Shahid Karimullah

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Shahid Karimullah
US Navy 040721-N-2383B-066 Adm. Shahid Karimullah, Chief of Naval Staff, Pakistan Navy is presented the Legion of Merit from Adm. Vern Clark, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO).jpg
Admiral Karimullah, center, presented with the Legion of Merit by U.S. CNO Admiral Vern Clark, ca. 2004
Pakistan Ambassador to the Saudi Arabia
In office
29 January 2005 – 21 March 2009
Chief of Naval Staff
In office
3 October 2002 – 6 October 2005
Preceded byAdm. Abdul Aziz Mirza
Succeeded byAdm. Afzal Tahir
Personal details
Shahid Karimullah

(1948-02-14) 14 February 1948 (age 75)
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Citizenship Pakistan
Alma materNaval War College
National Defence University
Military service
Allegiance Pakistan
Branch/serviceNaval Jack of Pakistan.svg Pakistan Navy
Years of service1965–2005
RankAdmiral Pakistan Navy Insignia.JPG Admiral
(S/No. PN 1126)
UnitNaval Operations Branch
CommandsCommander Pakistan Fleet
25th Destroyer Squadron
DCNS (Operations)
Chief Instructor at NDU Islamabad
ACNS (Personnel)
Battles/warsIndo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

Indo-Pakistani standoff in 2001
War on Terror

AwardsNishan-e-Imtiaz.png Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military)
Hilal-e-Imtiaz.png Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military)
Sitara-e-Jurat.png Sitara-e-Jurat
Sitara-e-Imtiaz.png Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Military)
Order of King Abdulaziz, 1st Class (Saudi Arabia).png Order of King Abdulaziz
US Legion of Merit Commander ribbon.png Legion of Merit
Turkish Armed Forces Medal of Merit.png Turkish Legion of Merit
Legion of Honour - Grand Officer (France).png Legion d'honneur
The Gallant Order of Military Service - Courageous Commander (Malaysia).svg Order of Military Service

Admiral Shahid Karimullah NI(M) HI(M) SJ SI(M) LoM LoH PGAT BJSN (Urdu: شاهد كريم الله; b. 14 February 1948) was a Pakistan Navy officer who served as the Chief of Naval Staff from 2002 until 2005.

Prior to that, he also served as the Pakistan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 2005 until retiring from the foreign service in 2009.


Early life and naval career[edit]

Shahid Karimullah was born in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan on 14 February 1948 to an Urdu-speaking family who belongs to Hyderabad Deccan in India but migrated to Pakistan following partition of British Indian in 1947.[1] He comes from a military family and his father, Lieutenant-Commander Muhammad Karimullah also served in the Royal Indian Navy and later the Pakistan Navy.[2]

After graduating from a local high school in 1963, he was admitted and studied at the famed D. J. Science College before joining the Pakistan Navy in October 1965.[3] He was trained at the Pakistan Military Academy but later sent to United Kingdom to attend the Royal Navy's HMS Mercury where he graduated with a communication courses and gained military commission as a Midshipman in the Navy in October 1968.[4] His S/ No. was 1126 issued by the Defence ministry and later promoted as Sub-Lieutenant in the Navy in 1971.[5][3]

In 1971, he was stationed in East Pakistan and took participation in violent civil war, followed by the war with India in East.[3] He was promoted as Lieutenant and served as commanding officer of gunboat, participating in various operations against the Indian Army and Mukti Bahini.[3] After the surrender of Eastern Command was announced, he was subsequently taken war prisoner and was seriously wounded.[3] His gallantry actions won him the Sitara-e-Jurat which was given to him in 1972, following his repatriation.[3] It took him 2 years for his full recovery before resuming his military service.[3]

After the war, he became engage with his studies and went to the Newport in Rhode Island, United States to attend the Naval War College.[6] He graduated from the Naval War College in master's degree in War studies and later attended the National Defence University where he graduated with another master's degree in the international relations degree.[6]

Command and staff appointments[edit]

In the 1980s, he served as an aide-de-camp to Chairman Joint chiefs Admiral Mohammad Shariff and former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karamat Rahman Niazi.[2] In 1995–96, he was promoted as Commodore and took over the command of the 25th Destroyer Squadron as its Flag Officer Commanding (FOC).[6] He also served as Directing Staff in the War studies faculty at the National Defence University in Islamabad.[2]

In 1997, Commodore Karimullah was posted as Director Signals but later posted for a one-star staff assignment at the Navy NHQ in Islamabad.: xxi [7]

