Khwaja Wasiuddin
Diplomat & Soldier (General in both Bangladesh & Pakistan Army)

KHWAJA WASIUDDIN, second son of Khwaja Shahabuddin and Begum Farhat Bano, was born in Ahsan Manzil, Dhaka, on 20th March 1921. He had his early schooling at the Muslim Government High School, and in the year 1932, when he was only eleven years old, he was sent to the Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College (R. I. M. C.), in Dehra Dun. Six years later, in 1938, he joined the Indian Military Academy Dehra Dun, and was commissioned as an officer in the Indian Army in 1940. He chose to be a Gunner, and was the first Indian Muslim to join the Royal Indian Artillery. He was posted with the 24th Mountain Regiment and served in various parts of Northern India, including Waziristan.

During the Second World War he saw active service in Burma, and when the Japanese Forces came into Burma and the British started retreating, Wasi, along with his fellow soldiers had to swim across the Sitang river to escape being caught by the Japanese. Later, when he was stationed in Imphal he met with an accident when the jeep he was driving up hill, overturned, and he broke his pelvis bones. He was moved to a hospital and, after recovery, sometime in 1945, he was appointed President of the Inter Services Selection Board in Bangalore with the acting rank of Lieut. Colonel. At the end of the war he re-joined his regiment, reverting to the rank of a Major and was posted at various stations. At the time of the partition of the Indian Sub-Continent in 1947, he opted to serve in Pakistan.

In November 1945 he married his cousin, Zafar Bano, daughter of Khwaja Nazimuddin, and had two children – Safi and Umbereen. Unfortunately, this union lasted for about ten years and they parted company. Later, he married Waheeda, daughter of Mir Karim Bakhsh and Begum Umtool Hafeez. and they had four children – Lena, Adnan, Shahab and Omer.

He rose to the rank of Lieutenant General in the Pakistan Army, having held various senior appointments including that of Director of Artillery and Corps Commander, Multan.

At the time of the break up of Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh, he opted to serve in Bangladesh, where, his seniority, vast experience and reputation were gainfully utilized in the Diplomatic service of the country. He served as Bangladesh Ambassador in Kuwait and France and later, as his country’s representative to the United Nations in New York.

Khwaja Wasiuddin was an all-round sportsman and an excellent swimmer having been a member of the swimming team of R. I. M. C. Later, he took up golf and was responsible for organizing the laying down of the Golf courses in Lahore and Rawalpindi.

He was happily leading a life of retirement with his family in Dhaka; playing golf, mixing socially and swimming with his grandchildren when, on the night of 22nd September 1992, while attending a dinner party, along with his wife, at the home of a friend of theirs, he was called upon by the Lord Almighty to return to his eternal heavenly home, to rest therein, in peace!

Condolence messages on the passing away of Khwaja Wasiuddin, courtesy of Major Khwaja Safi Wasiuddin:

‘Your father was in fact a member of our family, because he commanded this great unit in 1952-53. Indeed it is a very big loss to you and our regiment also.’ – Commanding Officer, The First Light Air Defence Regiment.

‘We have lost a great gunner. We the Gunners are proud of his glorious past and splendid achievements. His name will always be remembered as a professional gunner in the history of Pakistan Artillery. – Commandant Artillery Centre, Attock.

‘He was a renowned gunner and all gunners are rightly proud of his valueable contribution towards the sound foundation of the arm after partition.’ – Brigadier, Headquarters 12 Corps.

‘We in Artillery 15 Division are specially sad to learn this news, as the late General was the first Commander Artillery 15 division .’ – Headquarters Artillery 15 Division.

‘Your father had spent a glorious career in the Army and earned great admiration from his subordinates, seniors and colleagues. I remember that I had invited him to attend the Artillery Reunion in Attock in 1988 when I was Director General Artillery. His prompt acceptance and subsequent attendance along with Mrs. Wasiuddin was indeed a matter of great pride for us.’ – Major General A. K. M. Khalil-ur-Rahman (Retd.).”

Source: [Khwaja Sayeed Shahabuddin]