Wing Commander M Hamidullah Khan Biography


Early Life

M. Hamidullah Khan was born to a political family in Medini Mondal village, Louhajong ward, in the town of BIKRAMPUR, (known to be the oldest capital of Bengal before Bhawal and Sonargaon) southern Dhaka, in then Bengal Province of British India.

He is the second of the nine children (one deceased at infant age) born to Muhammad Dabiruddin Khan and Jasimunnesa Khan. His father Dabiruddin Khan was a Forest Ranger in the British Imperial Forest Service. Hamidullah's childhood was divided between living in the rural town of Bikrampur, Dhaka, during his secondary school years and the city proper after secondary school. In 1954 he permanently moved out with his parents and settled in Mughaltully Ward of Dhaka located by the Ganges river. At the departure of the British and official creation of India and Pakistan in 1947, Hamidullah's father with only a few years of service remaining, considered to stay close to his family and opted for service with the government of India.

Hamidullah with his mother and the rest of his sibling remained in Dhaka, then East Pakistan, Dabiruddin Khan later joined them after retirement in 1957. As Hamidullah's mother Jasminessa was burdened with raising 8 children by herself and managing the entire household, leadership and management was a trait Hamidullah encountered with at an early age. Hamidullah spent his adolescent years in now old Dhaka until he joined the military. After Bangladesh independence in 1971, Hamidullah and remaining family members permanently resettled in "Bikrampur House", Dhaka Cantonment.

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Hamidullah Khan attended primary school at Silver Jubilee Anglo Bengali Government School, Guwahati, Assam, where his father was posted, and secondary school at Christian Missionary School, Rangamati (CHT) and A.T Institute (Kazir Pagla) in Bikrampur, Dhaka. He enrolled into Jagannath College in 1954. His Alma Mater today is known as Jagannath University. After completion of senior secondary school in 1956, he pursued his academics at the same college for Bachelor of Arts in Commerce (General), graduating in 1959.

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Early Career

In the year 1959, while preparations were finalised to study law, Hamidullah Khan accepted an appointment instead as a candidate in the Pakistan Air Force Academy at Risalpur, as a Flight Cadet. He was Commissioned a Pilot Officer in June 1962.

He served in the PAF at bases in Lahore, Peshawar, Chaklala, Sargodha, Karachi, and finally Dhaka. His last assignment in the PAF was as Assistant Provost Marshall and Commanding Officer No 5. P and S Unit(Independent) with additional responsibility as Director of Security, Tejgaon International Airport, Dhaka.

