Sahabzada Yaqub Khan
|Yaqub Ali Khan|
صاحبزادہ یعقوب خان;
|Foreign Minister of Pakistan|
11 November 1996 – 24 February 1997
|Prime Minister||Moin Qureshi|
|Preceded by||Asif Ahmad Ali|
|Succeeded by||Gohar Ayub|
21 March 1982 – 20 March 1991
Ghulam Ishaq Khan (1988–91)
|Preceded by||Agha Shahi|
|Succeeded by||Abdul Sattar|
|Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara|
23 March 1992 – August 1995
|Preceded by||Johannes Manz|
|Succeeded by||Erik Jensen|
|Pakistan Ambassador to the United States|
19 December 1973 – 3 January 1979
|Prime Minister||Zulfikar Ali Bhutto|
|Preceded by||Syed Mohammad Khan|
|Succeeded by||Syed Mohammad Khan|
|Governor of East-Pakistan|
7 March 1971 – 6 April 1971
|Prime Minister||Nurul Amin|
|Preceded by||VAdm Syed Mohammad Ahsan|
|Succeeded by||Lt.Gen Tikka Khan|
23 August 1969 – 1 September 1969
|Preceded by||MGen Muzzafaruddin|
|Succeeded by||VAdm S.M. Ahsan|
Mohammad Yaqub Ali Khan|
23 December 1920
Rampur, Uttar-Pradesh, British Indian Empire
26 January 2016 (aged 95)|
British Subject (1920–1947)|
Pakistan Peoples Party|
Rashtriya Indian Military College|
Indian Military Academy
Command and Staff College
British Indian Army (1940–1947)|
|Years of service||1940–1971|
|Unit||18th Cavalry, Armoured Corps|
Eastern Military Command, East Pakistan|
1st Armoured Division, Armoured Corps
Command and Staff College
Chief of General Staff
World War II|
Siege of Tobruk
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Bangladesh Liberation War
|S/No.||PA – 136|
Sahabzada Yaqub Ali Khan (Urdu: صاحبزادہ یعقوب خان; born 23 December 1920 – 26 January 2016) SPk, was a Pakistani statesman, diplomat, military figure, pacifist, linguist, and a retired three-star rank army general in the Pakistan Army.
Born into an Indian nobility, he was educated in England and at the Indian Military College at Dehradun, then the Indian Military Academy and served during World War II as an officer in the 18th K. E. O. Cavalry Regiment of the British Indian Army. After the Partition of India in 1947, he opted for Pakistan and joined Pakistan Army where he participated in the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965. He was the Chief of General Staff of East Pakistani military and eventually appointed its commander in 1967. He was appointed as Governor of East Pakistan in 1969 and 1971 but recalled to Pakistan after submitting resignation amid civil unrest. In 1973, he joined the Foreign Service and was appointed as Pakistan Ambassador to the United States and later ascended as Foreign Minister, serving under President Zia-ul-Haq in 1982.
His stint as Foreign Minister played a major role in Soviet intervention in Afghanistan (1979–89) and took part in negotiations to end the Contras in Nicaragua (1981–87) on the behalf of the United Nations. In the 1990s, he served as an official of the United Nations for Western Sahara until reappointed as Foreign Minister under Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. After retiring from diplomatic services in 1997, he spent his remaining years in Islamabad and died in Islamabad in 2016.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Foreign service
- 3 Post-retirement and death
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Youth and World war II
Mohammad Yaqub Ali Khan was born into an aristocrat Royal Indian family in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, British Indian Empire on 23 December 1920. The title, Sahabzada (lit. Young Prince), is an honorific bestowed to him to represent the Indian royalty. He was of the Afghan descent and was an ethnically a Pashtun who belonged to a Yousafzai tribe.
His father, Sir Abdus Samad Khan was an aristocrat and politician who served as chief minister of Rampur, and as British India's representative to the League of Nations. His ancestral roots traced back to Mirza Ghalib who was appointed teacher of Nawab of Rampur in 1857, who travelled to Rampur twice, in 1860 and 1865.
He was educated at the Rashtriya Indian Military College at Dehradun, then the Indian Military Academy and gained a commission in British Indian Army in 1940 and attached to the 18th King Edward's Own Cavalry.
In his military career he saw action during World War II and served in the North African Campaign where was attached to 18th King Edward's Own Cavalry from April 1942. He was taken POW in North Africa in May 1942. In September 1943 he escaped from the Italian Prisoner of War camp P. G. 91 in Avezzano (with two other Indian officers) and was out for four to five months attempting to move south to Allied lines, but they were subsequently re-captured by German forces who put him a Prisoner of War camp in Germany till April 1945 when he was released by the U.S. Army soldiers. During his time in German custody, he learnt languages by interacting with fellow prisoners and reading literature in those languages.
