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Khaled Mosharraf, Bir Uttom (Bengali: খালেদ মোশাররফ) (born 9 November 1937 – died 7 November 1975) was a Bangladeshi military officer who played a heroic role in the Bangladesh Liberation war. He was arguably the most valiant of the military leaders of Bangladesh War of Independence. Khaled was the Sector Commander of Bangladesh Forces Sector 2 and K Force (Bangladesh) Brigade Commander during the Bangladesh War of Independence. He fought heroically for Bangladesh's independence and was wounded in front line combat against the Pakistan Army. Under his command K-Force played a crucial role in the unconditional surrender of the Pakistani Army on 16 December 1971.[1] On 23 October, while commanding an operation of the K-Force, Khaled Mosharraf was mortally wounded by enemy fire and required a long period of recovery. [2] Although he suffered a bullet injury, he recovered and remained in command of Bangladesh Forces Sector 2. He is best known as an exceptional combatant who had planned and carried out guerrilla warfare from deep within the jungles of Melaghar.[3] More than thirty five thousand guerilla fighters fought under Khaled's command in sector 2. Following independence, he was raised to the rank of Major General– the highest rank in the army at that time –and appointed Chief of Army Staff. He was awarded Bir Uttam for his gallantry actions during the war. Mosharraf led 3 November 1975 Bangladesh coup d'état against the Mushtaq Administration who had conspired and seized power in Bangladesh in 1975 post the assassination of Bangladesh President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,[4] but during the military uprising on 7 November, he was himself overthrown and assassinated.[5][6][7]

Khaled Mosharraf
Khaled Mosharraf.jpg
Born9 November 1937
Jamalpur, British India (now Bangladesh)
Died7 November 1975(1975-11-07) (aged 38)
Allegiance Bangladesh
 Pakistan (before 1971)
Service/branch
Years of service
RankMajor general
UnitEast Bengal Regiment
Commands held
Battles/warsIndo-Pakistani War of 1965
Bangladesh War of Independence
AwardsBir Uttom
Spouse(s)Salma Khaled
ChildrenMahjabeen Khaled
Ammereen Khaled
Taireen Khaled
RelationsRashed Mosharraf brother
Other workCoup of 3 November 1975

Early life and army careerEdit

Khaled Mosharraf was born in the village of Mosharraf Ganj in Islampur, Jamalpur District, of the province of Bengal, British India (now in Bangladesh). He was born on 9 November 1937 at village Mosharrafganj in Islampur upazila of Jamalpur district, to Mosharraf Hossain and Jamila Akhter. His father was a jute merchant, Khaled's hometown Moshharrafganj was named after his father. He moved to stay with his maternal uncle SR khan, who was serving as C&B Engineer in Cox’s Bazar. He passed the matriculation examination from Cox's Bazar Government High School[8] in 1953. He got admission in Dhaka College from where he started his journey as political activist during that time. Khaled Mosharraf was often described as an incredibly brilliant student with excellent oratory skill. As a young student he was active in political event of the then East Pakistan the language movement of 1952. He was elected one of the panel secretary of Dhaka CollegeAwami League. Graduating from the Dhaka College in 1955, he joined the Pakistan Army. He became adjutant of the 4th Bengal regiment during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. He served as an instructor at the military academy and obtained an advanced degree from the Command and Staff College in Quetta. He was trained in West Germany and the United Kingdom before becoming commander of the 4th Bengal Regiment during the Bangladesh Liberation War.[9]

Bangladesh Forces Commander in the War of IndependenceEdit

After 25 February 1971, the Pakistan Army occupied the capital, Dhaka, and the rest of the country and carried out brutal 1971 Bangladesh Genocide. Major Mosharraf was appointed commanding officer of the 4th battalion of East Bengal Regiment in Comilla Cantonment on 24 March 1971. Of all three Brigade Commanders Khaled Mosharraf was the one who most accurately assessed the psychological aspect of the war. Khaled decided to adopt a two-pronged, mutually reinforcing strategy to fight Pakistan Army and he was successful on both counts. He led his brigade in mutiny following the declaration of independence on behalf of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman 26 March 1971.[10] As early as the last week of March, Khaled contacted Rehman Sobhan to convince the political leadership that a Government is formed with immediate effect, and to formally commission Mukti Bahini as the Army of Independent Bangladesh. [11] As Khaled felt without a Government and commission, Mukti Bahini would be considered illegitimate rebels or terrorists in the eyes of the law and Pakistan Government could take advantage of that situation. Khaled’s request had been duly inscribed in the declaration by Tajuddin Ahmad.[12] Later the ‘legally constituted’ in this oath of freedom fighters was also commanded by Khaled.[13] On the evening of 26 March, he announced, "From this moment on, I pledge allegiance to sovereign Bangla. From this day, we have no loyalties to Pakistan. Raise the flags of independent Bangla." He merged his unit into a guerrillaforce and later served as one of its leading commanders.[14]