Bangladesh Air Force

The origin of Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) dates back to 1920 in British India when local activists and politicians demanded for inclusion of local people in the Royal Air Force because some members of Indian Royal Flying Core had earned name and fame in the 1st World War. The demand eventually got its shape in 1932 when first Indian Air Force came into being on 08 October of that year. But until 1939 the Royal Air force hardly made any progress. Even during the 2nd World War period there was hardly any scope for training in the Bangladesh portion of the then sub-continent. However, airports were constructed in Comilla, Feni, Patenga, Cox痴 Bazar and in few other places hastily. The only recruiting centre for this area was in Narayangonj.
During 1951-52 the first fighter squadron of Pakistan was organized anew. It was commanded by Abdur Rahim Khan who became the Chief of Air Staff of Pakistan Air Force during 1969-71. Bengali PAF/AF officer Flight Lieutenant Tawab was the Flight Commander of that squadron who later became Chief of Air Staff of independent Bangladesh in 1975. Of the Bengali pilots Flying Officer Alam died in plane crash in 1956. He Left behind his contemporary Flying Officer A K Khandker who later played an active role in our historic War of Independence. He was Deputy to the Commander in Chief General Osmany at the Bangladesh Interim Government HQ; he also present during the surrender of Pakistan at the Race Course Maidan (Now Suhrawardy Uddan) on 16 December 1971. After independence A K Khandker became the first Chief of Air Staff of Bangladesh Air Force (BAF).
From 1947 to 1971 the Bengali nation had to struggle through the lives of myriad of people. The Bengali officers of the then Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had their name and sacrifice as well. Even during the Indo-Pak War in 1965, there were many glories of victory achieved by Shaheed (martyr) Squadron Leader Alam, Wing Commander Tawab, Flight Lieutenant Saiful Azam and many others of them Flight lieutenant (later on Group Captain) Saiful Azam became an ace fighter pilot. He showed success in three different countries in dog fight during real war. He became the only fighter pilot in the world who was awarded with state title by three different countries viz, Pakistan (Sitara-e-Jurat), Jordan (Hossam-e-Istiqlal) and Iraq (North S Suja). He proved his worthwhileness to such an extent that he was allowed to command a fighter squadron of Pakistan Air Force as a Flight Lieutenant which was supposed to be commanded by a Wing Commander. These officers had some praiseworthy airmen. One of them was Shaheed (martyr) Sergeant Zahurul Haque. He was a Ground Combat Instructor (GCI), a trade well known for conducting drill. Even such an airman had concern for his motherland. He was an accused in historic Agartala Conspiracy Case, obviously a historic plot to liberate the country. He succumbed to his injuries following constant torture on 15 February 1969. Bangladesh Air Force has recognized the contribution of this great airman since an important base of BAF (BAF Base Zahurul Haque) has been named in his name. Even the recognition has crossed the purview of BAF since a dormitory of Dhaka University has also been named after him.
The glorious War of Independence took place in 1971. From the motivated drive of patristic zeal, a good number of Bengali officers and airmen including technicians renounced their previous services and joined the Liberation War to expedite victory. It was largely possible due to the sincerity of those members who established the Air Wing of the Liberation War on 28 September 1971 at Dimapur of Nagaland, India. The air wing possessed a scanty inventory of one DC-3 airplane, one Otter airplane and one Alluette helicopter. The patriotic pilots and technicians of the nascent Bangladesh Air Force formed a flying unit named, Kilo Flight , under the able guidance of the then Squadron Leader Sultan Mahmud who later became Air Vice Marshal and Chief of Air Staff. However, the pilots of the historic Kilo Flight made successful sorties to launch successful air attacks on a number of targets in Chittagong and Narayangonj. It was during the Liberation War that another great son of the soil, Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman sacrificed his life for his motherland. His sacrifice was not an ordinary one since it is difficult for a family man to endanger his life. It was not a fluke either. He not only sacrificed his life, but the happiness of his family life as well. While fleeing Pakistan with a T-33 aircraft to join the glorious Liberation War, he died at Thatta, a few kilometers away from the Indian border where his aircraft crashed. The heroic attempt has been rewarded by both BAF and the nation as well. The most important officers training base of BAF in Jessore has been named after him (BAF Base Matiur Rahman) and the nation has awarded him the highest state title, Beershrestha Besides these great personalities, out of many, two more officers of BAF are worth mentioning, the two sector commanders. They are the then Squadron Leader Khademul Bashar who later became Air Vice Marshal and Chief of Air Staff and another officer is the then Squadron Leader Hamidullah who later became Wing Commander.
Since independence, BAF underwent massive modification and expansion. Concentration has been given on both air power and air defense. Bases, Units and outposts have been established at different suitable places. As a mark of improvement, many foreign trainees both at officers and airmen levels underwent training in BAF. As a mark of recognition, Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) received National Colours in 1980 by the then honorable President of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. Later Bangladesh Air Force Academy (BAFA) received National colours in 2003 by the then honorable Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. Even the Recruits Training School (RTS) has been awarded with 腺AF Colours by an ex Chief of Air Staff in 2004.
In aid to civil power, BAF always responded in the best possible way. Bangladesh Air Force performed tremendously during deluge like flood in 1988 and after a devastating cyclonic storm in Chittagong in 1991. It performed election duties quite successfully in 2001 Parliamentary Election. The organization also responded well in international requirements like after earthquake in Gujrat, India in 2001; after Tsunami in Sri Lanka and the Maldives in 2004 and after earthquake in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan in 2005. It has responded to the call of United Nations by serving under its umbrella in 17 different war-torn countries of the world.

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Legislative Branch

In 1978 upon urgence of the public need and national interest President Ziaur Rahman used his persistent optimism and activism to renew the national spirit and convinced Hamidullah to opt for retirement from career military service and switch to public life in the legislative branch of Bangladesh government, albeit to continue on with public service. Hamidullah resigned his commission and retired from Bangladesh Air Force and while on Leave Prepatory to Retirement(LPR) he joined the Bangladesh Nationalist Party on September 1978.

With a sense of serene hesitancy, assured authority and boundless energy Hamidullah set out with the president on national campaigns around the country and spent much of his time traveling with the president. preached the politics of hope and unity, continuously urged all Bangladeshis to work harder in their endeavors and to produce more. Hamidullah was nominated for a parliamentary seat from his hometown Dhaka-5 (Bikrampur). In the general elections that followed thereafter on 18 February 1979, Hamidullah won against Mr. Qurban Ali of Awami League by an unprecedented mandate and was sworn in as an elected member in the 2nd Bangladesh Parliament.

In the 3rd and 4th Bangladesh Parliament elections held on 7th May 1986 and 3rd March 1988 respectively refused to negotiate or participate in protest as they deemed it farce and undemocratic. The party this time with Khaleda Zia at the helm accused the government of hijacking the electoral process and held it fully responsible for the absence of due process resulting in mass political unrest and social disorder.

In the subsequent years that followed, more mistrust among the government and the people brewed. Towards 1990 the sitting government had politically lost track, and a sudden twist of incidents sparked a national anger that spread rapidly throughout the country finally bringing about mass uprising for change, and the government resigned. All party talks were held with the acting president and the nation prepared for the 5th Parliamentary elections under a caretaker government, which was duely held on 27 February 1991. Hamidullah with the party's ticket again secured an overwhelming majority.

