Rahimuddin Khan

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Rahimuddin Khan
Khan in 1983
7th Governor of Balochistan
In office
18 September 1978 – 22 March 1984
Preceded byKhuda Bakhsh Marri
Succeeded byFarooq Shaukat Lodhi
16th Governor of Sindh
In office
24 June 1988 – 11 September 1988
Chief MinisterAkhtar Ali Kazi
Preceded byAshraf Wali Tabani
Succeeded byQadeeruddin Ahmed
Personal details
Born(1926-07-21)21 July 1926
Kaimganj, United Provinces, British India (present-day Uttar Pradesh, India)
Died22 August 2022(2022-08-22) (aged 96)
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Alma mater
Military service
Branch/service Pakistan Army
Years of service1947–1987
Rank General
UnitBaloch Regiment

Rahimuddin Khan (21 July 1926 – 22 August 2022) was a general of the Pakistan Army who served as the 4th Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee from 1984 to 1987, after serving as the 7th governor of Balochistan from 1978 to 1984.[1] He also served as the 16th governor of Sindh in 1988.[2]

Opting for Pakistan during the Partition, Rahimuddin enrolled as the first cadet of the Pakistan Military Academy. He was part of military action during the 1953 Punjab disturbances, and later commanded 111 Brigade in Rawalpindi and II Corps in Multan. As Chairman Joint Chiefs, he rejected the future military plan for the Kargil Conflict.[3]

As the longest-serving governor of Balochistan, Rahimuddin declared a general amnesty and ended all military operations in the province.[4] His tenure saw widespread development, including the opening of Sui gas fields to Quetta,[5] the construction of nuclear test sites in Chaghai, and the halting of the Baloch insurgency.[6][7] He was credited with financial honesty,[8] but suppressed mujahideen entering the province during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

Khan refused an extension of service as chairman joint chiefs, retiring in 1987.

Early life and family[edit]

Khan as major in 1965

Rahimuddin Khan was born on 21 July 1926,[8] in Kaimganj, United Provinces, British India, to an ethnic Pashtun (Afridi) family, that had ancestry from Kohat and Tirah.[9] He was the nephew of educationist Zakir Husain, later the President of India, and the son-in-law of Husain's brother, Pakistan Movement figure and member of the first Constituent Assembly Mahmud Husain.[10]

He attended Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi, founded by Zakir Husain.

He opted for Pakistan during independence in 1947, enrolling as Gentleman Cadet-1 of the Pakistan Military Academy.[11]

Military service[edit]

As a captain, Rahimuddin was part of the military operation under Azam Khan during the 1953 Lahore riots. He attended Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and Command and Staff College in Quetta in 1965, and was posted to Hyderabad in 1969. He served as inaugural commander of 111 Brigade in Rawalpindi in 1970. Rahimuddin served as Chief Instructor at the Armed Forces War College at the then National Defence College, Rawalpindi, until 1975. Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto requested Rahimuddin to head the new Atomic Energy Commission and nuclear programme, but was declined.[12][13] As lieutenant-general, he became Commander II Corps in Multan[14] in 1976. He was made Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee by General Zia-ul-Haq on 22 March 1984, a position he served in till 29 March 1987.[15]

Rejection of Kargil plan[edit]

As Chairman Joint Chiefs, Rahimuddin was asked to approve the military plan for an offensive in Kargil, Kashmir, in 1986.[3] The plan was authored by Commander I Corps. Both Rahimuddin and Air Chief Marshal Jamal A. Khan rejected it as untenable, citing the harsh conditions, strategy, and concurrent conflict with the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.[3] The plan was later approved by General Pervez Musharraf, leading to the Kargil war in 1998.[16]

Extension refusal[edit]

Rahimuddin declined an extension of service at superannuation, and retired in 1987. After his retirement on time, Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo rejected Zia's proposal of extension for Vice Chief of Staff General KM Arif, embarrassing Zia.[17] Arif was replaced by Mirza Aslam Beg as Vice Chief.

