Entrepreneur, Politicians



(1944 – 8 September 2022)


Akbar Ali Khan, a dedicated public servant who served his country during the Bangladesh Liberation War. he was altogether an economist, a former caretaker of the government, an economist, historian, researcher and teacher. He held many posts in government from sub-divisional officer to cabinet secretary for Bangladesh.

This intelligent person later served as an official of the Mujibnagar Government. After independence, he rejoined the civil service and reached the highest post of Cabinet Secretary. In the meanwhile, he also worked as a university teacher.

During the 2006 caretaker government period, he served as one of the advisers. He resigned from his post along with three other individuals due to dissatisfaction over how the administration was managing state affairs at that time and there seemed no opportunity for them (the adviser team) to contribute towards creating an environment where elections could be held freely and fairly.

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Born: 1944

Birthplace: Nabinagar, Brahmanbaria


PhD. in Economics (1979), Queen’s University at Kingston, Canada

M.A. in Economics (1977), Queen’s University at Kingston, Canada

M.A. in Modern History (1965), Dhaka University, Bangladesh

B.A. Honors In History (1964), Dhaka University, Bangladesh

Nationality: Bangladeshi


Kabir Uddin Khan

Wife: Late Hamim Khan

Children: Late Nehreen Khan


Justice Md. Ibrahim Gold Medal

Moulana Akram Khan Gold Medal

Mercantile Bank Gold Medal

Honorary Fellowship by Bangla Academy

Death: 8 September 2022

Aged: 78

Early Life

Akbar Ali Khan was born and raised in Nabinagar, Brahmanbaria, a subdivision of Comilla district in 1944. He attended Nabinagar Pilot High School. He passed intermediate from Dhaka College in 1961. He then studied history at the Dhaka University and completed his bachelor’s and master’s from there in 1964 and 1965 respectively. He studied Economics at Queens University completing his PhD degree from there.

He served as a teacher in BUET for some time before joining Civil Services of Pakistan back then. After completing a foundation course at the Civil Service Academy in Lahore (1967–68), he received his post as the sub-divisional officer (SDO) of now defunct sub-district Habiganj in 1969. His uncle namingly- Yakub Ali Khan was a former Gov High official.


Akbar Ali Khan contributed to the civil disobedience movement during March 1971 before the beginning of the war of liberation on 25 March 1971. After the war breakdown, he supplied ammunition to the guerrilla fighters, while he was the SDO of Habiganj. At that time, the Mujibnagar government was yet to be formed and the war of liberation was not formally launched; thus many police officers disagreed to give arms and ammunition without any written order.

But Khan fearlessly gave written note orders to help the freedom fighters with food and money. He collected nearly three Crore taka from the sub-divisional treasury and arranged to send to Agartala by a truck to help run the Bangladesh Government formation on 17 April 1971. Later, he left Bangladesh and moved to Agartala to participate physically in the war of liberation.

He said, “After reaching Agartala we focused on building up an ‘eastern administration’. Our main aim was to support the freedom fighters and to help the refugees who had escaped Bangladesh and lived in camps. We established a connection with the Mujibnagar Government after a few months of its formation on 17 April 1971. During the initial months, we had to struggle single-handedly”.

Later in July, he was asked to come to Kolkata to join the government. There he was deputy secretary at the Cabinet division. And in August, he was transferred to the Defense Ministry. Due to his active participation in the Liberation War of Bangladesh, he was sentenced to 14 years of rigorous imprisonment in absentia by a Pakistan military court.

Right after the independence of Bangladesh in December 1971, Mr. Khan was appointed in the Establishment Ministry of the government of Bangladesh. There he worked for six months helping rehabilitation of the freedom fighters and also people who came back from Pakistan. From there he was transferred to the Education Ministry department.

In the year 1973, he wanted to retire to continue his teaching profession. In spite of submitting his resignation, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was prime minister of Bangladesh back then, did not accept it. Instead, he was permitted for a leave of absence with a lien to teach at a university. He continued his teaching profession at the Jahangirnagar University until he received the Commonwealth Scholarship to pursue higher education.

After that, he studied at Queen’s University, Canada for a PhD. in economics. In 1979, he returned to Bangladesh and was shortly promoted to Associate Professor of Jahangirnagar University. But he left teaching and returned to Bangladesh Civil Service.

In the year 1984, he joined Bangladesh Public Administration Training Center (BPATC) as a member of the directing staff (MDS). Until 1987, he contributed his dedication towards the Rural Development Board, in the Water Resource Ministry and in the Bangladesh Public Service Commission. Later on he was appointed in the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, D.C. because of his economic ministry position.

Once he completed his tenure in Washington, Akbar Ali Khan returned back to Bangladesh and joined the Banking Division of the Finance Ministry as an Additional Secretary. In the meantime, he re-organized the BCCI Bank and took over BASIC Bank.

He even worked in the Environmental Ministry until his promotion was declared as a permanent secretary to the government in 1993. In the capacity of Secretary, Internal Resources Division, he worked as the Chairman of the National Board of Revenue until 1995. He worked as the Finance Secretary of the country Between in the time period of 1995 and 2001.

