AIR MARSHAL Nur Khan, a man of courage, indomitable will, and unimpeachable integrity, is no more among us. There is no hope either that anyone with even a fraction of his genius will ever come to rescue of our failing national airline.
Only the man now buried in the desolation of village Tamman knew how a novice airline of a nascent state, with little assets and resources could be raised to the Hyperion heights of its glory, setting standards of highest excellence in the history of world’s airlines.
‘Great people to fly with’ was indeed a trusted slogan, a catch-word, and the people across the world believed and one would find the name of the national carrier flashed in world’s renowned papers and periodicals.
They cherished to travel with these great people of our national flag carrier which was a pride of every Pakistani. For six years (1959 to 1965) Nur Khan served as the managing director of PIA during which he provided the airline a very sound financial base which enabled it to increase its fleet every year by purchasing most modern aircraft.
In the 1970s PIA became the first Asian airline to operate jet aircraft. During his second term in 1973, Nur Khan inducted Boeing 720B jets in PIA’s fleet and introduced new and lucrative routes to China and to Europe via Moscow.
From then onward PIA started operating DC 10s and 747s. Nur Khan did not allow politics to interfere in his work and ran the airline with a true professional spirit, infusing innovations and new ideas.
As a valiant fighter pilot of the Pakistan Air Force, he rose to the position of air chief in 1965 and with his sheer hard work, dedication and able leadership, helped Pakistan gain air superiority over three times bigger Indian Air Force, during September 1965 war.
As a fine administrator of uncanny abilities, his contributions to the field of sports are enough to keep his name remembered for ever. He served the Pakistan Hockey Federation with distinction and it was in his tenure that Pakistan won every major hockey title which was up for the grab. He later headed the Pakistan Cricket Board and was indeed successful as cricket chief.
Although one finds hockey and cricket plagued by politics, intrigue and nepotism, Nur Khan maintained his principles of merit and fair play and remained out of controversies. All the later heads of these sports envied him for his masterful handling of sports administration. Being no more with us, we sadly miss him. He was our hero both in war and peace. May God bless his soul.
ZAFAR AZIZ CHOUDHRY Karachi