Former Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan passes away in Rawalpindi

By APP
Published: January 5, 2018
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Air Marshal (R) Asghar Khan. PHOTO: FILE PHOTO

Air Marshal (R) Asghar Khan. PHOTO: FILE PHOTO

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Air Force Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan passed away in Islamabad on Friday, after protracted illness. The youngest commander of PAF died just 12 days before his 97th birthday on January 17.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi announced a state funeral for the former air chief in recognition of his services and great contribution to Pakistan Air Force.

President Mamnoon Hussain lauded Asghar “as an upright and brave man whose contributions towards national defence and Pakistan Air Force would be remembered for long.”

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President Azad Jammu Kashmir Masood Khan, in his tweet, described the air marshal “as a man of principles, a zealous patriot and a great airman”.

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa described him as “an iconic soldier who will be remembered for his historic contributions for laying foundations of a strong Pakistan Air Force”.

In his condolence message, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman said, “Air Marshal Asghar Khan headed the PAF diligently and with courage. With his leadership capabilities, he played a vital role in transforming the PAF into a modern air force.”

Pakistan Air Force renamed PAF Academy Risalpur after the commander in March 2017 as a mark of recognition.

Social media was flooded with tweets from politicians, former and present services chiefs and a huge fan base. They called air chief as an ‘Iron Man’, ‘brave, bold and gentleman’ and an ‘unsung legend’ and described his demise as a ‘great loss to the nation’.

He was also remembered as an ‘icon of professionalism, integrity and discipline’.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said, “He transformed PAF and was a man of steadfast principles and integrity.”

Asghar was born in Jammu and Kashmir in 1921 in a family with distinctive military traditions. After completing his education at Aitcheson College, Lahore, he joined Royal Indian Air Force in December 1940. He was a World War II veteran fighter pilot and served in Burma.

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He served as the first Commandant of Royal Pakistan Air Force College, Risalpur after 1947. He also actively participated in Kashmir war between India and Pakistan which broke out immediately after the independence.

Asghar also had the honour of receiving the Father of the Nation, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, on his maiden visit to Royal Pakistan Air Force Training School, Risalpur in April 1948.

At the age of 36, he became the youngest-ever Pakistani Commander-in-Chief of PAF in July 1957. He also served as president of Pakistan International Airlines and founded Tehreek-i-Istaqlal in 1970 that merged with the PTI in 2012.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Sonya
    Jan 5, 2018 - 12:22PM

    I used to watch him walk alongwith his wife – what an elegant couple – may his soul rest in peace.Recommend

  • abdul khaliq qureshi , senior journalist
    Jan 5, 2018 - 2:47PM

    I had visited Air Marshal Muhammad Asghar Khan when he came on retirement in the year 1965 in Lahore when he had set up Justice Party of his own faction thereafter, he addressed Lahore High Court Bar Association by expressing his party manifesto later he had changed party name into Pakistan Tehrik e Istaqlal and was running the same headed by his own efforts but he cannot win the elections throughout his political career but was taking interest to spoke on solidarity of the country His contribution in PAF together with the politics of the country would be remembered for a long span of time to come.

    Khan’s services were unforgettable as he served the nation with befitting manners during the tenure of his service.

    May God Almighty Allah keep departed soul in eternal peace & courage to the aggrieved family members too. Ameen. Recommend

  • Sabi
    Jan 5, 2018 - 4:03PM

    He was a true soldier a patriot and disciplined man.
    May his soul Rest In Peace .Recommend

  • Hamid Khawaja
    Jan 5, 2018 - 7:00PM

    When you lose your father, it feels like losing your umbrella, you feel unprotected, you feel unsupported, you lose a part of yourself, you no longer have your best friend to advise and guide you – you feel so alone and so sad – there is no replacement. The loss is permanent. But if your father was the greatest man you ever knew and had lived his life according to his convictions and had made this great big house for generations to stay in, you have reason to celebrate the achievements of your father, you have reason to pay tribute to the father of this very large family who he benefited in so many ways and to follow the legacy which he left behind. You have reason to be very proud. The PAF has lost its founding father and while there is sorrow; pride, tribute, gratitude and prayers should overshadow the sorrow. Let us pay tribute to this great leader without who we would not be what we are. Let us live up to his expectations. He would have wanted that. May he rest in peace.Recommend

  • Luciferous
    Jan 5, 2018 - 7:20PM

    An honest and upright person. One of very few Pakistani politician who could not tolerate hypocrisy.Recommend

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