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Tikka Khan

Tikka Khan

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General Tikka Khan, HJ, HQA, SPk, (Punjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

, ; July 7, 1915 - March 28, 2002) was a senior four-star general in the Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

 who served as the first Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

 from 3 March 1972 to 1 March 1976. Before his four-star assignment, Khan was a Martial Law Administrator
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 of erstwhile East-Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

 (later, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

). He succeeded Brigadier-General Mitty Masud, and assumed the command of Eastern Military High Command
Evolution of Pakistan Eastern Command plan
The Eastern Military High Command of the Pakistan Armed Forces was a field-level military command headed by an appointed senior 3-star officer, who was designated the Unified Commander of the Eastern Military High Command...

 on March 26, 1971. As a Commander of Eastern Command, (then) Lieutenant-General Tikka Khan was the architect and top planner of Operation Searchlight
Operation Searchlight
Operation Searchlight was a planned military operation carried out by the Pakistan Army to curb the Bengali nationalist movement in the erstwhile East Pakistan in March 1971. Ordered by the central government in West Pakistan, this was seen as the sequel to "Operation Blitz" which had been...

. He was internationally called the Butcher of Bengal for his ruthlessness against separatists in what became Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

.

Early life and education


General Tikka Khan was born in a Narma Rajput family in the village of Jochha Mamdot in Kahuta Tehsil
Kahuta Tehsil
Kahuta Tehsil is one of the seven Tehsils of Rawalpindi District in the Punjab province of Pakistan. The neighbouring Tehsil of Kotli Sattian used to be part of Kahuta, but was later created as a separate tehsil.-History:...

 near Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi , locally known as Pindi, is a city in the Pothohar region of Pakistan near Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad, in the province of Punjab. Rawalpindi is the fourth largest city in Pakistan after Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad...

, in 1915 (in what was then British India). He was a graduate of the Indian Military Academy
Indian Military Academy
The Indian Military Academy, Dehradun is the officer training school of the Indian Army. IMA was established in 1932.-Demands for an Indian military training academy:...

 at Dehradun
Dehradun
- Geography :The Dehradun district has various types of physical geography from Himalayan mountains to Plains. Raiwala is the lowest point at 315 meters above sea level, and the highest points are within the Tiuni hills, rising to 3700 m above sea level...

, and was commissioned on 22 December 1940.

World War II and British Army Career


He fought in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 as part of the Indian Army
British Indian Army
The British Indian Army, officially simply the Indian Army, was the principal army of the British Raj in India before the partition of India in 1947...

. After his return from World War II, Khan was an instructor at the Indian Military Academy at Dehradun for some time. During the independence, Major Tikka Khan remained in what is now Pakistan, and became an officer in the Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

.

Career with Pakistan Army


After Independence, he served in only one Artillery Regiment of Royal Pakistan Artillery, where he raised and commanded the first post partition Medium Regiment of Royal Pakistan Artillery, i.e., 12 Medium Regiment Artillery.

He was promoted to the rank of Major General
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 in 1962.

Between the wars


Tikka Khan was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General in August 1969. He was then posted as commander IV Corps
IV Corps (Pakistan)
The IV Corps is one of military administrative corps of Pakistan Army. Having established in 1965 after the Indo-Pakistani September War, it is currently stationed in Lahore, Punjab Province of Pakistan. Its current core commander is Lieutenant-General Rashad Mahmood.-History:The corps was formed...

 at Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

, where he stayed till March 1971. By virtue of Yahya Khan
Yahya Khan
General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan Qizilbash, H.Pk, HJ, S.Pk, psc was the third President of Pakistan from 1969 to 1971, following the resignation of Ayub Khan...

's martial law, Tikka Khan was also the Martial Law Administrator, Zone A (West Pakistan
West Pakistan
West Pakistan , common name West-Pakistan , in the period between its establishment on 22 November 1955 to disintegration on December 16, 1971. This period, during which, Pakistan was divided, ended when East-Pakistan was disintegrated and succeeded to become which is now what is known as Bangladesh...

