Zafar Chaudhry

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Zafar Ahmad Chaudhry
ظفراحمد چودھری
1st Chief of Air Staff
In office
3 April 1972 – 15 April 1974
Preceded byAir-Mshl. A. Rahim Khan
Succeeded byACM Zulfiqar Ali Khan
Managing-Director of Pakistan International Airlines
In office
1971 – 3 April 1972
Personal details
Zafar Ahmad Chaudhry

(1926-08-19)19 August 1926
Sialkot, Punjab, British India
(Present-day in Punjab in Pakistan)
Died17 December 2019(2019-12-17) (aged 93)
Lahore, Pakistan
Citizenship Pakistan
Military service
Allegiance Pakistan
Branch/service Pakistan Air Force
Years of service1945–1974
RankAM Pakistan Air Force.pngUS-O9 insignia.svg Air marshal
UnitNo. 7 Squadron, RIAF
(S/No. RIAF. 3095)
CommandsPakistan Air Force Academy
PAF Base Sargodha
ACAS (Air Operations)
No. 38 (Tactical) Wing
Battles/warsIndo-Pakistani war of 1965
Indo-Pakistani war of 1971
AwardsSitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam (1957-76).pngSitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam

Zafar Ahmad Chaudhry (Urdu: ظفر احمد چودھری; b. 19 August 1926 – 17 December 2019), SQA, was a Pakistani human rights activist and an airline executive who served as the first Chief of Air Staff of Pakistan Air Force, appointed in 1972 until his resignation in 1974.

Early life and education[edit]

Zafar Ahmad Chaudhry was born in Sialkot, Punjab, in British India on 19 August 1926 in Arain family.[1][2] He was a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

He enrolled at the Punjab University in Lahore, and graduated with bachelor's degree in 1944, and then joined the Royal Indian Air Force.[3][1]

Military service[edit]

In 1945, Chaudhry was commissioned in the Royal Indian Air Force as a pilot officer, and was inducted in No. 7 Squadron in 1946.[2] After the partition of India, he subsequently went to join the Pakistan Air Force, and qualified as an instructor on the North American T-6G Harvard .[4] He was further educated at the RAF Staff College in Andover, Hampshire, in the United Kingdom before being directed to attend the Joint Service Defence College of the British Army.[5] He later secured his qualification from the Imperial Defence College before returning to Pakistan.[6]

In 1965, Air Commodore Chaudhry served in the Air Headquarters as a Director Air Operations, taking responsibility for planning combat aerial operations against the Indian Air Force during the second war with India.[7] In 1969, Chaudhry was appointed station commander of the PAF Station Sargodha.[8]

In 1971, Air Vice-Marshal Chaudhry was sent on secondment and was appointed managing director of the Pakistan International Airlines, which he directed until 1972.[9]

On 3 April 1972, Air Marshal Chaudhry was appointed first Chief of Air Staff and took over the command of the Pakistan Air Force. In 1973, he authorised the Air Intelligence to conduct inquiries for the court-martial of several senior air force officers for their alleged political role in de-stabilising the civilian government.[10]

This decision sparked controversy between the Air Force and the civilian government. Eventually, the decision was reversed upon being determined that the investigation was opened for inappropriate reasons, allowing the alleged officers to continue their military service in 1974.[11] Upon learning of this development, Chaudhry immediately tendered his resignation taking the honourable course of action. Not known for affluence he took a job in USA selling cars. Later he joined Mr Babar Ali in Lahore to look after WWF in Pakistan. He was a brilliant officer who fell to the politics of PPP government and the prevalent anti-Ahmadi sentiment.[12]

Post retirement[edit]

Chaudhry was the last air marshal to command the Air Force, and was succeeded by Zulfiqar Ali Khan, the Air Force's first four-star general.[1] After his retirement, Chaudhry became an activist, returned to Pakistan, and was one of the founding members of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in the 1980s, subsequently serving on its Council.[13]

On 17 December 2019, Chaudhry died of cardiac arrest, aged 93, in Lahore, Pakistan.[14][15]

Awards and Decorations[edit]




(General Service Medal)

Sitara-e-Harb 1965 War

(War Star 1965)

Tamgha-e-Jang 1965 War

(War Medal 1965)

Pakistan Tamgha

(Pakistan Medal)



(Republic Commemoration Medal)


War Medal


Queen Elizabeth II

Coronation Medal


Foreign Decorations[edit]

Foreign Awards
 UK War Medal 1939-1945
 UK Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal


  1. ^ a b c Hussain, Syed Shabbir; Qureshi, M. Tariq (1982). History of the Pakistan Air Force, 1947–1982 (google books) (1st ed.). Islamabad, Pakistan: ISPR (Pakistan Air Force). p. 217. ISBN 978-0-19-648045-9. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b Indian Air Force, IAF. "Service Record for Air Marshal Zafar Ahmed Chaudhry 3095 GD(P) at Bharat". Bharat Rakshak. Indian Air Force Database. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  3. ^ Naqvi, Ashfaque (28 September 2002). "Features: Zafar Ahmad Chaudhry". DAWN.COM. Dawn Newspapers. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  4. ^ Ahmad, S. M. (2001). "Pakistan's Share of Aircraft from Undivided India". A Lucky Pilot: Memoirs of Retired Wing Commander Lanky Ahmad (googleboosk) (1st ed.). Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan: Ferozsons. pp. 28–29. ISBN 9789690013712. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  5. ^ Ilmi Encyclopaedia of General Knowledge. Ilmi Kitab Khana. 1979. p. 335. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  6. ^ World Defence Who's who. Macdonald and Jane's. 1974. p. 38. ISBN 9780356080031.
  7. ^ Fricker, John (1979). Battle for Pakistan: The Air War of 1965. I. Allan. p. 122. ISBN 9780711009295.
  8. ^ "Shaheen: Journal of the Pakistan Air Force". Shaheen: Journal of the Pakistan Air Force. Air Headquarters. 31 (1): 24. 1984. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  9. ^ Roadcap, Roy Reginald (1972). World Airline Record. Roy R. Roadcap & Associates. pp. 134–135. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  10. ^ Khan, Inamul Haque (1999). Memoirs of Insignificance. Dar-ut-Tazkeer. pp. 95–96.
  11. ^ Rizvi, H. (2000). Military, State and Society in Pakistan. Springer. p. 144. ISBN 9780230599048. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  12. ^ Cloughley, Brian (2016). A History of the Pakistan Army: Wars and Insurrections. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. p. 212. ISBN 9781631440397. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  13. ^ "HRCP mourns loss of founder member Air Marshal Zafar Chaudhry". HRCP. 18 December 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Former PAF chief Zafar Chaudhry passes away". Dawn. 18 December 2019.
  15. ^ "Former air chief marshal Zafar Ahmad Chaudhry passes away". Samaa TV. 18 December 2019.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by Chief of Air Staff
1972 – 1974
Succeeded by