Governor of Balochistan[edit]

End of operation and withdrawal[edit]

A military operation against separatists was commenced in Balochistan by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto led by army chief Tikka Khan in 1973, claiming thousands of lives.[18] Rahimuddin was appointed Governor of Balochistan on 16 September 1978. He declared an end to the operation, and announced a general amnesty for fighters willing to give up arms. Army withdrawal was completed by 1979. The Baloch separatist movement came to a standstill.[19][20] Under Rahimuddin, the Foreign Policy Centre held that "the province's tribal sardars were taken out of the pale of politics for the first time."[21] He was known for a clean reputation during corrupt regimes.[22]


Rahimuddin opened the Sui gas field to provide gas directly to Quetta and other Baloch towns for the first time. Electricity expansion from Quetta to Loralai converted vast areas with sub-soil water into fertile ones.[23] He also consolidated the then-contentious integration of Gwadar into Balochistan, notified as a district in 1977. Despite opposition from finance minister Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Rahimuddin heavily promoted large-scale manufacturing and investment in infrastructure, leading to provincial GDP growth rising to the highest in Balochistan's history.[24] Addressing the province's literacy rate, the lowest in the country, he administered the freeing up of resources towards education, created girls' incentive programs, and had several girls' schools built in Dera Bugti District.[25] He also oversaw the construction of nuclear test sites in Chaghai where tests were conducted in 1998.[8]

Al-Zulfikar hijacking[edit]

In March 1981, the militant group Al-Zulfikar, led by Murtaza Bhutto, hijacked a Pakistan International Airlines airplane from Karachi to Kabul,[26] and shot and killed passenger Captain Tariq Rahim, mistakenly believing him to be the son of General Rahimuddin Khan.[27][28] The decision to kill Rahim was taken after Murtaza Bhutto consulted KHAD chief Mohammad Najibullah.[29][30]

Governor of Sindh[edit]

Zia dismissed his own government in May 1988. Khan became civilian Governor of Sindh, and governor's rule was imposed after citing emergency.[31] Claiming corruption, Khan began dismissing large numbers of police and civil servants.[32][33] Khan also launched a brutal police crackdown on land mafia, one of the widest ever in Karachi, criticized by both PPP and the Zia regime for its heavy-handed tactics. It was stopped by the government immediately after he resigned. He moved to create separate police forces for the city and the rural areas, but this was also resisted after his resignation for fears of complicating the Sindhi-Muhajir relationship.[34] Special riot control officers were trained to cope with ethnic riots, and river and forest police were also set up to battle dacoity.[35] Ghulam Ishaq Khan became acting President after Zia's death in an aircrash on 17 August, and reintroduced the Chief Minister of Sindh office. Khan resigned in response to the attempt to limit his gubernatorial powers.[36]

Post-retirement, he promoted his former chief of staff Asif Nawaz for appointment as Chief of Army Staff.[37]


