General Mohammad Ataul Ghani Osmani (1918-1984), commander-in-chief of the Liberation Forces and of the Bangladesh Armed Forces. Ataul Ghani Osmani was born at Sunamganj on 1 September 1918. He passed the matriculation examination in 1934 from Sylhet Government High School, and obtained his graduation from the Aligarh Muslim University in 1938. In 1939, he joined the Royal Armed Forces as Gentleman Cadet. But instead of joining the Indian Civil Service he completed the military course from the British Indian Military Academy in Deradun, and joined the Royal Army as a commissioned officer (1940). He was promoted to the rank of major in 1942 and was appointed commander of a battalion. He was engaged in war at the Burma sector in the Second World War as a commander of the British army. On completion of senior army officers’ course in 1947 he was selected for appointment as lieutenant colonel.
After the partition of India Osmani joined the Pakistan army on 7 October 1947, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel on the day following. He obtained P.S.C degree in 1948 from the Quetta Staff College. He was then appointed a deputy to the Chief of General Staff of the army (1949). Between 1950 and 1955 Osmani held the positions of the director of Rifle Company in the ninths battalion of the Fourteenth Punjab Regiment, additional commandant of the East Pakistan Rifles, and general staff officer of the army. He was promoted to the post of colonel in 1956 and was appointed deputy director of general staff and military operations in the army headquarters, a position which he held for ten years till his retirement on 16 February 1967.
Ataul Ghani Osmani joined the awami league in 1970. He was elected a member of the Pakistan National Assembly in 1970 as a nominee of Awami League. With the formation of mujibnagar government on 17 April 1971, Osmani was appointed commander in chief of the Bangladesh Armed Forces and of the Liberation Forces. After liberation of the country Osmani was elevated to the rank of General of the Bangladesh Armed Forces with effect from the date 16 December 1971. With the abolition of the post of Commander in Chief on 7 April 1972, Osmani retired from the service. He was then included in the cabinet of Bangabandhu sheikh mujibur rahman as Minister in charge of Shipping, Inland Water Transport and Aviation. Osmani was elected a member of the jatiya sangsad in 1973, and was included in the new cabinet with charge of the Ministries of Post, Telegraph and Telephone, Communication, Shipping, Inland Water Transport and Aviation. He resigned from the cabinet in may 1974. After the introduction of one-party system of government through the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution in 1975, he resigned from the Jatiya Sangsad and also from the primary membership of the Awami League.
MAG Osmani was appointed an Adviser to the President in charge of Defence Affairs by khondaker mostaq ahmad on 29 August 1975. But he resigned immediately after the killing of four national leaders inside the Dhaka Central Jail on 3 November.
Osmani launched a new political party styled as Jatiya Janata Party in September 1976 and was elected its president. He contested in the presidential elections in 1978 as a nominee of the Democratic Alliance. He contested in the presidential elections once again in 1981 as a nominee of Jatiya Nagarik Committee (National Citizens Committee). A life long bachelor Osmani died on 16 February 1984 while under treatment of cancer in London.