He entered into active politics in 1946 when he campaigned for “Usman Dallal” who was contesting against Khwaja Habibullah a nominee of A.K. Fazlul Haq, and managed to make Usman win the elections. In 1957 he himself entered into political mainstream when he won the elections for a municipal commissioner by thumping majority. He remained an uncontested member of the Basic Democracy for a period of eight years. He was elected a Union committee Chairman in 1966 and later on elected as the Mayor of Dhaka Municipality for five years. He entered the parliamentary politics in 1962 when he was elected as a member of the provincial assembly and then joined the National Assembly as an elected member in 1965.
He proved his metal as an assertive opposition leader while working as the polling agent of Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah who defeated Field Marshal Ayub Khan in the city of Dhaka (Khwaja Khairuddin’s ancestral constituency) with a brute majority. In the year 1971 he was elected unopposed member of the National Assembly from the Naryianganj constituency in by-election held during the tenure of President General Yahya Khan. In the year 1970, when Bengali nationalism was at its peak, he contested election against Shiekh Mujib ur Rehman and secured 40,000 votes, which was the highest number of votes polled by any defeated candidate, during the historic election.
Khwaja Khairuddin, as a Mayor of Dhaka, had the honour of presenting momentous to Queen Elizabeth of England, Chou En Lai, Premier of China, Princess Michiko of Japan, President Lubke of Germany, and King Bhumibol of Thailand.
Khwaja Khairuddin served as the Vice President of the East Pakistan Muslim League (Council) from 1961 to 1965, and as President of East Pakistan Muslim League (Council) from 1966 to 1971, and Vice President of Pakistan Muslim League from 1975 to 1978. In 1979 he was elected president of the Muslim League (Chatta group) and remained so till 1981. He then formed his own faction of Muslim League and remained its head for four years. In 1989 his faction was merged with Pir Pagaro and he became Senior Vice President. He was also the Vice President of Democratic Action Committee which launched a movement against Ayub Khan, needless to say that, as the Secretary General of Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) which was composed of 6 political parties, he proved his organizing ability as a mature political leader.
Khwaja Khairuddin’s role as a convener of the Central Peace Committee and as a Secretary General MRD movement could be termed as historic. As a convener of the central peace committee which composed of 6 political parties, he endeavored to bring peace in East Pakistan. He recruited Razakars in the Entire East Pakistan and led huge procession to assist the Pakistan Army in preserving the unity of Pakistan. His role may be interpreted differently by his critics, but the fact remains that he remained a Pakistani up to the hilt. As a secretary General of MRD he organized a movement against President General Zia-ul-Haq to restore democracy. He was responsible for the re-entry of Khwaja Nazimuddin into Politics in 1960. He played a vital role in convening the Round Table Conference in the year 1969 by the late President Ayub Khan to restore democracy. His rapport with the Pakistan Army was considered excellent as the Pakistan Army considered him Pakistan personified. He was one of the masterminds in the formation of political alliances that was formed in Pakistan from 1964 to 1988. He played an instrumental role in making Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi as the interim Prime Minister of Pakistan in the year 1990. He was one of the 10 member delegates, headed by Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy which came to West Pakistan in the year 1960 to form Awami Muslim League. Sheikh Mujib Ur Rehman also nominated him as his party representative to negotiate certain matters with the Government. He was responsible for the burial of Khwaja Nazimuddin in the centre between the grave of Mr. Suharwardy and A.K. Fazlul Haq, after a hot verbal confrontation with Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman in the year 22nd October, 1965.
He was responsible for electing Mian Mumtaz Daultana as the President of Council Muslim League in the year 1968. He was offered a ministerial position by the President Ayub Khan which he declined for the sake of democracy. He was offered to become a Governor of Sind in the year 1988 by late President General Zia-ul-Haq which he also declined. After the emergence of Bangladesh, Khwaja Khairuddin was sent by the Pro-Pakistan political parties of Bangladesh to Pakistan in order to negotiate with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto confederation between Pakistan and Bangladesh.
a). He was awarded the Medal of Sitar-e-Khidmat by President Ayub Khan for his services rendered to the people of Dhaka in the year 1962.
b). He was awarded a gold medal by the Chief Minister Punjab Mian Nawaz Sharif for his role in the Pakistan movement.
c). He was awarded gold medal for his services by the Tehreek-e-Nazarya Pakistan by Shahbaz Sharif in the year 2008.
d). He was awarded the title of Fakhr-e-Pakistan by the Karachi Zonal Muslim League in the year 1977.
e). He was awarded the title of “Lion of Dhaka” by the citizen of Dhaka in the year 1966 on his election victory for Union Committee Chairmanship.
He was first imprisoned by the Governor Monem Khan for supporting Madar-e-Millat presidential candidature against Ayub Khan in the year 1964. He was imprisoned for two years from 1972 to 1974 for apposing the break up of Pakistan. He was deported by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto from Pakistan in the year 1977 for indulging in politics and opposing his rule. He was imprisoned by Zia-ul-Haq for a period of 11 months for launching a movement against him in the year 1983. He was under house arrest on five different occasions for his political conviction. He was forbidden to enter Punjab and Frontier Province on several occasions, in order to prevent him from spreading his political ideas and philosophy.
Khwaja Khairuddin was a firm believer in the ideology of Pakistan. He remained a Muslim Leaguer throughout his Political career. Propagated the concept of Pan-Islam and never compromised on his political principals. He was a great admirer of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, whom he considered as his spiritual Father. He is immensely respected in all the political circles for his political tenacity and commitment to Islamic ideology.
Courtesy by (Late) Muhammad Sirajjuddin
A veteran Muslim League Leader of Pakistan Movement (Dhaka)
Dated May 11, 2010