The country set out on a new course, both political and economic. Hamidullah voted for the historic 12th constitutional amendment bill that was passed in the Jatiya Sangsad (parliament) on 6 August 1991 to reintroduce the more balanced parliamentary form of government in place of the presidential. He made every effort to spearhead the governments public programmes in his district, mainly in the education sector. This included introduction of free and compulsory primary education, tuition-free education for girls up to higher secondary level, stipend for female students and the Food for Education programme. Hamidullah dedicated his efforts in the government's tree plantation programme throughout his district, which needless to say was a nationwide social movement.

Under a personal endeavor, Hamidullah initiated the set up of a private college for females in his hometown and named it Medini Mondal Girls College. He secured funds for infrastructure development, mainly for roads connecting to Dhaka-Mawa national highway and access to local government offices and upgradation of public services such as more telephone lines, electricity and postal services. Emergency relief materials for the poor in need remained a priority throughout his tenure.

Towards the end of his term Hamidullah had to endure strong negative publicity from within his district party apparatus and from the party leadership due to highly irresponsible acts from members of his own family. Among them the principal one being the print media attack through the radical left wing newspaper The Daily Janakantha, owned solely by Hamidullah's youngest brother, which viciously and hypocritically attacked the , wrote against the very existence of it, and went exremely critical of its principle members, policies and acts, all committed in the name of the free press. It was a sad irony in a sense, printing mercilessly against a party which is recognised in history of press media in Bangladesh for establishing and promoting a free press, in Bangladesh. While the establishing and printing of the Daily Janakantha cruised through all red tape in concerned ministries and agencies for its first publication in all the five major divisions simultaneously in less then one year, an almost overnight accomplishment, it was mainly due to an all out assistance from Hamidullah to his brother, with the clear party nod of from the top, the chairwoman and sitting Prime Minister.

It was a political disaster for Hamidullah and for the party. Hamidullah bore the brunt of the entire party establishment, he was the sacrificial lamb and the benefactors were countless. It is worth mentioning for the sake of political history, that as a clear consequence, a certain political party received a blessing in disguise, a tremendously powerful political boost, like a rebirth. It was a new beginning, needless to mention that historians will judge the consequences and twists the country embarked upon politically and socially along with justifications. It gave tacit birth to a new form of politics and a new generation of social movement. It sparked a movement, a kind of sacrifice the entire nation had to endure, and atleast overtly an abusive and treacherous one.

After completion of the 5th parliament, the 6th Parliament elections rolled in and were held on 15th February 1996. However, the 6th Parliament did not hold long as the main opposition party wanted elections to be held under a caretaker government. An amendment to the Bangladesh Constitution was passed and the 6th Parliament was dissolved. Elections for the 7th Parliament was held on 12 June 1996 under a caretaker government. Hamidullah did not receive his party's nomination and refrained from fighting for it either.

He immediately switched allegience and joined the Awami League. He was welcomed with great fanfare by the party leadership. Without cashing in while the iron was hot he went into seclusion, and soon realised a different reality was in awaiting. So he backtracked, remained silent and out of sight and within a year an oppurtunity fell in and Hamidullah returned to . As general elections were nearing Hamidullah got active again and started campaigning. Again it was a repitition of fate or the past. He was overlooked and sidelined during the nominating process for the 8th parliament and denied the nomination to his old seat he successfully held three times before. It was held on 1st October 2001.

After an absence of almost an age he was recalled to the party and won the nomination for a seat from the Dhaka metropolis for the 9th Parliament in the general elections due to be held on December 29th 2008. A flawed election that was designed ensuring a total Awami League victory, Hamidullah was narrowly defeated by an indicted criminal

Bangladesh Government

He served in different positions in Bangladesh Government throughout his active life. Hamidullah served as chairman of Bangladesh Post Graduate Medical Research Centre (1979-1982), Bangladesh Freedom Fighters Welfare Trust (1993-1996), Janata Bank (1995-1996). The previous eight parliament elections in Bangladesh were held on the:

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Career High Lights

India-Pakistan Conflict 1965 Bangladesh War of Independence 1971 -Chakulia Guerilla Training Camp - Chief Training Coordinator -Participant at the Sector Commanders Conference -Sector 11 - Mankarchar Sub-Sector Commander -Sector 11 - Commander 1975 Soldier Uprising Crisis JAL Flight 472[In late autumn of 1970, Awards won - Sitara-i-Harb and Tamgha-i-Jang 1965 Bir Protik 1972 Flight Lieutenant M. Hamidullah Khan PAF, was transferred to Pakistan Eastern Zone as Air Force Assistant Provost Marshall with command of No.5 P and S Unit(Independent) and as Director of Security of Tejgaon International Airport, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He was later promoted to Squadron Leader. Directorates served in were Bangladesh Air Force, Headquarters, Dhaka Cantonment; Intelligence and Security; Air Education and Training. Also held the position of Chief of Air Force Security (Provost Marshall) and Director Air Intelligence.

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