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Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry
27 August 1941|
Dalwal, Punjab, British India, now Pakistan
|Died||13 April 2012
|Service/branch||Pakistan Air Force|
|Years of service||1958–1986|
|Rank||Group Captain (Colonel)|
|Unit||No. 5 Squadron Fighting Falcons|
|Commands held||Masroor Air Force Base
Sargodha Air Force Base
No. 32 Fighter Ground Attack Wing
No. 38 Multi-Role Wing
Combat Commander's School
|Battles/wars||Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Operation Eagle Strike
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Operation Chengiz Khan
Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry (27 August 1941 – 13 April 2012) was a Pakistani academic, human rights activist, and veteran fighter pilot. As a Flight Lieutenant, he fought in the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965 and later, as a Squadron Leader, in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. During the 1965 war, Chaudhry and three other pilots, under the leadership of Wing Commander Anwar Shamim, attacked the Amritsar Radar Station in a difficult operation. He was awarded the Sitara-e-Jurat (Star of Courage) for his actions during that mission. The 1971 War led to the dismemberment of Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh.
Chaudhry was born on 27 August 1941 to the only Christian (Roman Catholic) family of the village Dalwal, located in the Salt Range. His father, Elmer Chaudhry, hailing from East Punjab and then based in Lahore, was chief photographer with The Times, Lahore, as well as physics and mathematics professor at St. Anthony's High School. Cecil Chaudhry was schooled at St. Anthony's, before pursuing higher studies at the Forman Christian College, Lahore where he received his B.S. in physics.
Air Force career
As an Air Scout, he was awarded his glider pilot’s wings in 1956 by the then President of Pakistan, Iskander Mirza, at a ceremony in Karachi. He was admitted into the Pakistan Air Force Academy on 12 March 1958 and was enrolled in the engineering program. In 1960, he received his double B.Sc. in Aeronautics and mechanical engineering along with becoming an ace fighter pilot upon graduating from the PAF Academy.
Cecil Chaudhry became an educationalist after leaving the air force and was affiliated with the Punjab Education Foundation. He served as principal of St. Anthony's College for many years, before becoming principal of Saint Mary's Academy, Lalazar, Rawalpindi, succeeding Sister Eileen Ann Daffy. He retired from this post in July 2011.
Chaudhry remained an influential, independent human rights activist, as well as working for the betterment of children with disabilities and for educational reform. He advised and worked closely with the late Shahbaz Bhatti from the early 1990s onwards and had been Executive Secretary of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) since its inception. He was also affiliated with the National Commission for Justice and Peace and was instrumental in leading the fourteen-year campaign that led to the restoration of Pakistan's joint electorate system in 2002.
Death and legacy
Cecil Chaudhry died at the age of 70 in Lahore on 13 April 2012 after a battle with lung cancer. In August 2013, President Asif Ali Zardari approved the conferment of the President's Pride of Performance Award upon Cecil Chaudhry.
His daughter Michelle Chaudhry founded the Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation, an NGO active in the defence of minorities in Pakistan, in his memory.
- "Children from St Anthony’s High School, Lahore, in city August 1, 2006".
- http://religioncompass.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/blasphemy-laws-and-the-persecution-of-minorities-in-pakistan3.pdf Benedict Rogers, 2009
- http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/david-griffiths/the-unsung-hero-of-pakist_b_1611275.html - Tribute to Cecil Chaudhry, David Griffiths, 2012
- http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24773-President-approves-civil-awards - President approves civil awards, 14 August 2013
- Asia News 8 April 2014