In the article “Khaled Musharraf, Bir Uttam - The Commander” the author wrote:

Khaled had set the trend and had a strategy to fight against the Pakistan Junta. He was the instrument to bring the Revolted Bengali Army Officers together in one table to fight out the right cause of Bengali population. It was Khaled's decision that made the Bangladesh Forces of the Liberation War a formidable, sustainable and independent force within its own enclave of Bangladesh territory. Due to this the pride, strength, position and authority of the government-in-exile made it possible to have mutual respect from the Indian authorities and the Indian Defense Forces.[15]

Khaled Mosharraf successfully led The Crack Platoon, a guerrilla unit in Sector 2.[16] The first guerrilla operation of Crack Platoon was carried out in Dhaka on June 9, 1971.[17] Khaled raised this special guerrilla force composed of the students of the city’s major educational institutions, young professionals, and political activists of Dhaka. Under Khaled's leadership Crack Platoon carried out number of heroic operations in the Pakistan Army occupied capital and around Dhaka. Bombs were exploded and major Power stations were blown up.[18] From June 1971 onwards, these guerrilla units started launching attacks one after the other on different establishments in the city including Intercontinental Hotel Dhaka and USIS Building using hit-and-run tactics.[19] The occupying Pakistan army failed to organise any auxiliary force in support of its occupation in Dhaka.[20][21]

Khaled mosharraf played a key role in the historical meeting of Teliapara.[22] The meeting was attended by M. A. G. Osmani, Major Ziaur Rahman, Major K M Shafiullah, Major Shafayat Jamil, and Major Kazi Nuruzzaman and few other officers of Revolted Bengal Regiment. Major Khaled’s role was instrumental to make Bangladesh Forces of the Liberation War a formidable and sustainable and few officer who were presentbat the historic Telipara meeting acknowledged the fact that Khaled Mosharraf had set the trend and planned strategy to fight against the Pakistan Army[23] It was decided The whole area of East Pakistan would be divided into 11 sectors with the direction of regular forces consisted of the three forces: Z Force (Bangladesh) under the command of Major Ziaur Rahman, K Force (Bangladesh) under Khaled Mosharraf and S Force (Bangladesh) under K M Shafiullah.[24]

Khaled built the largest training center and operations headquarters for Bangladesh's freedom fighters in Melaghar, Tripura in 1971. He was determined not give the occupying Pakistan Army in Dhaka a moment's relief. Sector No. 2’s daring campaigns covered a vast territory including Dhaka, Comilla, Noakhali, Madaripur and Shariatpur.

While the War was ongoing, the K Force (Bangladesh) was created under his leadership.[25] Under his command, the valiant fighters of the Crack Platoon and K Force (Bangladesh) led one audacious operation after another and constantly routed the Pakistani army.[26] Due to the properly strategised operations of this sector the Dhaka-Chittagong highway in between was denied to the Pakistanis throughout the nine months of war of liberation and stretched Pakistan Army's supply lines, which made it exceptionally difficult for Pak Junta to conduct counterinsurgency measures inside Bangladesh.[27] Khaled merged his unit into a guerrilla force and later served as one of its leading commanders. Guerrilla fighter Shafi Imam Rumi took training for the war in Melaghar, Agartala under Sector-2, supervised by Mosharraf and Abu Taher Mohammad Haider.[28] After his training, he came to Dhaka to join the Crack Platoon, a group that conducted major guerrilla operations against the Pakistan Army. His major target was to bomb the Siddhirganj Power Station.[29] Khaled and his forces didn’t rest after targeting structures inside the capital, he was determined to hamper the Pakistan Army’s supply line, hence, he devised strategies to destroy bridges and culverts across Bangladesh.

