Zulfiqar Ali Khan

Zulfiqar Ali Khan

Zulfiqar Ali Khan

Zulfiqar Ali Khan was a four-star air force officer in PAF and later served as s Diplomat. He is known as 1st four-staff officer in PAF who led the PAF as its CAS (Chief of air staff) from 1974-1978. After he retired from PAF, he started working on a diplomatic task and supervised a diplomatic assignment in the USA as Pakistani Ambassador from 1989-1990. This article has all the information about him, including Zulfiqar Ali Khan Biography.

Name:Zulfiqar Ali khan
In Urdu:ذوالفقار علی خان
Citizenship:British India ( 1930 – 1947 ) and Pakistan ( 1947 – 2005)
Awards :Nishan e Imtiaz
Date:10th December 1930
Place:Lahore, Punjab India
Spouse:Begum Sajida Zulfiqar
Children:1 daughter
Relatives:Brig. Agha Ali Hassan
Date:8th March 2005
Rest Place:Islamabad
Cause of Death:Cardiac Arrest
Service/branch:Pakistan Air Force
Years of service:1948 – 1978
Rank:Air Chief Marshal (General)
Commands:COS AHQ Dhaka Mushaf Air Force Base, Sargodha Director-General Air Operations (DGAO)
Battles/wars:Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War

Zulfiqar Ali Khan Biography

Khan was a four-star PAF officer who after completing his education joined PFA and served at various posts. His commendable work earned him fame and promotions. He participated in the liberation war and the 1965 Pak-Indo war. In 1976 he became 1st four-star officer in PAF.

Besides military services, he served as Pakistani diplomat. His appointment as 2nd CAS was a surprise as he succeeded his seniors. Moreover, he is the recipient of Nishan-e-Imtiaz for his services. He suffered a cardiac arrest which took his life on 8th March 2005.

Zulfiqar Date of Birth

He opened his eyes in Lhr, Punjab, India on 10th December 1930.

Education of Zulfiqar

He completed his matric from a Lahore’s local school. In 1974 he got enrolled in Jhelum Military College, but in 1948 he joined PAF and transferred to PAF Academy Risalpur.


Commissioned as Pilot Officer

He commissioned in PAF as a pilot officer, and in 1950 he passed out from ‘PAF Academy-Asghar Khan’ in the class of seventh G.D. (P) course on 21st December 1950. Flight Lieutenant Khan 1st command task was to Number Twenty Squadron Eagles.

Role in the 2nd War

In 1960 he got an education at Air War College PAF and obtained a staff course degree. In 1965 he participated in 2nd Indo-Pakistan 1965 war and commanded Griffins against IAF (Indian Air Force).

Posting in Foreign Ministry

From 1966 to 1968 as a Wing Commander, he posted in Foreign Affairs Ministry. He served as air attaché at Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi, India led by Mian Arshad Hussein.

Promotion as Group Captain

During 1968 to 1971 he got a promotion to the rank of Group Captain in PAF and his posting made in East Pak. As an Air Commodore, he served in Liberation war against IAF. Indian Army took him as war prisoner after the surrender of Eastern Command by its GOC-in-C (General Officer Commanding-in-Chief) Lieutenant General Niazi.

Repatriation to Pakistan

He was repatriated to Pakistan and got the permission to resume his military service. As a commandant of PAF Academy, he held its control in 1973 but subsequently posted to Air War College PAF as commandant for a short time. Number-Eleven Squadron Arrows, Number-Nine Sq. Griffins and Sargodha Air Base’s AOC were his command assignments.

Appointment as AVM and CAS

He was promoted to the rank of AVM (Air Vice Marshall) in PAF in 1974 and designated as DCAS of ‘Air Planning’ at Air Headquarters in ISB but later his he posted as DGAO (D.G. of Air Operations).

On 14th April 1974, he was designated 2nd CAS and took the PAF command as AM. This appointment was a surprise and controversy since AM Zafar Ch removed from his post and AM Khan succeeded seven-senior air officers.

Promotion to ACM Rank

On 1st January 1976, he was promoted to ACM rank (Four-star officer) and became PAF’s 1st officer of four-star rank. He was then appointed a senior member of JCSC (Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee) and received Nishan-e-Imtiaz for his laudable services.

Regarding the issue of hidden atomic bomb program, he advised then PM Bhutto against accepting the F-5 and A-7 aircraft to stop working on Reprocessing Plant for Pu (Plutonium) development, stating that atomic bomb program shouldn’t stop.

Designation of Deputy CMLA

On 5th July 1978, he designated as Deputy Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA) alongside with CNS (Chief of Naval Staff) admiral Muhammad Shareef, Gen Zia-ul-Haq, and CJCSC Gen Muhammad Sharif after ‘Operation Fair Play’ led by then PM Bhutto against civilian govt.

Zulfiqar Ali Khan Resignation

He resigned from air force’s command for his disagreement about military control of civilian govt. Newly designated ACM Anwar Shamim then took the command.

Appointment as an Ambassador

After retirement, he joined Pakistan Foreign Service and served as Pakistan diplomat to Switzerland from 1979 to 1981. In 1989 he was made chief investigator to head investigations on Military funding to Pakistani political parties by ‘Intelligence Community.’

In 1989 PM Benazir made him Pakistani diplomat to the USA and took charge instantly in Washington D.C. His tenure discontinued in 1990 and he came back to Pakistan.

Zulfiqar Ali Khan Death

He died by cardiac failure on 8th March 2005 in ISB. He suffered a cardiac arrest at home and rushed to PAF hospital, but doctors declared him dead. His wife Begum Sajidda Zulfiqar died on 30th September 2012, and all politicians, seniors, former air chiefs, and bureaucrats attended her funeral.