Former chief of air staff Air Chief Marshal Asghar Khan passed away on Friday morning, according to family sources.
He was 96 years old and is survived by a son and several grandchildren.
Details of his funeral are yet to be revealed by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Earlier reports stated that his burial will be held on Saturday in his native village of Nawa Shehar, Abbottabad.
In 1957, Khan became the first native Commander-in-Chief of PAF.
After retiring from the PAF, he became the president of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) which he headed until 1968.
In 1970, Khan founded the Tehreek-e-Istiqlal, but the party could not dent the vote bank of other major parties of the time, such as the Pakistan Peoples Party.
Later, Khan merged his party with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 2012.
Among the series of condolence messages on Twitter, PTI leader Imran Khan stated:
Saddened to learn of Air Chief Marshal Asghar Khan’s death early this morning. He transformed the PAF and was a man of steadfast principles and integrity. My prayers and condolences go to his family.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) January 5, 2018
The late air chief will also be remembered for the famous Asghar Khan case in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
On October 19, 2012, the apex court issued a 141-page verdict, ordering legal proceedings against former army chief General Mirza Aslam Beg and former ISI chief Lt Gen Durrani in a case filed 16 years ago by Asghar Khan.
Khan had petitioned the Supreme Court in 1996 alleging that the two senior army officers and the then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan had doled out Rs140 million among several politicians ahead of the 1990 polls to ensure Benazir Bhutto’s defeat in the polls.
The Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), consisting of nine parties including the Pakistan Muslim League, National Peoples Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, had won the 1990 elections, with Nawaz Sharif being elected prime minister. The alliance had been formed to oppose the Benazir Bhutto-led Pakistan Peoples Party.
In 1996, Khan had written a letter to the then Supreme Court Chief Justice Nasim Hassan Shah naming Beg, Durrani and Younis Habib, the ex-Habib Bank Sindh chief and owner of Mehran Bank, about the unlawful disbursement of public money and its misuse for political purposes.
The 2012 apex court judgment, authored by the then-Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry, had directed the Federal Investigation Agency to initiate a transparent investigation and subsequent trial if sufficient evidence is found against the former army officers.
That investigation is yet to conclude. In May 2017, the PTI had said it would approach the Supreme Court over the FIA’s failure to follow through on the apex court’s order in the case.