PM Abbasi, military bigwigs attend Asghar Khan's state funeral

11:04 AM | 6 Jan, 2018
PM Abbasi, military bigwigs attend Asghar Khan's state funeral
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ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi along with other civil-military dignitaries attended the state funeral of former chief of air staff Air Marshal Asghar Khan at the Nur Khan Air Base on Saturday.

Important personalities including Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, and other top officials assembled at the air base for the funeral of Asghar Khan.

Air Marshal Asghar Khan, who breathed his last, a day earlier at CMH Rawalpindi, will be laid to rest in his native village Nawanshahr, Abbottabad later today.

His body was transported to a PAF helicopter from where it would be taken to Abbottabad.

A day earlier, Prime Minister Abbasi had approved a state funeral for Asghar Khan, in recognition of services and contribution to the Pakistan Air Force.

Asghar Khan

Born on January 17, 1921, Asghar Khan was commissioned in the Indian Army initially and later he was drafted into Indian Air Force in 1940.

After completing his graduate studies at RAF Staff College at Bracknell and post-graduate studies from Imperial Defence College in the United Kingdom, Khan resumed his duty with the Royal Indian Air Force upon his return.

During partition in 1947, the air chief opted for Pakistan and settled in West-Pakistan. He 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 PAF. His tenure as air commander saw the extensive modernization of the PAF, in terms of both technical and military equipment.

After leaving the Air Force, Asghar Khan became the president of the civilian national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) which he led until 1968. His tenure is known as “golden era of PIA”.

In 1970, Asghar Khan founded his own political party, the Tehrik-e-Istiqlal, but performed poorly in 1970 parliamentary elections.

Later, the former air chief merged his party with Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 2012.

His demise sent shock waves across the country with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa expressing his grief the on demise of ex-air chief.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan also expressed sadness over the death of Asghar Khan.

Asghar Khan Case

Asghar Khan is also known for his case against alleged funding to the Islamic Democratic Alliance (IDA) against Benazi Bhutto in 1990 elections. He had filed the case in 1996 seeking an investigation into the role of two senior military officers – the then-army chief General Mirza Aslam Beg and ISI chief Lt Gen Asad Durrani – regarding the alleged funding of millions of rupees.

The election was won by the alliance, comprising Pakistan Muslim League, National Peoples Party, Jamaat-e-Islami and others, and Nawaz Sharif had been elected as the prime minister.

In 2012, Supreme Court’s then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry issued 141-page verdict, directing the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to initiate transparent investigation and start a trial on finding them guilty.