Civil and military leaders, including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, attended the funeral prayers of Air Marshal retired Asghar Khan that were held at Nur Khan Airbase in Rawalpindi on Saturday.
Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat, the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, was also present at the ceremony, along with other serving and retired officials.
Asghar Khan, the first native commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), passed away in Islamabad on Friday, at the age of 96. The former air chief will be buried in his native town Abbottabad.
Born in 1921 to a Kashmiri family in Jammu and Kashmir, Khan received his early education from Aitchison College Lahore. He joined the Indian Air Force and secured commission in 1940. His remarkable dedication towards his profession was such that he was given the command of a squadron in World War II in 1945; he was the first Indian to get that charge in the British Indian Army.
Asghar Khan: A soldier and an idealist politician
He became the first native air chief of Pakistan at the age of 35. After his retirement from the PAF, he was appointed as chief of Pakistan International Airlines, bringing discipline and growth to the airlines. He was considered a good administrator for a growing organisation. But after staying in the PIA for some time, he quit it to join politics.
In 1970, Khan founded Tehreek-i-Istaqlal, a secular political party and contested elections. He lost the seat. In 2012, the party was merged with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.
In March 2017, the PAF Academy in Risalpur was named after Khan as a tribute to the veteran.
Asghar Khan’s life was full of adventure — from a pilot to a politician and a writer. His views were too idealistic and could not find conformity with general political practices in Pakistan, perhaps his thinking did not match the engineered politics. But it became apparent that he was a firm believer in democracy, honest political culture and natural justice.