Upon returning to India in 1945, he was selected as an adjutant to Field Marshal Lord Wavell with an army rank of Major. After hearing the news of partition of India and creation of Pakistan, he decided to opt for Pakistan, and initially was selected as Aide-de-camp to the Muhammad Ali Jinnah– the first Governor-General of Pakistan. It was then-Lieutenant S.M. Ahsan who was made the ADC at the behest of Lord Mountbatten, and Yaqub was appointed as commandant of the Governor-General's bodyguard for the first Governor-General which he led until 1948. In the period 1948–49, he attended the short but brief one-year course at the Command and Staff College at Quetta and graduated with a staff officer's degree.
In 1951, he served in the Military Intelligence (MI) as Lieutenant-Colonel, and directed initiatives to analytical branch of the ISI for the whereabouts of the Indian Army but he reportedly struggled with providing factual intelligence that was provided to ISI.:27–28
Staff and war appointments:1960–69
In 1958, he was appointed as the vice Chief of General Staff at the Army GHQ and later becoming the Commandant of the Command and Staff College in Quetta in 1960. In 1960 he was promoted as Major-General and commanded the 1st Armoured Division of Armoured Corps and was said to have a portrait of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in his office. As an armored commander, he arranged a course on philosophy on the Panzer doctrine to educate the armoured division on the tank battles and strategies.
He participated in the war against India in 1965, having command his 1st Armoured Division. He helped develop the operational planning of the armoured vehicular warfare deployments against the Indian Army advances in Punjab and presented his views at the Army GHQ.:22–23 Soon after, he was appointed as Director-General Military Operations (DGMO) by General Musa Khan and directed all formats of ground operations during the 1965 war against India.
East Pakistan: military advisor and governorship (1969–71)
In 1969, Major-General Yaqub Khan was posted in East Pakistan as the deputy chief of staff Eastern Command in Dacca by President Yahya Khan and helped evaluate the command rotation of the Eastern military.:359 Soon, he was promoted as the Lieutenant-General and was immediately appointed as Governor of East Pakistan where he began learning the Bengali language and became accustomed to Bengali culture.:24 His first tenure was short lived and was succeeded by Vice-Admiral Syed Mohammad Ahsan who approved his appointment as the senior military adviser to the East Pakistan Army and eventually becoming the Chief of General Staff of the East-Pakistani military.:110 He was highly respected by the East Pakistani military officers due to his stance and professionalism and was said to be very well liked and respected in the East.
He was known to be an unusual military officer who knew very well of "limits of force",:62 and did not believe in the use of brute force to settle political disputes. In 1969–71, he worked together with Admiral Ahsan in advising the Yahya administration in an effort to resolve the situation and restricted strictly on the proposal of usage of military force in the province.
At the cabinet meeting, he was often fierce and strictly resisted the usage of military option but was respected in the military due to his understanding of Bengali issues whose colleague often labeled him as "Bingos." In 1970, he notably coordinated the relief operations when the disastrous cyclone had hit the state and gained prestige for his efforts in the country.:114
In 1971, he participated in the area contingency and fact-finding mission, which was known as the Ahsan–Yaqub Mission, to resolve the political deadlock between East Pakistan and Pakistan as both men argued that "military measures would not change the political situations".:69–71
In March 1971, he became aware of the rumors of "usage of military force" and sent desperate military signals to President Yahya Khan in Islamabad for a halt to the military solution.:225–226 After the resignation of Admiral Ahsan, he was ordered to use the military force against the civil agitation led by the Awami League but refused to take this order and tendered his resignation to be posted back to Pakistan.:71 His resignation came in the light of resisting the military orders and fiercely maintained the President Yahya that "military solution was not acceptable".:225–226
Commenting on the situation, Yaqub maintained that: "[President] Yahya was also keen to impose the "open sword" martial law to roll back the situation was it was in 1969." He lodged a strong protest against the military solution and maintained that the "central government had failed to listen to the voices of their co-citizens in the East.":225–226 To many authors, Yaqub Khan had become a "conscientious objector" in the military.:226
He was posted back to Pakistan and was joined in the Army GHQ staff and participated in winter war against India in 1971 without commanding an assignment and retired from the military after the war, also in 1971.
Ambassadorship to France, United States, and Soviet Union
After seeking the honorable discharge from the army, he joined the Foreign Service as a career diplomat in 1972, initially taking his first assignment as Pakistan Ambassador to France until 1973.:185 In 1973, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto appointed him as the Pakistan Ambassador to the United States which he served in this capacity until 1979.:185 He was sent Pakistan's envoy to United States when the foreign relations with the United States were cooling but he gained international prominence when he became involved with Egyptian ambassador Ashraf Ghorbal and Iranian Ambassador to the United States Ardeshir Zahedi to take part in defusing the siege of three federal buildings in the Washington D.C. by the group of American Muslims in 1977.
In 1979, he was sent to Moscow and was appointed as Pakistan Ambassador to the Soviet Union where he worked towards building foreign relations with the Soviet Union by signing an educational accord.:11–12 In 1980, he was reassigned in France again which he remained until 1982.:185
Foreign Minister and United Nations
Yaqub Ali Khan was brought in to the Zia administration as Foreign Minister in 1982 when Agha Shahi was departed from President Zia-ul-Haq's cabinet. He was appointed Foreign Minister in the conservative-aligned government but Yaqub maintained his composure and his Western wit in the Zia administration.
