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Air Chief Marshal Abbas Khattak, NI(M), SBt, (born 16 July, 1943) served as Chief of Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force from 8 November, 1994 to 7 November, 1997.

Initial air force career

Khattak came from the humble beginnings in his village of Jehangira near Peshawarmarker. One of four children, he graduated from Cadet College Hasan Abdalmarker and then joined PAF Academy. He entered the Pakistan Air Force on 20 January, 1963 in the 35th GD(P) Course. Thereafter, he went to the United States Air Force where he got commission from Maxwell Air Force Basemarker, Montgomery, Alabamamarker.

During his career, Khattak took part in three wars. The first was the 1965 war, in which he was one of the eight fighter pilots who took part in the famous attack on Pathankotmarker airfield led by Squadron Leader Sajjad Haider from the No. 19 Squadron (Sherdils). During the 1971 war, he was based in Sargodha Airbasemarker.

Khattak is a graduate of Pilot Training Course, USAmarker; Flying Instructors' School Course, Risalpurmarker; Air Command and Staff Collegemarker, USA; Armed Forces War Course at National Defence College, Rawalpindi; and Royal College of Defence Studiesmarker, UK.

Command and staff appointments

His command appointments include; Officer Commanding No. 15 Squadron; Officer Commanding, No. 33 Wing; Officer Commanding, Combat Commanders' School; Base Commander, Faisal Airbasemarker and Masroor Airbasemarker; and Air Officer Commanding, Southern Air Command.

His staff appointments include; Director of Flight Safety, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Plans), Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Training) and Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Operations).

Chief of Air Staff

Abbas Khattak was appointed as Chief of Air Staff on 8 November, 1994. At promotion, he superseded at least two senior officers; Air Marshal Shafique Haider, then Vice Chief of Air Staff and Air Marshal Dilawar Hussain, then Chairman Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. During his tenure as the Air Chief, Khattak tried to acquire the Frenchmarker Dassault Mirage 2000-5 as an alternative to the F-16, after U.S military embargoes. Unfortunately for him and the then Government, the President of Pakistan dissolved the national assembly on charges of corruption - a major arms deal was averted. During his tenure, Pakistan worked with China to develop the K-8 Karakorum. After his retirement he was succeeded by Air Marshal Parvaiz Mehdi Qureshi.

He is married and has two sons.


  1. The Story of the Pakistan Air Force 1988-1998: A Battle Against Odds (Oxford University Press, 2000)
  2. Asia Pacific Defense Forum Spring 1998

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