May He Fly High In His Final Flight: Air Marshal Nur Khan.


A paragon of probity, uprightness, sagacity and pure brilliance; qualities that shone through each stride of his throughout his life; Air Marshal Nur Khan passed away on the 15th of December, at the age of 88.

Nur Khan assumed the command of Pakistan Air Force in July 1965. During the Indo-Pak war of that year,  he set a personal example by flying several operational missions that played a major role in PAF achieving parallelism over the three-times-greater Indian Air Force.
For his courage and distinguished leadership during the war, he was conferred upon the gallantry award of Hilal-e-Juraat.

Before the war, he was the Managing Director of the sagging Pakistan International Airlines from 1959 to 1965. His outstanding managerial capabilities and vision led to the success of re-establishing PIA as a dynamic organization; ‘becoming one of the leading airlines of the world, 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.

He kept PIA out of Pakistan’s turbulent political arena and returned it to a sound commercial basis.’

During the Six Day War, he was part of the Pakistani contingent that clashed with the Israeli Air Force.

Air Marshal Nur Khan at the centre.

It is reported that 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”.

Nur Khan did not only have a profound effect on the success and survival of PIA through his managerial eminence, but is also responsible for the construction of a firm infrastructural base and a dedicated, matchless promotion of the two most popular sports of Pakistan, which is to say the least about his contributions regarding this.

He headed the Pakistan Hockey Federation under which Pakistan Hockey scaled the greatest of heights in its history; possessing all the top titles from the Olympics, World Cup, Champions Trophy and to the Asia Cup at the same time.

In cricket, the arrival and introduction of the World Cup to the sub-continent in 1987 is also ascribed to him and his tenure as the Chairman of the PCB.

Courtesy Doc Kazi on Flickr.

A man of absolute integrity, humility, tenacity, honour, mettle and spirit and exceptional administrative attributes; Air Marshal Nur Khan redefined the domain of administration and excellence in Pakistan.

A dedicated Pakistani, he was and always will be an inspiration and a legendary figure.

May he fly high in this Final Flight of his.

~ Hafsa Khawaja

Its Not The Players, Its The Boards Stupid !


Since the arrival of 2010, Pakistan’s hockey and cricket teams have been sliding down a string of defeats. Our Cricket team’s Tour of Australia and our Hockey Team’s performance in the Hockey World Cup, both were indeed disasters. Not only did the shock the nation but crushed their hopes.We must wake up to the fact that there are many factors that contribute to the performances of our teams other than the players. Alot of debate has been going on to determine the reasons for such defeats and most of the time, the players of both teams are blamed and held more responsible than the the Boards who have contributed much to the failure than the players, PHF and PCB.

The PCB has recently stinged the major players of the Cricket Team with bans and fines as ‘punishments’ for the defeats on the Tour of Australia and PHF has sacked the management of the hockey team with the entire Hockey Team tendering their reisgnations after their performance at the World Cup.

While one already knows the situation and state of PCB currently, it is no surprise that PHF is also in a reflecting condition of the cricket board. Qasim Zia, President of the PHF was appointed at this position by the PM through a usual case of bringing relatives and politics in the stream of sports. Asif Bajwa, the Secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, is highly reputed to have come into PHF through his links with an MNA from Sialkot of the ruling party. Bajwa seems to lack the vision to purge the national sport of the country out of its current decline and so far, nothing remarkable from his side has emerged to revive hockey except rumours of his ill-management. It is evident that the state of inertia still persisted in our hockey after the elevation of both Zia and Bajwa to these posts, it is also quite evident that they lack direction, skills and leadership qualities to head the PHF. and should have long resigned after the failures of our Hockey Team.

Shahid Ali Khan, a former Olympian and though a hard-working coach of our team was previously a goal-keeper which is quite a restricted role in the game of hockey. Mr.Khan can not be blamed for a goal-keeper can not have the acumen to coach and that too when the state of the team is already deplorable. Can we expect Salman Akbar, our current goal-keeper to coach the future hockey team of Pakistan? Certainly not.

Our Hockey Players, many of who were playing for a long time, were also decided to be awarded the Central Contracts THIS year, and to get it straight, no player plays to his full potential without the assurance of money to be granted to him to support himself and the deserved respect.

Coming to our cricket board and its famed management that has no such qualifications to be in the management of a sport that is the heart-beat of its nation. The PCB Chairman, Ejaz Butt who played 8 tests in his time from 1959 to 1962 was appointed as the Chairman by President Asif Ali Zardari who is the Patron of Chief of our cricket board [Pakistan is the only country where the President is the Chief of a sports board] on account of his relations with Defence Minister, Ahmed Mukhtar. Butt is neither efficient nor is he capable of running PCB. He seems to have absolutely no knowledge about the game and how to handle the players and the management itself is maladroit.

People like Tauqeer Dar and Abdul Qadir are running private academies for the game of hockey and cricket respectively.
Dar who hails from a family of fine hockey players runs his own ‘Dar Hockey Academy’ in Lahore where any youth can join free of cost and he provides them with all the hockey equipment himself. Coaches are always there to instruct the boys.
Last year, Pakistan’s U1-9 Hockey Team won a Cup of a mega tournament and that team consisted of players who were part of Tauqeer Dar’s academy.

Abdul Qadir also runs his own academy for cricket for youngsters and is a strong critic of those who run the PCB currently.

Both Abdul Qadir and Tauqeer Dar are doing more than just a commendable job for the future of cricket and the latter for the revival of hockey and in producing players that shall take the game to its glorious heights again but as long as the official boards of these games, PHF and PCB are run on the basis of nepotism and politics, the conditions of both hockey and cricket will remain stagnant and exacerbate because that is the result when players are mismanaged and handled by people who lack in skills and knowledge.

It should be realized by now, that to save sports in Pakistan, politics shall be thrown out of it and each appointment should be on the basis of merit.

Hafsa Khawaja