Former Air Marshal Azim Daudpota, celebrated as a hero of the 1965 War, passed away Monday at the age of 84 after battling a number of illnesses, a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) spokesperson said.
"As a courageous pilot, a sincere professional and a patriotic Pakistani, Azim Daudpota served as a model and inspiration not only for the airmen of Pakistan but also for the Muslims of the world," Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman was quoted as saying in a statement released by the PAF.
Daudpota was born in Bombay in September 1933 to Umar Bin Mohammad Daudpota, a revered Sindhi scholar. For his early education, he attended the St. Patricks School and later went on to attend the Dayaram Jethmal Sindh College.
His journey to becoming an air force officer began when he was sent to the Royal Australian Air Force Academy in 1952.
Upon his return in 1955, he was ready to progress as an officer in PAF.
Daudpota joined the Air Force on Dec 15, 1955, making his mark on Pakistan's military history during the 1965 war with India by putting up an exemplary performance as a PAF F-86F fighter pilot ─ engaging and destroying enemy positions at the Wagah-Attari border area.
For his commendable and courageous work, he was awarded the Sitara-i-Jurat (the Star of Courage) by the Government of Pakistan.
He polished his skills further at the PAF Staff College before serving in Delhi as airforce attache at the Pakistani High Commission.
After further training at London’s Royal College of Defence Studies, Daudpota was deputed as commander of the PAF base in Sargodha.
Adding another jewel to his career, Daudpota went on to command the Zimbabwean air force between 1983-1986. He was awarded the Zimbabwe Order Of Merit by Robert Mugabe, president of the republic.
In 1986, he was appointed a managing director of the PIA, and by 1989, he had assumed the chairmanship of the national flag carrier.
During Pervez Musharaff’s regime, the air marshal was sworn in as governor of Sindh on October 25, 1999. However, seven months later, upon being informed of his impending removal, he relinquished his governorship voluntarily.
As a retired man, Daudpota was on the board of directors of MacPac Films Ltd, a company that makes raw material for packaging.
The air marshal's funeral prayers will be held at PAF Base Faisal.