Commodore Karimullah was appointed as ACNS (Personnel) but later posted as DCNS (Operations) under Admiral Fasih Bokhari– the Chief of Naval Staff.: xxi [7] After Admiral Admiral Bokhari resigned, he was promoted as Rear-Admiral and continued to serve as DCNS (Operations) in 1999.: xxi [7][6] In 2000–01, he was promoted as Vice-Admiral and took over the command of Pakistan Fleet as its fleet commander.[6]

Chief of Naval Staff[edit]

In 2002, Vice-Admiral Karimullah was appointed Chief of Naval Staff and was promoted to four-star admiral in the Navy before taking the post.[6] Admiral Karimullah superseded two senior naval officers, Vice-Admiral Taj Khattak, the Vice Chief of Naval Staff (VCNS), and Vice-Admiral G.Z. Malik, the commander of Submarine fleet– both officers were much senior to him.: xxx [7] During this time, he engaged in talks with the Chinese Navy for a technology transfer of building the modern warships in Karachi.[8]

As a response to the Agni-I missile test in 2002, Admiral Karimullah began advocating for acquiring the nuclear navy capability but denied of deploying nuclear arsenals on the Agosta 90B submarines.[9] Admiral Karimullah ambiguously left the option open and quoted to news media that it would do so only if "forced to."[9]

In 2003, Admiral Karimullah again secretly pushed for the second strike capability in the government but publicly reiterated on the issue of nuclear weapons and announced that while no such immediate plans really existed, but he did stressed on the fact Pakistan would not hesitate to take such steps if it felt so compelled.[10] He remained concerns of expansion of Indian Navy in the region and continued his secret push for acquiring of the modern weapon systems for the Navy.[11]

In 2004, he successfully negotiated with the U.S. Navy to induct the Navy in the combined maritime force to provide cooperation in regional maritime and security affair.[11] Admiral Shahid Karimullah was notably bypassed by President Pervez Musharraf for the chairmanship for the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee in October 2004.[12] Admiral Karimullah was the most senior-most four-star rank officer in the Pakistani military and was controversially superseded by the junior-most army general, Lieutenant-General Ehsan ul Haq.[12]

In 2005, he began pushing and vigorously lobbying in the government for the extension of Pakistan's seaborne border from 200 to 350 nautical miles for which the claim is to be submitted by May 2009 in accordance with provisions of UN Conventions on Laws of Seas of 1982.[13] It was in 2015 when the borders were extended which pushed Pakistan's area of sea border to 50,000 square kilometres.[14][15]

Admiral Karimullah retired from the Navy in 2005 and handed over the command of the Navy to Admiral Afzal Tahir who also superseded Vice-Admiral Mohammad Haroon by President Musharraf.[7]

Ambassador to Saudi Arabia[edit]

Having by-passed as Chairman joint chiefs post, President Musharraf announced to appoint Admiral Karimullah for a diplomatic post and appointed him as Pakistan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.[16] In 2009, he left the post once completing his tenure and returned to Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan.[17]

Honors and post retirement[edit]

Admiral Karimullah is a recipient of Nishan-e-Imtiaz (military), Sitara-i-Imtiaz (military), and Hilal-i-Imtiaz (military)that were decorated to him during his military service.[6]

He was also decorated with the Legion of Merit by the United States, presented to him by US Navy's CNO Admiral Vern Clark in 2004.[18] In 2005, he was conferred with French Legion d'Honneur for promoting Pakistan-Franco naval collaboration in various fields at different posts he held during his service career, including induction of French submarines and aircraft in Pakistan Navy.[19]

On 21 September 2005, Admiral Karimullah was awarded with the Honorary Malaysian Armed Forces Order for Valor award as a Gallant Commander in acknowledgment of his long meritorious services.[20]

After retiring from the foreign service, he apparently joined the "Progress", a public service think tank, and serves on its advisory board.[21] He also remained chairman of Karachi Council on Foreign Relations for some time.[22]

About the Fall of Dhaka in 1971, Admiral Karimullah reportedly was of the view that: History is there to earn lessons from but unfortunately this did not happening in Pakistan".[22] He also remained associate with the Bahria University in Karachi and reportedly maintained in favor of CPEC developmental projects in the country.[23]

Awards and decorations[edit]



(Order of Excellence)



(Crescent of Excellence)


(Star of Courage)




(Star of Excellence)

Sitara-e-Harb 1971 War

(War Star 1971)

Tamgha-e-Jang 1965 War

(War Medal 1965)

Tamgha-e-Jang 1971 War

(War Medal 1971)


(Nuclear Test Medal)


Tamgha-e-Istaqlal Pakistan

(Escalation with India Medal)


10 Years Service Medal
20 Years Service Medal 30 Years Service Medal 35 Years Service Medal 40 Years Service Medal
Tamgha-e-Sad Saala Jashan-e-


(100th Birth Anniversary of

Muhammad Ali Jinnah)


