Ataur Rahman Khan

Ataur Rahman Khan (Bengali: আতাউর রহমান খান; 6 March 1905 – 7 December 1991) was a Bangladeshi lawyer, politician and writer, and served as Chief Minister of East Pakistan from 1956–1958, and as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh from 30 March 1984 to 1 January 1985.[1] He is noted for being the only Bangladeshi to have served as premier in both pre and post independent Bangladesh

Ataur Rahman Khan
আতাউর রহমান খান
5th Prime Minister of Bangladesh
In office
30 March 1984 – 9 July 1986
PresidentHossain Mohammad Ershad
Preceded byShah Azizur Rahman
Succeeded byMizanur Rahman Chowdhury
5th Chief Minister of East Bengal
In office
GovernorAmiruddin Ahmad
Preceded byAbu Hussain Sarkar
Succeeded byAbu Hussain Sarkar
Personal details
Born(1905-03-06)6 March 1905
Balia, Bengal Presidency, British India
(now Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Died7 December 1991(1991-12-07) (aged 86)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Political partyJatiya Party (1984–1991)
Other political
All-India Muslim League (Before 1949)
Awami League (1949–1984)
Alma materJagannath University
University of Dhaka

Early lifeEdit

Ataur Rahman Khan was born in 1905 at Balia village in Dhamrai thana of Dhaka district. He passed his matriculation examination from Pogose School in Dhaka in 1924, FA examination from Jagannath College in 1927, and obtained BA (Hons) degree from the Dhaka University in 1930. Having obtained B.L degree in 1936 from the Dhaka University he joined the Dhaka District bar in 1937. Ataur Rahman Khan joined the judicial service as a munseef in 1942, but after two years left the job to return to the bar (1944).

Political careerEdit

Ataur Rahman Khan began his career in politics as an activist of the Krishak Praja Samiti. He was secretary of the Dhaka district unit of the party in 1934-35 AD. He joined the Muslim League in 1944, and was a member of the Dhaka district committee and vice president of the Manikganj sub-divisional unit committee of the party.

Floating the Awami Muslim LeagueEdit

Ataur Rahman had played a substantial role in floating the Awami Muslim League in 1949, and had been the vice president of the party since its inception till 1964. As a member of the Sarbadaliya Rastrabhasa Karma-parisad he played a vital role in piloting the language movement of 1952, and was later elected Convenor of the reconstituted working committee in March 1952.

United FrontEdit

Ataur Rahman Khan was the joint secretary of the United Front formed for launching the 1954 general elections. He was elected a member of the East Bengal Legislative Assembly as a nominee of the Front. He was a member of the provincial cabinet of Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq in charge of the ministry of civil supplies. He was elected a member of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly in 1955. He was simultaneously the leader of the opposition parliamentary party in the provincial assembly (1955–56) and the deputy leader of the opposition parliamentary party in the constituent assembly.

Chief Minister of East PakistanEdit

Ataur Rahman Khan became the Chief Minister of East Pakistan in 1956 and continued to hold this position till the promulgation of martial law in the country in 1958. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a minister in his cabinet. As one of the leaders of National Democratic Front (NDF) formed under the leadership of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy in 1962 he played a vital role in the movement for the restoration of democracy in the country. He was elected president of the Dhaka High Court Bar Association in 1969 and a member of the bar council in 1970.

Floating the Jatiya LeagueEdit

Ataur Rahman Khan floated a new political party styled as Jatiya League in 1969, and was elected its president. During the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 he was arrested by the Pakistan occupation army, and was however released in September after confinement for five months. Ataur Rahman was elected a member of the Jatiyo Sangsad in 1973. He joined the Bangladesh Krishak-Sramik Awami League (BAKSAL) in 1975, and was made a member of its central committee. After the fall of BAKSAL, Ataur Rahman revived his party Jatiya League in 1976. He was elected a member of the Jatiya Sangsad in 1979. Under his leadership the Jatiya League as a member of the seven party alliance took active part in the movement against the military rule of General Hussain Muhammad Ershad.

Prime Minister of BangladeshEdit

He eventually joined the cabinet of General Ershad with the belief that by being part of the government he would be able to direct it towards a more democratic agenda. He was made the Prime Minister in 1984 which office he held till 1 January 1985, when he resigned citing irreconcilable differences with General Ershad's style of administration.


Ataur Rahman Khan has authored a number of books most noted of which are Ojarotir Dui Bochhor (1963), Shoiracharer Dosh Bochhor (1969), Prodhan-Montritter Noi Maash (1987), and Oboruddhor Noi Maash (1990).


Ataur Rahman Khan died in Dhaka on 7 December 1991 at the age of 86 and is buried beside Parliament.


  1. ^ Khan, Muazzam Hussain (2012). "Khan, Ataur Rahman". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
Political offices
Preceded by
Shah Azizur Rahman
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Succeeded by
Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
New Office
Chairperson of SAARC
Succeeded by
Rajiv Gandhi