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A tribute by Air Cdr Sajad

By Air Commodore (R) Sajad A. Haider

Birth and death are indelible certainties, pre-ordained by ALLAH SWT. It is the interregnum which lays open the bounties and opportunities for everyone to explore.

The achievers choose challenging mission as raisin de etre in life, and pursue their dream through qualitative endeavour, strident determination with incontrovertible honesty, personal example and leading from the front with resolute will to achieve success in their mission.

They are anointed with Stature of leadership rather than mere Status of rank as head of an institution, community, or even a nation. Status gets buried with the person in perpetuity. Stature achieved through Sterling performance in life leaves behind a blazing trail of legacy and a place in the hereafter. Yesterday, a trail blazing meteor like light speeded towards the galaxy’s final frontier.

It was the soul of one of the greatest son of this soil, Air Marshal Mohammad Asghar Khan, the father of Pakistan Air Force, a fighter pilot par excellence, an incomparable Commander in Chief and one who achieved the stature of leadership in the hearts and minds of all those he surveyed in the institutions he propelled to highest firmament but the nation at large denied him the sublime political vision he offered.

His indomitable qualities of incredible  vision, moral courage, integrity, inexorable truthfulness, pristine honesty and resolute dedication to his mission in life, as a strict disciplinarian, was strident in the pursuit the legacy of Quaid e Azam which he imbibed and lived in the highest traditions of an officer, commander, a leader and a sublime gentleman to his last moments.

What were the indelible achievements which stood this man of sterling character apart from any other in Pakistan’s history after the Quaid e Azam. Was he a Falcon, an Eagle or an Ukab? He was a manifestation of all three.

An outstanding fighter pilot from WW11, The first to fly a fighter jet (Meteor with RAF) captained the initial missions into Kashmir vale in a lumbering Dakota against IAF agile Tempest fighters.

He propelled the PAF from a rudimentary…….. Air force to the firmament of best air forced in the world, within 18 months as the youngest C-in-C in the world, at ripe age of 36 years, PAF under his stewardship created world military aviation record by Formation Aerobatics with 16 aircraft performing loop in front of King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan and a massive crow watching in awe n some defence Diplomats in shock.

Soon after on Eid-Ul-Fitr day as the Muslims were in supplication an Indian spy bomber violated Pakistan air frontiers. The early air defence system effectiveness created as his priority policy responded with incredible alacrity and a young Flg off brought the bomber down at 40,000 feet, way above PAF fighter’s operational capability. Both Indian pilot and navigator were taken in custody.

Such was the verve, moral high and the professional excellence spawned by AM Asghar khan, by all ranks to perform beyond expectations. That was the indomitable spirit with which the PAF fought the 1965 War, trained, readied and motivated by Asghar khan who was allowed to quietly retire in what was an intrigue of national leaders, who were planning war in Kashmir in weeks of his retirement but kept the Air Force C -in -C in the dark. Luckily his successor was well honed leader and the war was lead by the next best, the intrepid AM Nur khan. Rest is glorious history of PAF PERFORMANCE in 1965 n more so in 1971 but taboo because Truth is a revolution here.

Today, the formidable performance of PAF in Zarb e Azab which continues with ferocity and velocity, has rattled the rafters of not only the beasts of terror, but a signal to the perpetual adversary India, to check before takeoff heading west, because return is not an option.

The PAF today, and foreseeable future will continue to build stronger edifice of operational formidability on the foundations laid by a.m. Asghar Khan with steel and mortar and blood, sweat and tears of the pioneering cavalcades, who joined the saga of courage, passion for fulfilling the mission, resonating to this day ordained by the Quaid-e-Azam’s, exhortation ” the PAF to be second to none.

He stood apart in his unmatched achievements which are things beyond the pale of Guinness book of record. He followed the beacon which was legacy of the Quaid e AZAM and performed even beyond the raison d etre ordained by the Father of the Nation for the Pakistan Air Force “To be Second to None”.

His political life was an Oracle of astuteness which was overaerd by Machiavellian sobriquet” end justified the means”.

May the noblest soul rest in heavenly peace. Ameen.

A subordinate, an admirer and protégé.



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