). He had replaced Lt Gen Attiqur Rahman as the MLA and left the post to Lt Gen Bahadur Sher in March 1971. Lahore's Fortess Stadium was constructed under General Tikka Khan's tenure as corps commander.

Tikka Khan left for Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

 in March 1971, where he was to take charge as the commander of the Eastern Command, Martial Law Administrator, Zone B (East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

), and Governor of East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

.

1965 Pak-India war


Tikka Khan was a Major-General at that time and was posted at Sialkot
Sialkot
Sialkot is a city in Pakistan situated in the north-east of the Punjab province at the foothills of snow-covered peaks of Kashmir near the Chenab river. It is the capital of Sialkot District. The city is about north-west of Lahore and only a few kilometers from Indian-controlled Jammu.The...

.

1971 Crisis and Bangladesh War


The 1970 elections in East Pakistan and West Pakistan resulted in a situation where Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a Bengali nationalist politician and the founder of Bangladesh. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh and later became its Prime Minister. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh and later became its...

's Awami League won 160 of the 162 seats in East Pakistan, whereas Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party
Pakistan Peoples Party
The Pakistan Peoples Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International. Pakistan People's Party is the largest political party of Pakistan...

 (PPP) won 81 seats out of 138 in West Pakistan. Although, as the leader of the majority party, Mujib was supposed to be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, Bhutto was not ready to accept and refused to sit in the National Assembly as opposition party. General Yahya Khan, President of Pakistan, influenced by Bhutto to keep the Bengalis from rising to power, postponed the National Assembly session. Mujib, in a public rally in Dhaka on March 7, called upon the Bengalis to launch movement against the Pakistan regime. In this circumstance, Tikka was sent out to put down the unrest swelling in East Pakistan. Tikka took over Eastern Command (equivalent to a reinforced Corps) on 7 March 1971 after the previous commander Lt Gen Sahabzada Yaqub Khan
Sahabzada Yaqub Khan
Lieutenant-General Sahabzada Yaqub Ali Khan is a retired 3 star rank general in the Pakistan Army who the was the international face of Pakistan for three decades. He served as Foreign Minister of Pakistan from 1982 to 1991 during the dying days of Cold War and then caretaker Foreign Minister...

 resigned. Tikka directed the brutal military crackdown (officially known as Operation Searchlight
Operation Searchlight
Operation Searchlight was a planned military operation carried out by the Pakistan Army to curb the Bengali nationalist movement in the erstwhile East Pakistan in March 1971. Ordered by the central government in West Pakistan, this was seen as the sequel to "Operation Blitz" which had been...

) on 25 March with the help of Major General Rao Forman Ali and other Army generals that stunned the Bengalis with gross violence, attrocities and massive human rights abuse.

He was the leading commander of the II Corps responsible for the defence on the Western front of the War in 1971. After a brief stay in East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

, he was then posted as the first commander II Corps at Multan and commanded through the actual Indo-Pakistan conflict
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military conflict between India and Pakistan. Indian, Bangladeshi and international sources consider the beginning of the war to be Operation Chengiz Khan, Pakistan's December 3, 1971 pre-emptive strike on 11 Indian airbases...

 in December 1971.

Post retirement


Tikka Khan’s tenure ended in March 1976, and he was later appointed Defence Minister
Defence minister
A defence minister is a person in a cabinet position in charge of a Ministry of Defence, which regulates the armed forces in some sovereign nations...

 by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq , was the 4th Chief Martial Law Administrator and the sixth President of Pakistan from July 1977 to his death in August 1988...

's July 1977 coup led to the arrest of both Bhutto and General Tikka Khan. Bhutto was executed in 1979, after which General Tikka Khan emerged as one of the leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party
Pakistan Peoples Party
The Pakistan Peoples Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International. Pakistan People's Party is the largest political party of Pakistan...

 (PPP), becoming its Secretary General, during a time when many party stalwarts abandoned it.

