Nur Khan

Nur Khan
Air Marshal
Nur Khan
8th Governor of West Pakistan
In office
1 September, 1969 – 1 February, 1970
President General Yahya Khan
Prime Minister Noorul Amin
Preceded by Lieutenant-General Tikka Khan
Succeeded by Lieutenant-General Attikur Rahmann
6th Air Force Commander-in-Chief
In office
July 23, 1965 – August 31, 1969
Succeeded by Air Marshal A. Rahim Khan
Preceded by Air Marshal Asghar Khan
Personal details
Born Malick Noor Khan
2 February 1923(1923-02-02)
Chakwal, British Punjab, British Indian Empire (now Pakistan)[1]
Citizenship British Raj Red Ensign.svg British Indian Empire
Nationality British Subject (1923-1947)
Pakistani (1947-)
Political party None (Military Governorship)
Residence Air Headquarter (AHQ), Rawalpindi
Alma mater Indian Military Academy
Occupation Military administrator
Cabinet General Yahya Khan Administration
Religion Islam
Military service
Nickname(s) General Khan
Allegiance British Raj Red Ensign.svg British Indian Empire
 Pakistan (1947-1971)
Service/branch Indian Triservices Crest.jpg Royal Indian Air Force
 Pakistan Air Force
Years of service 1941–1971
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Air Marshal (Lieutenant-General)
Unit No. 11 Squadron Arrows
Commands Chaklala Air Force Base
Pakistan Air Force Academy
Chief of Air War Operations
Peshawar Air Force Base
Masroor Air Force Base
No. Tactical Operations Group
Pakistan International Airlines
Commander-in-Chief Pakistan Air Force
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Yom Kippur War of 1973
Awards Hilal-e-Jurat
Administrator President Pakistan Hockey Federation
President Pakistan Cricket Board

Air Marshal Malik Nur Khan, HJ, HS, HQA, SPk (Urdu: نور خان) (born 22 February 1923) was the Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Air Force from 1965 to 1969. Considered the hero of the 1965 air war - the man who led the Pakistan air force achieve parity over the three times bigger Indian air force on the very first day of the 1965 war - a man widely respected not only for his integrity but also for his sharp intelligence and outstanding management abilities. He later served as the Governor of West Pakistan and President of Pakistan Hockey Federation and Pakistan Cricket Board.


Career with Royal Air Force

Nur Khan was commissioned in the British Indian Air Force on 6 January 1941. Earlier he had attended the Royal Indian Military College at Dehra Dun after completing his education at Aitchison College, Lahore. Notable amongst his assignments before partition was that of a flight commander in No 4 Squadron. In the RPAF, he commanded the newly formed Pakistan Air Force Academy and then held various key appointments including command of Chakala, Peshawar and Mauripur stations and, as an air commodore, of No. 1 Group at Peshawar. He also did a stint at the Air Headquarters as the Assistant Chief of Staff Air (in charge of all air operations).

Emergence with Pakistan Air Force

In 1959, following a series of mishaps in the country’s airlines, Air Marshal Nur Khan was deputed to head the amalgamated Pakistan Airlines Corporation where he remained till taking over from Air Marshal Asghar Khan in July 65. During that period, he made a name for his airline as a safe and reliable organization, and for himself as a dynamic go-getter. It was not surprising therefore that he was named as Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s successor; he was then 42 years old.

Nur Khan was also part of the Pakistani contingent that clashed with the Israeli Air Force during the Six Day War. In fact, the President of Israel, Ezer Weizman, who was also the Commander of the Israeli Air Force and the Minister of Defense of Israel, wrote in his autobiography that: "He was a formidable fellow and I was glad that he was Pakistani and not Egyptian".[2]

Nur Khan was the Air Marshal of Pakistan Air Force, Governor of West Pakistan and the Chairman of Pakistan International Airlines.

Career as Civilian Pilot

In 1960, PIA's very first jetliner (a Boeing 707-321 leased from Pan Am) is taking gentle turn under the command of Malik Nur Khan. Nur Khan was PIA's Managing Director from 1959 to 1965. His success in establishing PIA on a firm and profitable financial basis in six years is now a fact of airline history. Under his charismatic and inspirational leadership PIA became one of the leading and respected airlines of the world. Under his tenure PIA became the first Asian airline to operate jet aircraft. The airline inducted modern Boeing 720B jet in its fleet. PIA started flying to China and flights to Europe via Moscow were also launched during this period. In 1973 Nur Khan was specially requested by the government of Pakistan to resume control of PIA. During his second term as airline's head, PIA became operator of wide-body DC-10s and Boeing 747s. Popular Green & Gold aircraft livery was introduced plus many more achievements were made by the airline under Nur Khan's leadership. He kept PIA out of Pakistan's turbulent political arena and returned it to a sound commercial basis. Nur Khan was a dynamic leader and believed in innovation and new ideas

Role in Founding Pakistan Hockey Federation

Always a sports enthusiast as well as an able sports administrator, he's the founder of the annual Champions Trophy in field hockey as well as helping organise the 1987 Cricket World Cup in India & Pakistan as PCB head. Nur Khan was also a member of the National Assembly from 1985 till 1988. He also contested in 1988 election on PP ticket from NA 44 Chakwal II but wasn't successful. After defeat in the 1988 elections he decided to retire from politics and his cousin Malik Mumtaz Khan Tamman and Malik Allah Dad Awan starting contesting the election from same constituency.


Nur Khan was the Pakistan Air Force Commander-in-Chief from 23 July 1965 to 31 July 1969. Nur Khan was appointed Governor of West Pakistan in August 1969. Currently he has been employed by the Egyptian government as advisor to minister of defence.

Nur Khan belong to a small Village of Dandi, Tamman, Talagang.


  1. ^ Hindus Contribution Towards Making Of Pakistan 22 May 2010 Retrieved 28 January 2011
  2. ^ Israel Air Force chief and former-President Ezer Weizman writing about Nur Khan in his autobiography, On Eagles' Wings

External links

  • Bio of Air Marshal Nur Khan
  • [1] A picture of Nur Khan in front of a T-37 (
  • [2] A picture of Nur Khan in a F-86 cockpit (
  • [3] A picture of Nur Khan in a F-104 cockpit (
Military offices
Preceded by
Asghar Khan
Commander-in-Chief, Pakistan Air Force
1965 – 1969
Succeeded by
Abdul Rahim Khan
Political offices
Preceded by
Tikka Khan
Governor of West Pakistan
1969 – 1970
Succeeded by
Attiqur Rahman

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