Khan died on 22 August 2022, in Lahore, Pakistan, at the age of 96.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Former Governors of Balochistan". governorbalochistan.gov.pk. Archived from the original on 8 June 2022. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Former Governors – Islamic Republic of Pakistan". Archived from the original on 27 June 2022. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Zehra, Nasim (17 May 2018). From Kargil to the Coup: Events That Shook Pakistan. Sang-e-Meel Publications. ISBN 9789693531374.
  4. ^ "Historical sequence". Dawn. 16 December 2012. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  5. ^ Sehgal, Ikram. "Of Empire and Army: A Historical Understanding of Balochistan". Newsline. Archived from the original on 15 November 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  6. ^ Balochis of Pakistan: On the Margins of History. United Kingdom: Foreign Policy Centre. 2006. p. 75. ISBN 978-1-905833-08-5.
  7. ^ "Tribal Politics in Balochistan 1947–1990" Conclusion (1990) p.6
  8. ^ a b c d "Balochistan peacemaker Rahimuddin Khan passes away". The News International. Jang Media Group. 23 August 2022. Archived from the original on 23 August 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  9. ^ Faruqi, Ziaul Hasan (1999). Zakir Husain: Quest for Truth. Arrow Publishing. p. 76.
  10. ^ Khurshid, Salman (2014). At Home In India: The Muslim Saga. Hay House India.
  11. ^ Bavadam, Lyla Bavadam (2008). "Brothers in Arms". Archived from the original on 25 February 2021. Retrieved 27 May 2009. The cadets who left for Pakistan formed the First Course of the PMA. Gentleman Cadet No. 391 at the IMA, who became Cadet No. 1 at the PMA, and also honer of P.A(Pakistan Army) No 1, Rahim Uddin Khan, rose to the rank of General and became Joint Chief of Staff in Pakistan and, later, Governor of one of the provinces.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  12. ^ Maulana Kausar Niazi The Last Days of Premier Bhutto p. 60 Archived 18 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Maulana Kausar Niazi The Last Days of Premier Bhutto p. 61 Archived 18 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Arif, Khalid Mahmud (1995). Working with Zia. Oxford University Press. p. 224. ISBN 0-19-577570-8. Lieutenant-General Rahimuddin Khan kept the governor's post in addition to commanding 2 Corps virtually in absentia. Its headquarters was located in the distant city of Multan.
  15. ^ "Gen Zubair – 17th Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee". www.thenews.com.pk. Archived from the original on 18 May 2022. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  16. ^ Anand, Vinod (October 1999). "India's Military Response to the Kargil Aggression". Strategic Analysis. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  17. ^ Arif, K. M (2001). Khaki shadows: Pakistan 1947–1997. Karachi: Oxford University Press. p. 211. ISBN 978-0-19-579396-3. OCLC 47870022. Archived from the original on 18 May 2022. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  18. ^ Marri, Balach Marri (2002). "A History of Oppression". Archived from the original on 24 March 2003. Retrieved 14 August 2002. Mr Bhutto didn't wait long and ordered the army to move into the interior of Balochistan and then dismissed the Governments both in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan ... thousands of people were killed in those army operations, which continued for 5 years. Thousands were rendered homeless...
  19. ^ Foreign Policy Centre, "On the Margins of History", (2008), p. 36
  20. ^ "Newsline: A History of the Baloch Separatist Movement". Iaoj.wordpress.com. 17 June 2009. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  21. ^ Foreign Policy Centre "On the Margins of History" p. 30
  22. ^ "Balochistan's history- Baloch Unity Organization". Balochunity.org. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  23. ^ "Tribal Politics in Balochistan 1947–1990" Conclusion (1990) p. 8
  24. ^ "Welcome to World Bank Intranet". message.worldbank.org. Archived from the original on 17 May 2022. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  25. ^ "Balochistan home to lowest-literacy rate population in Pakistan". Daily Times. 12 June 2007. Archived from the original on 3 February 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2009. Balochistan is home to the largest number of school buildings that are falling apart. It also has the fewest educational institutions, the lowest literacy rate among both males and females.
  26. ^ "9/11 START| Terrorist Organization Profile: Al-Zulfikar". Archived from the original on 6 June 2010.
  27. ^ "Hijackings". History of PIA. Archived from the original on 20 July 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  28. ^ Anwar, The Terrorist Prince, (1997), p.121
  29. ^ Anwar, The Terrorist Prince, (1997), p.106
  30. ^ Anwar, The Terrorist Prince (1997), p.123
  31. ^ "The Far East and Central Asia" (2003) Regional Surveys of the World p. 1166
  32. ^ Cowasjee, Ardeshir (13 February 2005). "Karachi's woes". DAWN.COM. Archived from the original on 15 November 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  33. ^ Ardeshir Cowasjee (2005). "Who can say? What?". Archived from the original on 15 December 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2007. The Bishop persisted. In July 1988, he asked Governor Rahimuddin for the plot, categorically stating that he did not intend to construct a building thereon but would use it as an open playground. The authorities held their ground.
  34. ^ "Near East and South Asia- U.S. Department of Commerce (1999) p.35" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  35. ^ "Near East and South Asia- U.S. Department of Commerce (1999) p.36" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  36. ^ Najam, Adil Najam (2006). "Ghulam Ishaq Khan Dead". Archived from the original on 21 August 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2006. Khan's presidency also saw the resignation of General Rahimuddin Khan from the post of Governor of Sindh, due to differences between the two after Khan started restricting Rahimuddin's vast amount of legislative power.
  37. ^ Shuja Nawaz (2007). Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army and the Wars Within.
Political offices
Preceded by
Khuda Bakhsh Marri
Governor of Balochistan
Succeeded by
Farooq Shaukat Khan Lodi
Preceded by Governor of Sindh
Succeeded by
Military offices
Preceded by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee
Succeeded by