At the end of June 1971, Shahadat Chowdhury and Habibul Alam came to Rumi's ( Son of Jahanara Imam ) father Sharif's house with a letter from Khaled Mosharraf.[30] Khaled asked for information on bridges and culverts of Bangladesh to hamper the Pakistani occupation army's movement. Khaled sent letter asking the experts and engineers for a detailed informations to identify the structural weaknesses in each bridge, and also on the exact points where to set explosives so that the bridge will be damaged, but also so that it can be repaired easily after the country is liberated.[31]

In the book “Bullets of 1971” author wrote, “khaled revolted against the Pakistan authority in Brahmanbaria where he was stationed at that time. He led the Bengali soldiers under his command out of the pakistani cantonment and ambushed a Pakistani convoy going to Chittagong. Major khaled's troop destroyed the enemy convoy. The damage to the enemy was unprecedented. In retaliation pakistan authority sent a larger continent under the command of a Major General to capture Khaled dead or alive. Major khaled fought ferociously against the enemy with limited resources. However, once again, the Pakistani Army suffered heavy damages at Major khaled Mossharraf's hands and the enemy was forced to retreat.[32][33] After the battle Pakistan High Command acknowledged the bravery of Major khaled Mosharrof and admitted, " We have trained Major Khaled so well that even a Major General wasn't enough to defeat him."[34]Khaled Mosharraf was also held in high esteem by his Freedom Fighter colleagues who fought under him during the liberation war. Freedom fighter Habibul Alam, Bir Pratik in his book "Brave of Hearts" writes:

During my meeting with General Khaled Mosharraf, I found him smart, polite and highly articulate. He was not afraid to call a spade a spade and did not mince his words while describing the attitude and conduct of leaders both of India and Bangladesh. He spoke in a straightforward manner of the differences in views and opinions between some Indian military leaders and the Bangladesh army of liberation.[35]

Following the Bangladesh War of Independence and the establishment of an independent Bangladesh, Mosharraf was appointed as the staff officer to the HQ of the new Bangladesh Army in Dhaka. In 1973 after attaining the rank of brigadier, he was appointed to the post of Chief of General Staff. He was also awarded the military honor Bir Uttom for gallantry by the independent government of Bangladesh in 1972.[36]

Coup of 1975Edit

It was a time people of Bangladesh were still reeling from the shock of losing Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Following the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the country's president, on 15 August 1975, a new government composing of anti-Mujib political elements was formed under Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad.[37] Mushtaq Ahmad immediately took control of the situation, proclaiming himself as President. Major General Ziaur Rahman was appointed as Chief of Army Staff of the Bangladesh Army, replacing K M Shafiullah.[38]Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad praised those derailed military officials (killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) calling them shurjo shontan (sons of the sun).[39] These disgruntled officers who killed Sheikh Mujibur Rahman captured the Bangabhaban (president's official residence) and started dictating the President,[40] causing extreme chaos in barely four year old Nation. Khaled Mosharraf who was the Chief of General staff of Bangladesh Army, had asked Ziaur Rahman for the chain of command in Bangladesh Army to be restored which had been rudely interrupted 15 August. But the Chief of Army Staff (Bangladesh) General Ziaur Rahman, did not display the slightest ability or intention or both to act against the killers.[41][42] Ahmed also ordered 4 national leaders (former Vice-President Syed Nazrul Islam, former Prime Minister of Bangladesh Tajuddin Ahmed and Captain (Rtd.) Mansur Ali, and former Home Minister A H M Quamruzzaman to be put behind the bar as they declined to support the "illegitimate government" and eventually killed just ahead of a counter-coup that ousted the August plotters.[43] The prosecution evidence suggested Mushtaq himself had ordered the assassins entry inside the prison to kill the four leaders.[44]khondaker Mostaq Ahmad even issued the Indemnity Ordinance, which gave immunity from prosecution to the killers of Mujib, later the ordinance was passed by Ziaur Rahman.[45] Outraged at Mujib's killing and the protection of his killers, khaled Mosharraf mobilized pro-Mujib army units with Colonel Shafaat Jamil of 46 Brigade to overthrow Ahmad's regime on 3 November.[46] His main motive was to bring back the chain-of-command in the Bangladesh Army, and to achieve that Khaled Mosharraf decided to stop these killers residing inside the Bangabhaban and staged a coup d'état among the Army.[47] On 3 November 1975, under his order, the Bangladesh Army brought an end to the illegal rule of Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad. Khaled Mosharraf freed Bangabhaban from the evil occupation of the killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. According to his order the Chief of Military Staff of the Bangladesh Army Major General Ziaur Rahman was put under house arrest.[48]