General Tikka was imprisoned numerous times for his political activities during the late 1970s and 1980s, until Zia-ul-Haq died in August 1988 in an airplane explosion over Bahawalpur
Bahawalpur
Bahawalpur , located in the province of Punjab, is the twelfth largest city in Pakistan. The city was once the capital of the former princely state of Bahawalpur. The city was home to various Nawabs and counted as part of the Rajputana states...

. Despite Tikka's political inclinations, many of Tikka's army proteges such as Sawar Khan
Sawar Khan
General Mohammad Sawar Khan, NI is an ex-four-star general of the Pakistan Army who was the Governor of the largest province, Punjab and the Vice Chief of Army Staff during the era of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq when Zia was simultaneously the chief of army staff and the President of...

, Iqbal Khan and Rahimuddin Khan
Rahimuddin Khan
Rahimuddin Khan Afridi is a retired four-star general of the Pakistan Army who was the fourth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee from 1984 to 1987. He was also the longest-serving Governor and martial law administrator of Balochistan, from 1978 to when he resigned in 1984...

 were promoted to Full General and remained on deferential terms with him. General Tikka Khan was appointed the Governor of Pakistan’s largest province, the Punjab
Punjab (Pakistan)
Punjab is the most populous province of Pakistan, with approximately 45% of the country's total population. Forming most of the Punjab region, the province is bordered by Kashmir to the north-east, the Indian states of Punjab and Rajasthan to the east, the Pakistani province of Sindh to the...

, in December 1988. His tenure as the Governor was cut short by the dismissal of the Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto was a democratic socialist who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996....

 government in August 1990, after which he retired from active politics.

Later life and death


General Tikka Khan died on March 28, 2002 after several years of illness. He received a state burial with full military honors and his funeral was attended by thousands of people, including the entire top brass of the Pakistan Army. In a message to the General's son, Col. Khalid M. Khan, Benazir Bhutto, who had spent many years campaigning with the General, remembered him as a person who, "rose to the highest offices of this country due to his hard work and respect for the rule of law."

See also

  • Operation Searchlight
    Operation Searchlight
    Operation Searchlight was a planned military operation carried out by the Pakistan Army to curb the Bengali nationalist movement in the erstwhile East Pakistan in March 1971. Ordered by the central government in West Pakistan, this was seen as the sequel to "Operation Blitz" which had been...

  • Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
    Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
    General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq , was the 4th Chief Martial Law Administrator and the sixth President of Pakistan from July 1977 to his death in August 1988...

  • Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
  • Sawar Khan
    Sawar Khan
    General Mohammad Sawar Khan, NI is an ex-four-star general of the Pakistan Army who was the Governor of the largest province, Punjab and the Vice Chief of Army Staff during the era of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq when Zia was simultaneously the chief of army staff and the President of...

  • Rahimuddin Khan
    Rahimuddin Khan
    Rahimuddin Khan Afridi is a retired four-star general of the Pakistan Army who was the fourth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee from 1984 to 1987. He was also the longest-serving Governor and martial law administrator of Balochistan, from 1978 to when he resigned in 1984...

  • Benazir Bhutto
    Benazir Bhutto
    Benazir Bhutto was a democratic socialist who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996....

  • The Blood telegram
    Archer Blood
    Archer Kent Blood was an American diplomat in Bangladesh. He served as the last American Consul General to Dhaka, East Pakistan. He is famous for sending the strongly worded Blood telegram protesting against the atrocities committed in the Bangladesh Liberation War.-Biography:Archer Blood was...


Further reading


Zaheer, Hasan: The separation of East Pakistan : The rise and realization of Bengali Muslim nationalism, Oxford University Press, 1994.

Sisson, Richard & Rose, Leo: War and secession : Pakistan, India, and the creation of Bangladesh, University of California Press (Berkeley), 1990.

Matinuddin, General Kamal: Tragedy of Errors : East Pakistan Crisis, 1968-1971, Wajidalis, Lahore, Pakistan, 1994.

Salik, Siddiq: Witness to surrender, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan, 1977.

External links



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