Hijri Tamgha

(Hijri Medal)


Jamhuriat Tamgha

(Democracy Medal)


Qarardad-e-Pakistan Tamgha

(Resolution Day

Golden Jubilee Medal)


Tamgha-e-Salgirah Pakistan

(Independence Day

Golden Jubilee Medal)


Abu Dhabi Defence Forces

Service Medal



Order of King Abdul Aziz

(Saudi Arabia)

The Legion of Merit[18]

(Degree of Commander)

(United States)


Turkish Legion of Merit


Legion of Honour

Grand Officer Class[19]



The Order of Military Service

Courageous Commander[20]



Bintang Jalasena Utama


Foreign Decorations[edit]

Foreign Awards
 UAE Abu Dhabi Defence Forces Service Medal
 Saudi Arabia Order of King Abdul Aziz (4th Class)
 United States The Legion of Merit (Degree of Commander)[18]
 Turkey Turkish Legion of Merit
 France The Legion of Honour (Grand Officer Class)[19]
 Malaysia The Order of Military Service (Courageous Commander)[20]
 Indonesia Bintang Jalasena Utama

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Shahid Karimullah – Biographical Summaries of Notable People – MyHeritage". Shahid Karimullah – Biographical Summaries of Notable People – MyHeritage. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Obaid, CEO (4 October 2002). "Shahid Karimullah Appointed New Chief Of Navel Staff". No. 2. Pakistani defence, 2002. Pakistani defence. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Shahid Karimullah. "Shahid Karimullah". Shahid Karimullah. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Foreign Affairs Pakistan". Pakistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2006. Pakistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 3 (1–2). 1 January 2006. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  5. ^ "List of Gallantry Awardees – PN Officers/CPOs/Sailors « PakDef Military Consortium". Archived from the original on 10 August 2017. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Staff correspondent (4 October 2002). "New navy chief named". DAWN.COM. Islamabad, Pakistan: Dawn Newspapers, 2002. Dawn Newspapers. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e Anwar, PN, Commdore Dr. Muhammad (2005). Stolen Stripes and Broken Medals: Autobiography of a Senior Naval Officer. MD, U.S.: Author House. ISBN 9781467010566. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  8. ^ Staff writer, Reporters (13 November 2002). "Pakistan to acquire Chinese battleships". Tribune India. No. 1`. Tribune India, 2002. Tribune India. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  9. ^ a b NTI Pakistan, NTI Pakistan. "Pakistan Submarine Capabilities". NTI Pakistan. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  10. ^ Rehman, Iskander. "Murky Waters: Naval Nuclear Dynamics in the Indian Ocean". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Navy to join US-led coalition plan: Admiral Shahid". Dawn Newspapers. 17 April 2004. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  12. ^ a b "New JCSC chief, VCOAS appointed". Dawn newspapers. 3 October 2004. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  13. ^ War Correspondents; et al. (2 August 2005). "Navy seeks extension of continental shelf". Dawn Newspapers. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Pakistan seabed territory grows by 50,000 square kilometres". DAWN.COM. 21 March 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Musharraf drags former Pakistani top guns into trial". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  16. ^ staff writer, (29 January 2006). "Karimullah Is Named New Pak Ambassador". Arab News. Arab News, 2006. Arab News. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Dogar may be named ambassador to Saudi Arabia". DAWN.COM. Dawn newspaper, 2009. Dawn newspaper, 2009. 21 March 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  18. ^ a b c Bivera, U. S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Johnny (21 July 2004), English: Washington, D.C. (July 21, 2004) - Adm. Shahid Karimullah, Chief of Naval Staff, Pakistan Navy is presented the Legion of Merit from Adm. Vern Clark, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), for his steadfast support of American-Pakistan cooperation in regional maritime and security affairs, and demonstrated superb resolve and unwavering dedication to the Global War on terrorism. Adm. Karimullah was given a full honors welcome ceremony at Luetze Park, Washington Navy Yard on behalf of his official visit to the United States. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Johnny Bivera. (RELEASED), retrieved 2 April 2022
  19. ^ a b c "Navy, Air chiefs receive highest French award". No. 1. Dawn Newspapers. 14 July 2005. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  20. ^ a b c "Shahid Karimullah conferred with Malaysian gallant commander award". Paktribune. Pakistan Tribune, 2005. Pakistan Tribune. 21 September 2005. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  21. ^ "Advisory Council". Progress Secretariat. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  22. ^ a b Khan, Amanullah (17 December 2016). "India played dirty in Bangladesh's creation". Pakistan Observer. Pakistan Observer, 2016. Pakistan Observer. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  23. ^ "CPEC to have far-reaching implications for maritime trade". Retrieved 10 January 2017.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by Chief of Naval Staff
Succeeded by