After he had Ziaur Rahman and other members of the government arrested and khaled took charge as Chief of Army Staff. [49] Mosharraf installed Justice Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem as president.[50] It is said that, "To all intents and purposes, Khaled was certainly on the right track in creating the conditions that would free the country of the usurpers who had been in charge since mid-August 1975.But, then, his strategy went wrong in the matter of sustaining his coup." [51][52] After assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman no one could get into the street to protest. A procession was brought out from Dhaka University area to Bangabandhu’s Dhanmondi Residence to pay homage to Bangabandhu. Khaled’s mother and brother Rashed Mosharraf had led a commemorative procession to Mujib's family residence without his knowledge.[53] However, a mutiny on 7 November consisting of left-wing non-enlisted personnel in the army, organized and led by the radical left wing JSD leader Abu Taher,[54] resulted in the assassination of Mosharraf.[55] Describing the 7 November Mutiny Captain Sachin Karmakar in The Daily Observer (Bangladesh) wrote:

Had the nation not encountered a day like November 7, we would have got a war veteran and political visionary like Khaled Mosharraf to lead the country towards a stable and sustainable growth, we would not have to see the turmoil hindering the country's progress. As it appears, we are too reluctant to unearth the truth, to identify those whose debt we are unable to pay back and figure out those who opened up black chapters in the nation's history. Not all the wrongs can be righted, nor can the time bygone be restored.

[56]

As recorded by history, 7 November 1975 Bangladesh coup d'état was launched by left winger Colonel Abu Taher.Katsiaficas, George (2013). Asia's unknown uprisings. Oakland, Calif.: PM. p. 270. ISBN 978-1-60486-488-5.</ref He organized the soldiers loyal to him to free Ziaur Rahman who had been put under House Arrest. Some jawans from the Bengal Lancers and 2 Field Artillery came over to urge the 10th East Bengal troops to join the mutiny. The trouble seems to have spread rapidly. Pro Abu Taher forces broke the military armoury to loot stockpiles weapons and boarded military trucks in order to take control of all the key installations points (KIP) around the city. A contingent of soldier went in military chief's residence in Dhaka Cantonment and freed Ziaur Rahman from house arrest. [57] Khaled Mosharraf and Lieutenant Colonel A.T.M Haider tried to resist the coup, but it became impossible as pro Zia forces arrayed against him and they were spreading the lie that he was an Indian/Russian agent. [58]

As soon as Ziaur Rahman was free they were killed by pro Ziaur-Taher officers. Major Jalil and Major Assad pull their guns on three 1971 Liberation War heroes - General Khaled, Colonel Hayder and Colonel K.N Huda in a coup .[59][60]

AssassinationEdit

On 6 November 1975, Major General Mosharraf, with two others fellow officers, Colonel Najmul Huda and Colonel A.T.M. Haider, went to 10th East Bengal Regiment.[61] Next morning, i.e., on 7 November 1975, at 11 am, under order of an officer from the 2nd Field Regiment Artillery (rumoured to be Lieutenant Colonel Mohiuddin Ahmed, later executed on 28 January 2010 for killing Sheikh Mujibur Rahman), Captain Asad and Captain Jalil of the 10th East Bengal Regiment shot and killed Mosharraf and his two fellow officers.[62] Ironically, both Asad and Jalil fought in K force under Mosharraf during the Bangladesh Liberation War, and Mosharraf had once saved Asad's life while risking his own. Mosharraf's body was left under a date tree inside cantonment for a certain time. This cruel and dastardly killing of Major General Khaled Mosharraf changed the course of the Bangladesh’s fate forever.[63][64]

Personal lifeEdit

Khaled Mosharraf was survived by his wife Salma Khaled and three daughters Mahjabeen, Ammereen and Taireen.[65] His eldest daughter Mahjabeen Khaled was a Member of Parliament (MP) from her ancestral area of Islampur Upazila in Jamalpur District of Mymensingh Division.[66] She also served as a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.[67][68] Mahjabeen Khaled is also the Chairperson of Khaled Mosharraf Trust. Khaled’s brother Rashed Mosharraf was the President of Bangladesh Krishak League. Rashed Mosharraf was elected to the parliament from his Jamalpur constituency six times and served as a minister of state.[69][70]

ReferencesEdit

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Preceded by
Major General Ziaur Rahman
Chief of Army Staff, Bangladesh
3–7 November 1975
Succeeded by
Major General Ziaur Rahman