Former Sindh governor Azim Daudpota is no more

War veteran dies of cardiac arrest in Karachi at the age of 83


Hafeez Tunio April 03, 2017
Funeral prayers for Air Marshal (retd) Azim Daudpota will be offered at Shahra-e-Faisal PAF base at 1:30pm. PHOTO COURTESY: NOOR UL HUDA DAUDPOTA SAIF

KARACHI: War hero, the national flag carrier’s former chief and Sindh’s former governor Air Marshal (retd) Azim Daudpota passed away in Karachi on Monday at the age of 83. He is survived by two twin sons and a daughter.

Daudpota, 83, had been suffering from multiple diseases. His funeral prayer was offered at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base in Karachi and he was buried at the PAF graveyard in Korangi.

He was born on September 14, 1933 in Mumbai, United India. His father, Dr Umar Bin Mohammad Daudpota, was a famous Sindhi scholar, who taught Arabic at the Ismail College Bombay at that time.

Daudpota received his early education from St Patrick’s School and Dayaram Jethmal (DJ) College in Karachi. Later he joined PAF in 1951 and was sent in 1952 for training to the Royal Australian Air Force Academy at Point Cook from where he graduated in 1955.

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He completed his graduation from PAF Staff College at Drigh Road, Karachi. He later went to Royal College of Defence Studies in London and returned to Sargodha as base commander.

He was one of the war heroes who fought in the 1965 war and was awarded prestigious awards like Sitara-e-Jurat, Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Hilal-e-Imtiaz.

In 1983, Zimbabwe sought assistance from Pakistan as it wanted to replace the former Rhodesian officer who then headed the Air Force of Zimbabwe. Daudpota was selected and served as commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe from July 1983 to January 1986.

In 1986, Daudpota was appointed as the Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) managing director and later the airline’s chairman in 1989.  In 1999, when General Pervez Musharraf toppled civilian government, he was invited to Islamabad and offered the post of Sindh governor.

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“Almost all corps commanders have evolved a consensus to appoint you as Sindh’s governor given your past track record as an honest and dedicated person,” one of the family members quoted Musharraf as telling Daudpota. He later accepted the offer and took oath as governor in October.

However, seven months later, Daudpota was removed from the post.

“The campaign in favour of Kalabagh Dam was on the rise and Musharraf was getting input from various stakeholders. There were protests against the dam in Sindh, so Daudpota resisted the move, conveying the message that people were against the project,” said Dr Ali Rind, a Sindhi writer.

He said Daudpota had also taken serious note of water crisis in Sindh and lodged complaints with the then Punjab government.   “After his repeated notices, he received a call from Musharraf’s staff officer and they exchanged heated words. Later, Daudpota was asked to resign,” he said.

On his death, the PAF paid tribute to the former officer. Politicians and lawmakers, including Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, also prayed for the departed soul in their condolence messages.

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