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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Birth Celebrations of Air Marshal Nur Khan. Issue date:- 22-02-2012.

Birthday Celebrations of Air Marshal Nur Khan Commemorative Postage Stamp February 22, 2012:- An ace fighter pilot, a visionary commander and an epitome of a leader, Air Marshal Nur Khan emerged on the global landscape as a true icon, a legend and a national hero.
Hailing from Taman (then Attock District), Malik Nur Khan was born on February 22, 1923. After successfully completing his primary education from government school Taman and Aitchison College, he joined Royal Indian Military College (RIMC) Dehra Dun in 1934. During training at this premier institution, he showed remarkable performance and was well known and respected for his razor-sharp intelligence and Sportsmanship. He was commissioned on January 6, 1941 as a fighter pilot in the Royal Indian Air Force, at the age of seventeen years ten months only. After serving in No.3 Squadron of the Royal Indian Air Force, he participated in the World War II at the Burma front. At the time of partition in 1947, Nur Khan opted for Pakistan Air Force and later served the PAF on various appointments which included command of Chaklala, Peshawar, Mauripur stations, No.1 Group at Peshawar and PAF Academy besides various tenures at Air HQs in different capacities. He remained involved in the induction of aircraft under U.S military aid. He made relentless efforts in the induction of F-86s instead of F-84s, dispite opposition.
Air Marshal Malik Nur Khan showed his true colours, when he was given the prestigious command of Pakistan Air Force, on July 23, 1965. As Commander-in-Chief of PAF, he established the foundations of aggressive tactics, construed the time according to situation, and adopted ways and means that were in the best interest of service. As a true leader he knew the art of winning hearts and minds of the under command. He remained involved in the affairs of the PAF Airmen, cared for them and took actions that raised their morale. He was a statuesque man, who commanded the Pakistan Air Force during the country’s first real test since independence, during Indo-Pak war in 1965. It was his thorough insight into the complexities of war that saw the Pakistan Air Force soundly quashed the aggressor’s aircraft both on ground and in the air. It was due to his visionary leadership that in 1965 war, a small but courageous and well trained air force knocked out there time bigger air force.
After the cease fire in 1965 war, Pakistan suffered from US sanctions and Arms Embargo, which adversely affected the PAF and all of its US origin weapon systems were grounded. At this very crucial juncture, Air Marshal Nur Khan once again rose to the occasion. He called upon his visionary skills by looking to China and France for military replenishments to overcome the considerable problems the PAF had suffered due to lack of spares. Within months, his relentless efforts bore fruit and first batch of Chinese F-6s and French Mirages as a strike aircraft were delivered, so that the PAF could continue to defend the country, which the adoring population was expecting at that time.
Apart from rising to the coveted position of C-in-C of PAF at the age of 42, he went on to make a name for himself in many diverse fields. It was during his secondment to Pakistan International Airlines from 1959 – 1965, that his willingness to lead from the front thrust him into the global spotlight. Within months of taking over the responsibilities of PIA, he was able to convert the national airline from a non-descript and struggling career into a dynamic and successful international airline to become the first in the region to operate the new revolutionary Boeing 707. In February, 1964, he was also appointed Chief Administrator of Civil Aviation and Tourism. His vision on tourism and initiatives resulted in promotion of hotel business in Pakistan. His tenure on this appointment saw acquisition of foreign hotels and extending help to over 46 foreign airlines to train their pilots, engineers, employees and revive their fortunes.
Nur Khan also rendered colossal services for the uplift of national sports of Hockey, Cricket and Squash and enabled Pakistan to reach the pinnacle. In Hockey, he was able to get Pakistan claim two Olympic, World Cup and Champions Trophy titles, the later two being his own brainchild apart from many new innovations to uplift these sports from decline and decadence. When he became chairman PCB (then BCCP) in February 1980, he made the Asia Cup an enduring reality and introduced neutral umpiring in cricket World Cup to the subcontinent for the first time. When Nur Khan took over the responsibility of reviving Squash in the country, the game saw its zenith. His revolutionary steps for the uplift of the game included introduction of talent hunt scheme which paid dividends and produced a surfeit of world class Pakistani players in the 70s: Qamar Zaman, Gogi Allauddin, Hidayat Jahan, Mohibullah Khan, Junior and others. In 1975, his efforts bore fruit as Qamar Zaman brought back the British Open title to Pakistan after 12 years. He during his short stints as Minister of Education and Governor of West Pakistan made all endeavours to promote education and improve the social fibre of the nation.
The services rendered by Air Marshal Nur Khan were acknowledged both at national and international levels and he became a highly decorated officer of PAF. His decorations include Hilal-e-Quaid-e-Azam, Hilal-e-Jurat, Hilal-e-Shujat, Sitara-i-Pakistan and Sitara-i-Quaid-e-Azam. The King of Jordan awarded him the Order of Istiqlal (2nd Class) and was decorated as Commander of the National Order of the Cedars by the President of Lebanon, besides the award of Grand Officer in the order of Range Nassau with Swords by the Dutch Government.
Air Marshal Nur Khan was a very proud, patriotic, devoted and a decorated “SON” of Pakistan. His charismatic personality, dynamic leadership, visionary wisdom, razor-sharp intelligence, outstanding management abilities, and inexhaustible diligence made him the most accomplished person of modern history. His long, distinguished and illustrious services in diverse fields earned him a name that would be surely remembered till the end of times. He was the man with Mida’s touch; whatever he touched became gold, whatever he envisaged became reality, whatever he pursued became exemplary- truly “Giant among men”:
The saga of epic quests and achievements ended when the legend expired on December 15, 2011, leaving behind a trail of courage, professionalism and dedication for the nation to cherish and follow.
To commemorate Birthday Celebrations of Air Marshal Nur Khan, Pakistan Post is issuing a commemorative postage stamp of Rs. 8/- denomination on February 22, 2012.