As a finance secretary he was against of purchasing BNS Bangabandhu due to the financial condition of Bangladesh back then. But his decision was overruled by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Once he retired, the government nominated him as Alternative Executive Director of the World Bank, Washington. There he served until 2005.

At the time of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Prime Ministership, a rumor arose in the Dhaka University teachers regarding Rajakar or not. The Education Minister was asked to make an inquiry into the matter by the prime minister which was handed to Akbar Ali Khan. Mr. Khan was anxious about the investigation as the law rejected the investigation.

Thus he filed an investigation just the way he was ordered and provided a note mentioning his opposing points. Perusing his note of dissent, President Abu Sayeed Chowdhury requested the Education Minister to convince the Prime Minister about Khan’s points. In this connection, Dr. Khan said, “Every time I did not like or felt something that was against the law, I gave written notes, and in most cases, my experience is saying it was bound to be accepted”.

After retiring from the World Bank job, Akbar Ali Khan established the Center for Government Studies at the BRAC University. He joined there as a visiting professor. He became a prominent public face due to his appearances in different TV Talk Shows for the explanation of the current political and economic situation of the country.

Other than that, his research was on the historic and economic process of the country. On 30 October 2007, Akbar Ali Khan was appointed as the chairman of the Regulatory Reform Commission for modernizing old and ineffective laws of the country. But unfortunately he resigned from the post of Chairman of Regulatory Reforms Commission on 16 October 2009 stating that the government is not very cooperative with the work of the commission.

Khan has also served as a trusty board member of Transparency International Bangladesh from 2013. Besides, Akbar Ali Khan was fully dedicated to writing and published 14-18 books on different sectors.

Professional Activities In Short

  • Assistant Professor and Associate Professor, Jahangirnagar University from 1973-1979.
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors of Grameen Bank (1992-95)
  • Director of the Board Directors of Bangladesh Bank – the central Bank (1992-95)
  • Director of Bangladesh Biman (1993-2001) – the national airlines.
  • Member, Public Administration Reforms Commission (1997-2000)
  • Former Director, Governance studies, BRAC University, 2005-2006.
  • Chairman, Social Development Foundation (2007- 2009)
  • Professor, BRAC Business School, 2011- Present

Personal Life

Akbar Ali Khan’s wife’s name was Hamim Khan. She was the perfect life partner and gave birth to their daughter Nehreen Khan. Since Mr. Khan was weak in mathematics, Mrs. Khan helped him when he was doing his PhD. She was a scientist.

Hamim Khan had a first class degree in Physics from Dhaka University. But she couldn’t complete her MSc because Akbar Ali Khan had to go abroad for his PhD. She taught math at Sunbeams School for 20 years. She breathed her last at the age of 68.

Daughter Nehreen Khan (1977-2016) breathed her last at the age of 39. She is well remembered by East West University and every year the institute conducts memorial speeches for her.


Akbar Ali Khan published nearly 14-18 books. Some of them are listed below.

Abak Bangladesh Bichitra Chhalanajale Rajneeti

Pararthaparatar Arthaneeti

Ajab O Jabar-Ajab Arthaneeti

Gresham’s Law Syndrome And Beyond

Friendly Fires, Humpty Dumpty Disorder, and Other Essays: Reflections on Economy and Governance in Bangladesh

Discovery of Bangladesh – Explorations into Dynamics of a Hidden Nation

Bangladesher Sattar Anwesha

Chabikathir Khonje: Natun Aloke Jibananander ‘Banalata Sen’

Andhakarer Utsa Hate: Sahitya, Samaj, Paribesh O Arthaneeti Samparke Alor Sandhan

History of Bangladesh

Success of Propagating Islam in Bengal, a Historical Analysis


He has published several articles on economics, history, public administration, literature and water resources in various national and international journals. His first book “Some Aspects of Peasant Behavior in Bengal” was well received and praised by The Journal of Economic History (USA) as “a significant contribution to the growing body of new economic history in South Asia.”

Dr Khan’s book “Discovery of Bangladesh” was well rated by the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh and entitled the best publication in humanities for the period 1996-98. He was awarded the Justice Md Ibrahim gold medal for it. His book “Parathaparatar Arthaniti” was highly commended for its wit and originality by Desh – one of the most widely circulated literary magazines of Kolkata.


  • Justice Md. Ibrahim Gold medal by the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh for the best publication in humanities in Bangladesh for years 1996-98
  • Moulana Akram Khan Gold medal for distinguished public service.
  • Mercantile Bank Gold Medal for contributions to research on the economy of Bangladesh
  • Honorary Fellowship by Bangla Academy for contribution to history and economics.

Areas Of Interests

  • Governance
  • Corporate Governance
  • Business Environment
  • Society and Culture in Bangladesh


Akbar Ali Khan fell ill and he was on his way to Evercare Hospital Dhaka. But it was unfortunate that he died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Doctors declared him dead at 10:50 pm on 8 September 2022 after an ECG declaring his death was due to cardiac complications.


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