ISLAMABAD: Rao Qamar Suleman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force(PAF) Friday expressed extreme grief on the demise of PAF legend and one of the founding fathers of the modern PAF, Air Marshal Malik Nur Khan.
The Air Chief further said in his message that Air Marshal Malik Nur Khan very ably and bravely led a small Pakistan Air Force from the front to achieve a resounding victory against the Indian Air Force four times larger than its own size in 1965 war. He was taken as the beacon of inspiration for all ranks and files of Pakistan Air Force.
Air Marshal Malik Nur Khan was born on 22nd February 1923, at Tamman, District Attock in a family with distinctive military traditions. He joined the Royal Indian Military College (RIMC) at Dehra Dun in 1934, and joined Indian Air Force Volunteer Reserve (IAFVR) during the World War II. He was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Royal Indian Air Force on 06 January 1941.
After creation of Pakistan in 1947, he was transferred to the Royal Pakistan Air Force and was given the command of Lahore Air Base. After a short stint at Lahore, he was entrusted with the command of PAF Base Chaklala. In January 1948, he proceeded to London and served as a Liaison Officer in the Pakistan High Commission, after a brief stay, he returned to Pakistan and was posted as Commandant PAF College,
Risalpur in September 1948.
After completing his tenure he was posted to Air Headquarters from January 1950 to March, 1951, and remained fully involved in the induction of aircraft from US. He commanded Peshawar Base in 1955-56 and then commanded PAF Base Mauripur in 1956-57. During this tenure he converted PAF fighter squadrons from piston to Jet-engine aircraft. Later, he served at Air Headquarters before he was appointed as Air
Officer Commanding of the first re-organized Operation Group.
He was seconded to PIA in March 1959 as Managing Director, where he worked till 21 July 1965. In February 1964, he was appointed as Chief Administrator of Civil Aviation and Tourism. In 1970s, he was again given the charge of PIA as its chairman in 1973.
In July 1965, Nur Khan was decorated with the rank of Air Marshal and was appointed as Commander-in-Chief of PAF. Immediately after he took over the command, the country faced a bigger threat to its sovereignty and he successfully pitched his tiny force against four time’s bigger enemy.
Air Marshal Nur Khan flew all types of fighter aircraft in PAF, including Tiger Moths, Hawker Harts and Audax biplanes, Vultee Vengeance, Harvards, Hurricanes, Lockheed T-33, F-86s, F-104s Star fighter, B-57s, MiG-19s and Mirages.
He was a graduate of the PAF Staff College and Joint Services Staff College, Latimer. Government of Pakistan appointed him as the Governor of West Pakistan (Now Pakistan) in 1969.
Air Marshal Nur Khan was a well-decorated officer. Among his decorations are Hilal-e-Jurat, Sitara-i-Pakistan and Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam. He was also awarded the Order of Istiqlal (2nd Class) by the King of Jordan, and decorated as Commander of the National Order of the Cedars by the President of Lebanon and Grand Officer in the order of Range Nassau with Swords by the Dutch Government.
His funeral prayers would be offered at 1030 hrs at cricket ground PAF Complex, Sector E-9 Islamabad. He would be buried with full honour at 1600 Hrs at his native town Tamman (Talagung), Chakwal.