Zafar Chaudhry

Zafar Ahmad Chaudhry
ظفراحمد چودھری
1st Chief of Air Staff
In office
3 April 1972  15 April 1974
Preceded by Air-Mshl. A. Rahim Khan
Succeeded by ACM (Gen.) Zulfiqar Ali Khan
Managing-Director of Pakistan International Airlines
In office
1971  3 April 1972
Personal details
Born Zafar Ahmad Chaudhry
(1926-08-19) August 19, 1926
Sialkot, Punjab, British India
(Present-day in Punjab in Pakistan)
Citizenship  Pakistan
Awards Sitara-i-Quaid-e-Azam
Military service
Nickname(s) Chaudhry
Allegiance  Pakistan
Service/branch  Pakistan Air Force
Years of service 1945–1974
Rank Air Marshal
Unit No. 7 Squadron, RIAF
(S/No. RIAF. 3095)
Commands Pakistan Air Force Academy
Sargodha Air Force Base
ACAS (Air Operations)
No. 38 (Tactical) Wing
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani war of 1965
Indo-Pakistani war of 1971

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


Zafar Ahmad Chaudhry was born in Sialkot, Punjab in India on 19 August 1926.:217[1][2] He was a devoted member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.:contents[3] He enrolled at the Punjab University in Lahore, and graduated with bachelor's degree in 1944, only to joined the Royal Indian Air Force.[4]:217[1]

In 1945, Chaudhry gained commissioned in the Royal Indian Air Force as P/Off., 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 flying the T-6 Texan.:28-29[5] He was further educated at the RAF Staff College in Andover, Hampshire in United Kingdom before being directed to attend the Joint Service Defence College of the British Army.:335[6] He later secured his qualification from the Imperial Defence College before returning to Pakistan.:38[7]

In 1965, Air-Commodore Chaudhry served in the Air AHQ as a DG Air Operations, taking responsibility to plan combat aerial operations against the Indian Air Force during the second war with India.:122[8] In 1969, Air Cdre Chaudhry was appointed AOC of the Sargodha Air Force Base, eventually commanding the No. 38 (Tactical) Wing.:24[9]

In 1970, AVM Chaudhry was taken as secondment and was appointed as Managing-Director of the Pakistan International Airlines (MD PIA), which he directed until 1972.:134-135[10]

On 3 April 1972, Air Mshl. Chaudhry was appointed as first Chief of Air Staff and took over the command of the Pakistan Air Force. In 1973, Air Mshl. Chaudhry authorized the Air Force Intelligence (AFINTEL) to conduct inquiries for the court-martial of several senior air force generals and officers at the JAG Corps, Air Force for their alleged political role in stabilizing the civilian government.:95-96[11]

This decision sparked controversy between the Air Force and the civilian government when then-President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto reversed this decision, allowing the alleged officers to continue their military service in 1974.:144[12] Eventually, Air Mshl. Chaudhry tendered his resignation upon learning of this development, and was in an amid disagreement with the government legislations on the declaring Ahmadiyya as non-Muslims.:cont[3]

Post retirement

Chaudhry was the last air marshal to command the air force, and eventually led the air force's command to Zulfiqar Ali Khan, the air force's first four-star general.[1] After his retirement, Chaudhry became an activist and was a founding member of the Human Rights Commission (HRC), serving as its Treasurer and is currently a Council Member..


  1. 1 2 3 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. 332. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  2. 1 2 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. 1 2 Cloughley, Brian (2016). A History of the Pakistan Army: Wars and Insurrections. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. ISBN 9781631440397. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  4. Naqvi, Ashfaque (28 September 2002). "Features: Zafar Ahmad Chaudhry". DAWN.COM. Dawn Newspapers. Dawn Newspapers. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  5. 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. p. 177. ISBN 9789690013712. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  6. Ilmi Encyclopaedia of General Knowledge. Ilmi Kitab Khana. 1979. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  7. World Defence Who's who. Macdonald and Jane's. 1974. ISBN 9780356080031.
  8. Fricker, John (1979). Battle for Pakistan: The Air War of 1965. I. Allan. p. 192. ISBN 9780711009295.
  9. "Shaheen: Journal of the Pakistan Air Force". Shaheen: Journal of the Pakistan Air Force. Air Headquarters. 31 (1). 1984. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  10. Roadcap, Roy Reginald (1972). World Airline Record. Roy R. Roadcap & Associates. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  11. Khan, Inamul Haque (1999). Memoirs of Insignificance. Dar-ut-Tazkeer. p. 276.
  12. Rizvi, H. (2000). Military, State and Society in Pakistan. Springer. ISBN 9780230599048. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
Military offices
Preceded by
Abdul Rahim Khan
Chief of Air Staff
1972 1974
Succeeded by
Zulfiqar Ali Khan
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