As Foreign Minister, he directed a proactive and keen pro-American policy and supported the U.S. sponsored clandestine program to arm the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviet sponsored Afghanistan.:120–129 He advised President Zia-ul-Haq on many key matters and firmly had gripped the country's foreign policy towards on the track of pro-U.S. foreign policy as many military officers joined his Foreign ministry.:277–278 During this time, the matters were kept out of the sight of the Foreign Office with Yaqub handling matters with the military.:277–278 He continued his role as Foreign Minister after the general elections held in 1985 by the Prime Minister Mohammad Junejo.
At foreign fronts, he played a crucial role in providing the support for his country's cover and clandestine nuclear development whilst maintaining a strong policy of deliberate ambiguity.:170–171 In 1984, he reportedly issued a statement in Washington D.C. on Pakistan's massive retaliation when observing India's pre-emptive strikes on Pakistan's facilities, and made unsuccessful proposal to United States to put Pakistan under its nuclear umbrella.:149–150
In the 1980s, he provided his diplomatic expertise in resolving the Soviet–Afghan War when he explored the possibility of setting-up the interim system of government under former monarch Zahir Shah but this was not authorized by President Zia-ul-Haq.:247–248 In 1984–85, he paid visits to China, Saudi Arabia, Soviet Union, France, United States and the United Kingdom to develop framework for the Geneva Accords which was signed in 1988.:335 About the death and state funeral of President Zia-ul-Haq, Yaqub was earlier warned by Soviet Foreign Minister Edward Shevardnadze that Pakistan's support for Afghan mujahideen "would not go unpunished.":407 Yaqub Khan, on the other hand, stressed for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by the Soviet Union.
In the 1980s, he also managed to maintained to retain Pakistan's close friendship with Iran and the rich Arab States during the Iran-Iraq war.:xxx After the general elections held in 1988 in the country, Yaqub was kept as Foreign Minister in the First Benazir ministry by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in order to engage in negotiation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).:196
In 1988–90, he aided Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to reach to sign an arms control treaty with her Indian counterpart Rajiv Gandhi.:285 In 1990, he met with Indian External Minister, I.K. Gujral to convened a secret message to Indian Prime Minister V. P. Singh to warn against an active conflict between two countries. :231–232
After the general elections held in 1990, he was inducted in first Sharif ministry by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif which he remained until 1991.:xxxvi He once again put country's foreign policy to supporting U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in the Gulf War.:77 After the Gulf War, Yaqub left his post as Foreign Minister following his resignation on 26 February 1991.:225
After his resignation, he went on to joined the United Nations when he was named the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara in 1992 which he remained until 1995.:194 In 1996, he was again re-appointed as Foreign Minister by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto but it was short-lived when his tenure was cut-short after President Farooq Leghari who dismissed Benazir Bhutto's government.
Although he retired from politics in 1997, Yaqub Ali Khan did provide his support to President Pervez Musharraf's to stabilise his writ against the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999 when he visited United States to provide legitimacy of military martial law.
Post-retirement and death
In 1981, he was appointed as the founding chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Aga Khan University which he chaired for almost two decades until his retirement in 2001. He was also a commissioner in the now retired Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict in New York City, United States.
Yaqub Ali Khan was married to Begum Tuba Khaleeli of the Iranian Khaleeli family of Calcutta from whom he had two sons, Samad and Najib. He was said to be proficient in seven global languages including English, Russian, French, Urdu, German, Italian, and Bengali languages.:260 He died of an old age, at 95, in Islamabad where he was laid to rest in Westridge cemetery in Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan. His funeral services were attended by the Chairman joint chief General Rashad Mahmood, army chief General Raheel Sharif, air chief General Sohail Aman, naval chief Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah and other a large number of high-ranking civil and military officials and people from all walks of life.
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|Wikisource has original works written by or about:|
Sahabzada Yaqub Khan
- Yaqub Khan – the man who reinvented himself by Khaled Ahmed (The Friday Times)
- SYK: The Man With Qualities Short biographical article by S. Abbas Raza
- Biographical article by M. Zafar in Defence Journal
- MAJOR-GENERAL SAHABZADA MOHD YAQUB KHAN (PA 136)
| Chief of General Staff
Gul Hassan Khan
LGen Kamal Matinuddin
| Unified Commander of Eastern Military High Command
23 August 1969 – 1 September 1969
| Martial Law Administrator, Zone B (East Pakistan)
| Governor of East Pakistan
Syed Mohammad Ahsan
Syed Mohammad Ahsan
| Governor of East Pakistan
| Foreign Minister of Pakistan
Aseff Ahmad Ali
| Foreign Minister of Pakistan (caretaker)
Gohar Ayub Khan
Sultan Muhammad Khan
| Pakistan Ambassador to the United States
Sultan Muhammad Khan