Abul Kashem Khan
(Founder of A K Khan & Company)
(5 April 1905 – 31 March 1991)


Abul Kashem Khan was a lawyer, industrialist, and politician from Bangladesh. He formed A K Khan & Company in 1945, which was one of Pakistan’s largest corporations until 1971, when it was acquired by Bangladesh’s largest conglomerate. Khan was a member of the Indian Constituent Assembly and the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. He was a member of the Pakistan National Assembly and a federal minister of Pakistan.

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Name: Abul Kashem Khan
Best Known as: A. K. Khan
Date of Birth: April 5, 1905
Place of Birth: Mohara village, Panchlaish Thana, Eastern Bengal and Assam, British India
British (1905-1947)
East Pakistani (1947-1971)
Bangladeshi (1971-1991)
Known For : Founder of A K Khan & Company
Alma mater: Presidency University
Father: Abdul Latif Khan
Mother: Wahabun Nessa Khan
Spouse: Shamsun Nahar Khan
A. M. Zahiruddin Khan (son)
A.K Shamsuddin Khan (son)
SalahuddinKasem Khan (son)
Sadruddin Khan (son)
A.M Ziauddin Khan (son)
Begum Latifa Siddiqi (daughter)
ZebunNahar Islam (daughter)
Yasmin Kabir Khan (daughter)
ShamimaKhanam (daughter)
Zeenat Mosharraf (niece)
M.R Siddiqi (son-in-law)
Khandaker Abdur Rashid (nephew-in-law)
Syed Faruque Rahman (nephew-in-law)
Saifur Rahman (nephew-in-law)
Family Legacy: Khan’s great-great-great grandfather, Shamsher Khan, was a rich politician and minister in the city of Gour in the 16th-century.
Death: 31 March 1991
Dying Age: 85 Years
Dying Place: Dhaka, Bangladesh

Early Life of “AbulKashem Khan” :

In 1905, Abul Kashem Khan was born into an aristocratic family in the hamlet of Mohara in Chittagong’s Panchlaish district. Abdul Latif Khan, his father, was a government sub-registrar in Fatehabad, Chittagong. Wahabun Nessa Khan was his mother. Shamsher Khan, Khan’s great-great-great grandfather, was a wealthy politician and minister in the 16th-century city of Gour.

Khan studied law at Calcutta’s Presidency College. As a barrister, he entered the Kolkata High Court in 1934. In 1935, he joined the Bengali Civil Service’s judicial section. He stayed in the army until 1944.


Abul Kashem Khan started his business in 1945, when Chittagong was an important location for Allied Forces during WWII. He has boosted a number of sectors, including a match factory, a plywood industry, a garment mill, and a dockyard. In 1946, he was elected to the Constituent Assembly of India as a member of the All-India Muslim League candidacy. Following India’s partition, he became a member of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. He spoke out against East Pakistan’s economic inequality in the 1951-1952 budget.

“Sir, I’m afraid I can’t help myself,” I said, hoping it wouldn’t be misconstrued as petty provincialism. Sir, decentralisation and regional self-sufficiency are the order of the day. We discovered that the entire money assigned to East Bengal, where 56 percent of your people dwell, is less than 23 percent in this six-year plan. Provision has been made for 82 crores under the heading ‘Agriculture,’ although the total cost of all the projects planned for East Bengal is just 5.6 crores. A provision of 45 crores has been made under the heading ‘Development of Hydro-Electric Power,’ with East Bengal’s share being merely 5 crores.

Under the heading ‘Industries,’ 30 crores have been set aside for textile industries in West Pakistan, but just 11 crores have been set out for the jute sector in East Bengal. Now, Sir, this clearly indicates that East Bengal is not expecting to receive its fair part of the country’s future development plans, not only in the past, not only now, but in the future.”

Political Career:

From 1958 until 1962, Abul Kashem served as the Minister of Industries, Works, Irrigation, Power, and Mineral Resources. He was a member of Pakistan’s national legislature from 1962 to 1964. In 1965, he stepped down from politics.

Personal Life:

In 1935, Abul Kashem Khan married Shamsun Nahar Khan, his second wife. She was the daughter of Abdul Bari Chowdhury, a rich entrepreneur who had businesses in British Burma. Abdul Bari operated a shipping firm and several rice mills in Rangoon before moving to Chittagong during the Japanese invasion of Burma. He founded the Bengal-Burma Steam Navigation Enterprise in Chittagong, which was the first marine company in the area to challenge the British India Steam Navigation Company’s supremacy. Chowdhury also served on the Pakistan Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation’s board of directors.

Khan had nine children with ShamsunNahar: Zahiruddin (Bambu), Shamsuddin (Jambu), Salahuddin, Sadruddin, Ziauddin (Pablo), Latifa (Kohinoor), ZebunNahar, Yasmin, and Shamima (five sons and four daughters). 

Khan’s eldest daughter, Latifa, married Mustafizur Rahman Siddiqi, the first Bangladeshi minister of trade and ambassador to the United States.


On March 31, 1991, Abul Kashem Khan passed away. Shamsun Nahar Khan, his wife, died the same year, exactly two months after he did. He had nine children, five males and four girls.

In popular culture:

AK Khan More is a circle along the Dhaka-Chittagong Trunk Road in Chittagong, Bangladesh.

AbulKashem Khan is a great industrialist and a source of inspiration for our country’s future generations

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