Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani

Moulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani (1880-1976) was a popular political leader in Pakistan and Bangladesh, a rural-based self-educated person.

He Born in 1880 in Dhangara, Bengal (now Bangladesh), Bhashani was the son of Sharafat Ali Khan. He gained immense popularity among peasants. Owing to his sympathy for the progressive forces, deemed close to socialists/communists, he was nicknamed “Red Maulana”. He is regarded as the proponent of secular and left-leaning politics in current days Bangladesh. He was one of the founding members and President of the Pakistan Awami Muslim League which later became Awami League (AL). However, owing to differences with the right-leaning leaders in the AL, such as Shahid Suhrawardy and Sheikh Mujibur Rahamanon the issue of autonomy for East Pakistan, he formed a new progressive party called National Awami Party (NAP).

He also differed with Suhrwardy when he as Prime Minister of Pakistan Decided to join the US-led defense pact CENTO and SEATO. The split among the progressive camp into pro- Moscow and pro-Peiking factions eventually led to the break up of NAP into two separate parties; the pro- Moscow faction being led by Prof.  Muzaffar Ahmed. After Pakistan’s 1965 war with India, he showed some support for Field Marshall Ayub Khan’s regime for its China-leaning foreign policy; but later he gave the leadership to a mass uprising against the regime in 1968-1969. He played a very critical role in the 1969 movement which eventually led to the collapse of the Ayub regime and the release of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other co-accused in the so-called Agartala conspiracy case against Pakistan. His decision to boycott the 1970 Pakistan general elections effectively led to the electoral sweep by erstwhile opponent Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

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