Zulfiqar Ali Khan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the Pakistani air marshal, for the Indian politician and army officer see Zulfikar Ali Khan.
Air Chief Marshal
Zulfiqar Ali Khan
زوالفقار علی خان
ACM.Zulfiqar Ali Khan.jpg
Air Chief Marshal Zulfikar Ali Khan, PAF.
9th Chief of Air Staff
In office
April 16, 1974 – July 22, 1978
President Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry
Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Preceded by Zafar Chaudhry
Succeeded by Anwar Shamim
Personal details
Born (1930-12-10)December 10, 1930
Lahore, British Punjab, British Indian Empire
Died March 8, 2005(2005-03-08) (aged 74)
Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory
Awards Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military)
Military service
Allegiance  Pakistan
Service/branch  Pakistan Air Force
Years of service 1950–1978
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg Air Chief Marshal (General)
Unit No. 11 Squadron Arrows
Commands Chief of Air Staff
Pakistan Air Force Academy
AOC Sargodha Air Force Base
No. 31 Fighter Wing
No. 35 Composite Air Transport Wing
No. 32 Fighter Ground Attack Wing
No. 9 Squadron Griffins
No. 11 Squadron Arrows
No. 20 Squadron Eagles
PAF Eastern Air Force Command
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Aerial Operations of 1965
Indo-Pakistan War of 1971
East-Pakistan Air War
Operation Chengiz Khan

Zulfiqar Ali Khan (Urdu:ذوالفقار علی خان; December 10, 1930 – March 8, 2005; NI(M)) was a four-star air officer who commanded the Pakistan Air Force as its Chief of Air Staff from April 1974 to July 1978.

Z. A. Khan was the first four-star rank air officer of the Air Force, and as well as first Chief of Air Staff. He later served as Pakistan's ambassador to the United States during the first Benazir Bhutto government from July 1989 to September 1990.

Early life and PAF Career[edit]

Zulfiqar Ali Khan, born in Lahore, was educated at Military College Jhelum (College No. 1371) where he received his Sc.B. in Military science. He was then commissioned in the 7th GD(P) Course on 21 December 1950. He was the first graduate of Pakistan Air Force Academy, Risalpur, to have reached the highest appointment in the PAF. Zulfiqar Ali Khan was 20 years old when he was commissioned in the PAF in December 1950. He held a variety of flying assignments in the early part of his career.

He commanded as Air Officer Commanding of No. 9 Squadron, No. 11 Squadron and No. 20 Squadron. He was later assigned to command the No. 31 Wing, No. 32 Wing and No. 35 Wing, as Officer Commanding. During 1971, As Air-vice Marshal (Major-General), he was given the command of PAF Headquarter Eastern Command Dhaka and actively participated in numerous air battles. After the war, he was given the command of PAF Base Sargodha. In 1972, he was later appointed Commandant of the PAF Academy. In 1973, he was also posted to New Delhi as Air Adviser to the High Commissioner of Pakistan.

Staff appointments[edit]

At the Air Headquarters, Zulfiqar Ali Khan stayed as Director of Operations and Director of Plans before being nominated as Chief of Air Staff of Pakistan Air Force. He then served as Deputy Chief of Air Staff in 1974.

He was promoted to four-star general officer, and was made Air Chief Marshal in 1974. He was promoted quickly as when the previous chief Air Marshal Zafar Chaudhry was forced to resign by then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Zulfiqar Ali Khan, then an Air Marshal was promoted to Air Chief Marshal in March 1976, when Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee was newly created and defence ministry was reorganized. He was awarded Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military) for his meritorious services.

1974 April 16 - Air Marshal Zulfiqar Ali Khan becomes the first graduate of PAF Academy, Risalpur to take over as Chief of the Air Staff.

1975 March 31 - PAF Base Kalabagh established.

1975 April 28 - Chinese FT-5 (modified Mig-15) trainer aircraft inducted.

1975 July 15 - Air Defence Command (ADC) established.

1975 November 10 - Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF) inaugurated at Kamra.

1976 May 5 - Combat Commanders' School (CCS) established at Sargodha.

1977 September 19 - Shaheen Foundation established.

1977 December 26 - Drigh Road Air Base renamed 'Faisal Air Base' in honour of King Faisal II of Saudi Arabia.

1978 May 14 - Mirage Rebuild Factory (MRF) inaugurated at Kamra.

1978 July 23 - Air Chief Marshal M. Anwar Shamim takes over as the Chief of the Air Staff.


After retiring from Air Force, the retired chief was made the Pakistan Ambassador to the United States in 1989 by then Prime minister Benazir Bhutto, but was recalled only after a year, when the Benazir Bhutto Government was dissolved by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1990.


On 8 March 2005, Air Chief Marshal Zulfiqar died of a heart attack. He was given a state funeral with full honours.[1] Begum Sajida Zulifqar, wife of Air Chief Marshal Zulifqar Ali Khan, died on 30 September 2012 and her funeral prayers were attended by all former PAF Air Chiefs, politicians, bureaucrats, senior serving and retired military officials and a large number of people from all walks of life.[2]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  2. ^ "Laid to rest". Thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 2013-01-07. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Zafar Chaudhry
Chief of Air Staff
Succeeded by
Anwar Shamim
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Jamsheed Marker
Pakistan Ambassador to the United States
Succeeded by
Najmuddin Shaikh