Late Air Marshal Asghar Khan – an iconic figure

ISLAMABAD: Air Marshal Asghar Khan, who passed away on Friday, was an iconic figure. He was born on 17th January, 1921, in Jammu Kashmir, 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 participated in the 2nd World war at Burma as a young fighter pilot.

After creation of Pakistan in 1947, he was transferred to the Royal Pakistan Air Force (RPAF) and became the first Commandant of RPAF College, Risalpur.

He also actively participated in the Kashmir war between India and Pakistan, which broke out immediately after the independence.

He had the honour of receiving the father of the nation Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad 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.

As the Commander-in-Chief, Air Marshal Asghar Khan transformed PAF into a modern air force with the induction of new jet fighters, bombers, trainers, transport aircraft and helicopters.

During his command, PAF inducted a wide spectrum of aircraft which included state-of-the-art F-86 Sabres, T-33 Jet trainers, T-37 Tweety Birds, B-57 bombers, formidable F-104 Star Fighters, and ubiquitous C-130 Hercules aircraft. He also introduced fighter training programs and combat courses to train fighter pilots in modern air warfare.

In recognition of his selfless services to the nation, PAF Academy, Risalpur was named after Air Marshal Asghar Khan in 2017.