Karachi (January 17, 2018): First native Commander in Chief of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and founder of founder of Tehrik-e-Istiqlal, Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s 97th birth anniversary is being observed today.
Mohammad Asghar Khan was born in Jammu, Kashmir and Jammu (princely state) in British Indian Empire on 17 January 1921. His father was Brigadier Thakur Rahmatullah Khan, a Pathan officer of the Jammu and Kashmir State Forces, who was from Tirah, Northern Pakistan. His mother’s name was Ghulam Fatima.
He was the first youngest Air Chief of Pakistan who took up his job at the age of 35. He took up his job under President Iskander Mirza (1956–59) and under President Ayub Khan until he resigned in 1965 prior to the start of the air operations of the PAF during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965.Air Marshal Asghar Khan later joined politics and, creating huge waves on the political front, he became one of the leading politicians of the country.
After the independence in 1947, he settled in West Pakistan where he became the first commandant of Pakistan Air Force Academy in 1947. And, in 1957, Asghar Khan was raised to be the Air Chief and thus he became the youngest and the first native Air Chief of PAF.After serving for the PAF, Asghar Khan took up job as President of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) till 1968.
Khan entered political arena in 1970 after forming a political party, the Tehrik-e-Istiqlal. However, the party could not land him into the Parliament with poor performance in 1970 and 1977 elections.
The colossal political force, that it once was, merged with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 2012.He rode political waves by spearheading a movement with a sole goal to get detained Zulfikar Ali Bhutto released from jail in the era of Field Marshal Ayub Khan.
In recognition of his services, the PAF Academy Risalpur was named after him In March 2017.Asghar Khan case is yet another reason that makes him stand out. Through his petition filed in 1996, he accused Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency of manipulating the national politics by dishing out money to several political leaders in the 1990s.
Right after 16 years, the case once again triggered a huge furor on the political front after Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry ruled that the 1990 general elections were manipulated as select politicians were doled out Rs140 million by premier security agency.
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Air Marshal Asghar Khan breathed his last on January 5, 2018, just 12 days short of his 97th birthday.