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Abdur Rahim Khan
عبدالرحیم خان
Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Air Force

In office
September 1, 1969 – March 2, 1972
President Yahya Khan
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Vice President Nurul Amin
Preceded by Nur Khan
Succeeded by Zafar Chaudhry
Ambassador of Pakistan to Spain

In office
11 May 1972 – 13 April 1977
Personal details
Born Abdur Rahim Khan
(1925-10-25)October 25, 1925
Died February 28, 1990(1990-02-28) (aged 64)
Potomac, Maryland, United States
Citizenship British Subject (1925–1947)
Pakistan (1947–1990)
Military service
Nickname(s) A.R. Khan
Service/branch  Indian Air Force (1944–1947)
 Pakistan Air Force (1947–1972)
Years of service 1942–72
Rank AM Pakistan Air Force.pngUS-O9 insignia.svg Air Marshal
Unit No. 7 Squadron Bandits
Commands ACAS (Operations), AHQ
AOC PAF Base Masrur
PAF Staff College
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1965

Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

Awards Yellow Crescent, Symbol of Islam.png Hilal-i-Quaid-e-Azam
Order of Pakistan.pngSitara-e-Pakistan

Air Marshal Abdur Rahim Khan, (Urdu language: عبدالرحیم خان

October 25, 1925 – February 28, 1990) HJ, S.Pk, SBt, was a three-star rank air marshal who served as the last Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Air Force from 1969 until 1972.

In 1972, Air Marshal Abdur Rahim Khan along with the Pakistan Army's Commander-in-Chief Lieutenant-General Gul Hassan resigned from his military service after differences surfaced with the then President Z. A. Bhutto on the handling of the fiasco of former East Pakistan. Later he joined the Foreign Service and served as Pakistan Ambassador to Spain till 13 April 1977, when along with Gul Hassan Khan who was then the Pakistan Ambassador to Greece, resigned as a protest against the rigging of the general elections held in March, 1977.


World War II and Air Force Career[]

Abdur Rahim Khan was born in Rawalpindi, Punjab, British India on 25 July 1925.[1] He hailed from a Punjabi-Pathan family.:56–57[2] He joined the Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF) and gained commissioned as F/O in 1943. He participated in the RIAF's bombing missions against Japan in the Burma theater in World War II.[1] After the independence of Pakistan as a result of partition of India on 14 August 1947, he opted for Pakistan and joined the newly established Pakistan Air Force while taking up the instructor position in the Air Force Academy.[1] In 1950s, he was sent to United Kingdom where he attended the Imperial Defense College where he graduated with a staff course degree.[1] He later went to the United States to attend the staff college and underwent to complete a pilot's training on the jet aircraft.[1]

In 1952, he earned distinction and notability when he broke the sound barrier; thus becoming the first Pakistani pilot (and probably the first Asian Pilot) to fly at a speed faster than sound.[1] Upon returning to Pakistan, he was given the command of No. 11 Squadron Arrows, the only squadrons composed with jet fighters.[3] In addition he also commanded the No. 9 Squadron Griffins.[3]

His command assignment included his role as commandant of the Air War College and AOC of Masroor Air Force Base in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan.[3]

In 1965, Air Cdre Khan was appointed as Assistant Chief of the Air Staff of Air Operations (ACAS(Ops)) and participated in detailing the air operations during in the second war with India.[1]

Air Commander-in-Chief[]

On 1 September 1, 1969, Air Cdre Khan was promoted to three-star rank, Air Marshal, was appointed Commander in Chief of Pakistan Air Force, serving under President Yahya Khan.[3] During this time, he paid a visit to China to strengthened military relations between two nations.[4]

In 1971, AM Khan led the PAF during the third war with India. He issued directives of banning the Bengali pilots flying for the bombing missions after a one pilot attempted to defect to India, but the attempt was made unsuccessful by the second pilot.[1] Air Marshal Khan played a critical and pivotal role in turning over the President Yahya Khan's administration and helped Zulfikar Ali Bhutto assuming the presidency on 20 December 1971.[1] Air Marshal Khan became to known and gained reputation as the strongest military influence in the country.[1]

Ambassador of Pakistan to Spain[]

On 11 March 1972, Air Marshal Abdur Rahim Khan was appointed designate Pakistan Ambassador to Spain, alongside with Lieutenant-General Gul Hassan Khan who was sent as Ambassador to Austria.:144[5] He presented his diplomatic credentials to Juan Carlos I in Barcelona but his tenureship remained until 13 April 1977 when he resigned in protest against the allegations of riggings during the general elections held in 1977.:536[6] He immediately appealed and called for Pakistani military to forcefully removed Prime Minister Bhutto.:536[6]

Death, personal life, and image[]

Air Marshal Rahim Khan died on 28 February 1990.

Abdur Rahim Khan was married to Princess Mehrunissa Khan,[7] the only child of the beloved but unofficial third queen of the Nawab of Rampur. They were married in London when Rahim Khan was serving in the Air Force as Group Captain (Col.).[8]

Abdur Rahim Khan was described as a patriotic and a "soft‐spoken" person and was fond of golf and polo.

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Browne, Malcolm W. Browne (29 December 1971). "Man in the News" (in en). The New York Times. Islamabad, NY Times Bureau: The New York Times, Browne. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  2. Azam, Ikram (1992) (in en). From Pakitan [sic] to Pakistan: From Jinnah's Pakistan to Today's Pakistan (1st ed.). Karachi, Sindh, Pk: National Book Foundation. pp. 288. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Abdur Rahim Khan | Pride of Pakistan | Commemorations |" (in en). Pride. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  5. Rizvi, H. (2000). "Civilian Interlude" (in en) (googlebooks). Military, State and Society in Pakistan. U.S.: Springer. pp. 300. ISBN 9780230599048. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Majumdar, R. (1998) (in en). Pakistan: Jinnah to the present day (2 ed.). Lahore, Pakistan: Anmol Publications. ISBN 9788174888648. Retrieved 6 August 2017. 
  7. Mehrunissa Khan. An extraordinary life: Princess Mehrunissa of Rampur, (Blue Leaf, 2006)
  8. Vatsala Kaul. "The princess diaries : Mehrunissa of Rampur" Archived 2010-06-13 at the Wayback Machine. Harmony Magazine, October 2004

External links[]

Military offices
Preceded by
Nur Khan
Commander-in-Chief, Pakistan Air Force
1969 – 1972
Succeeded by
Zafar Chaudhry

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