Asghar Khan

Asghar Khan (Urdu: ائیر مارشل اصغر خان‎; b. January 17, 1921) is a Pakistani veteran aviation historian, peace activist, and retired military figure— a three star rank air marshal— who served as the first native Chief of Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) from 1957 until resigning in 1965 prior to the start of the air operations of the PAF during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.

Initially commissioned in the Indian Army, Asghar Khan was drafted into Royal Air Force in 1940, seeing actions in Burma Campaign and later acceded to United Kingdom where he graduated from RAF Staff College at Bracknell, completing his collegiate courses from Joint Service Defence College, and completed his post-graduate studies from Imperial Defence College. Upon return to British Indian Empire, Asghar Khan resumed his active duty with the Royal Air Force and opted for Pakistan following the Indian partition in 1947, and settled in West-Pakistan. Asghar Khan became first commandant of Pakistan Air Force Academy in 1947 and was also the first to head the Directorate-General for Air Operations (DGAO) in 1950. Finally in 1957, Asghar Khan became the youngest to-date and the first native Air Force Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Air Force. His tenure as air commander saw the extensive modernization of PAF, in terms of both technical and military equipment, but controversially he was not taken in confidence prior to launch of Operation Gibraltar by the president which led to his resignation. After retiring from air force, Asghar Khan became president of civilian national flag carrier, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) which he led until 1968.

In 1970, Asghar Khan founded the secular party, the Tehrik-e-Istiqlal, but performed poorly in 1970 parliamentary elections. However in 1977, the party significant gained momentum and participated with full force in 1977 parliamentary elections, although the party failed to grasp any support in the public as compared to democratic socialist, the Pakistan Peoples Party. He was designated a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, and conferred with the Gold Medal by the Human Rights Commission, and Jinnah Award Award by the Jinnah Society for the cause of democracy. After years of founding the Independence Movement, Asghar Khan merged his party with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, led by cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan, in January 2012.

Read more about Asghar KhanFounding Independence Movement, Personal Life

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