahini would kill him of his alleged massacre of the Bangalees and intellectuals on the night of 15–16 December. It was a pathetic sight to see him pale and almost on the verge of break down."[13] He is also alleged to have written in his Diary as: "Green Land of East Pakistan will be painted Red."[17] However, Farman Ali had denied all the accusations leveled against him, and branded these accusations as "lie."[11]

In 1972, Ali testified against A.A.K. Niazi in the Hamoodur Rahman Commission and noted that Niazi's morale collapse as early as 7 December and cried fanatically over the progress report presented to the Abdul Monem Khan.[18] Controversy regarding his own involvement in the political events of East had arisen since he had denied all accusations leveled against him despite testifying his responsibilities as military adviser to East Pakistani military.[11]

Farman Ali was forcefully retired from the military in 1972 but appointed as Managing Director of Fauji Foundation in 1974 which he remained until 1984.[7] He served as an agronomist at the Fauji Foundation and helped created the chemical fertilizer and served its first director of the Fauji Fertilizer Company in 1978.[7] In 1985, he was appointed as Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources and National Security Advisor in President Zia-ul-Haq's administration, which he served until 1988.[7]

After sudden death of President Zia-ul-Haq, Farman Ali reportedly went into hiding and lived a very quiet life in Rawalpindi on a pensions.[7] Throughout the 1990s, he fought a brief illness and authored a book, Sar Gazisht, based on the East Pakistan crises.[7] On 20 January 2004, Farman Ali passed away and was laid to rest with military honors in Westridge cemetery in Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Major General (Retd) Rao Farman Ali". www.everystockphoto.com/. Everystockphoto. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  2. ^ Mahfuz, Asif (13 December 2014). "Rao Farman Ali's master plan". www.thedailystar.net/. The Daily Star. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d Ibrahim, Muntassir Mamoon ; translated from Bengali by Kushal (2000). The Vanquished Generals and the Liberation War of Bangladesh. Dhaka: Somoy Prokashan. pp. 70–71. ISBN 9789844582101. 
  4. ^ Tripathi, Salil. The Colonel Who Would Not Repent: The Bangladesh War and Its Unquiet Legacy. Yale University Press. pp. 186–187. ISBN 9780300218183. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Ganguly, Sumit. Conflict Unending: India-Pakistan Tensions Since 1947. Columbia University Press. pp. 59–60. ISBN 9780231507400. 
  6. ^ Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Et. al. (21 January 2004). "Rao Farman Ali passes away". Dawn Newspapers. Dawn Newspapers. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  8. ^ "Major General Rao Farman Ali Khan". www.genocidebangladesh.org/. Bangladesh Genocide Archive. 18 September 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c "Rao Farman Ali - Pakistan Who's Who". sites.google.com. sites.google.com. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c Bhattacharya, Brigadier Samir. NOTHING BUT!. Partridge Publishing. ISBN 9781482816266. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f (arup), অরূপ (13 March 2010). "অরূপকথা: Interview of Major General Rao Farman Ali AKA "The Butcher of Bengal"". অরূপকথা. অরূপকথা. 
  12. ^ Foundation, Bhashani. Searching for Bhasani Citizen of the World: The Life and Times of (Earnest) Mozlum Leader Maulana Bhasani. Xlibris Corporation. p. 197. ISBN 9781453573136. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  13. ^ a b c "Major General Rao Farman Ali Khan". www.genocidebangladesh.org/major-general-rao-farman-ali-khan/. Bangla Desh source. 18 September 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  14. ^ Mamoon, Muntassir; translation by Kushal Ibrahim (June 2000). The Vanquished Generals and the Liberation War of Bangladesh (First ed.). Somoy Prokashon. p. 29. ISBN 984-458-210-5. 
  15. ^ Abbas, Hassan. Pakistan's Drift Into Extremism: Allah, the Army, and America's War on Terror. Routledge, Abbas. pp. 56–66. ISBN 9781317463283. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  16. ^ Singh, V. K. Leadership in the Indian Army: Biographies of Twelve Soldiers. SAGE. pp. 207–208. ISBN 9780761933229. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  17. ^ Dogra, Wg Cdr C. Deepak. Pakistan: Caught in the Whirlwind. Lancer Publishers LLC. ISBN 9781940988221. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  18. ^ Jones, Owen Bennett (2002). Pakistan: Eye of the Storm. Yale University Press, Jones. ISBN 0300101473. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 

External links[edit]