Chief of Air Staff (Pakistan)

The Chief of the Air Staff (Urdu: سربراہ پاک فضائيہ) (reporting name: CAS), is a military appointment and a statutory office held by an Air Chief Marshal in the Pakistan Air Force, who is appointed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan and final confirmation by the President of Pakistan.[2] The CAS is the highest-ranking officer of the Pakistan Air Force and only pilots are appointed in this post.

Chief of the Air Staff
رئیسِ عملۂ پاک فضائیہ
Air Force Ensign of Pakistan
Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan

since 19 March 2018
Ministry of Defence
Air Force Secretariat-II at MoD[1]
Member ofJoint Chiefs of Staff Committee
Reports toPrime Minister of Pakistan
Minister of Defence
SeatAir AHQ
Islamabad in Pakistan
NominatorPrime Minister of Pakistan
AppointerPresident of Pakistan
Term length3 years
Renewable only once
PrecursorCommander-in-Chief of the Air Force
FormationMarch 3, 1972 (1972-03-03)
First holderAir Mshl Zafar Chaudhry (as Chief of Air Staff)
SuccessionOn basis of seniority, subjected to the decision of the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Unofficial namesAir chief
DeputyVice Chief of Air Staff (VCAS)
SalaryAccording to Pakistan Military officer's Pay Grade(apex Scale)
WebsiteOfficial website

The Chief of the Air Staff is a senior most military appointment in the Pakistani military who is a senior member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee in a separate capacity, usually providing necessary consultation to the Chairman joint chiefs to act as a principal military adviser to the Prime Minister and its civilian government in the line of defending and guarding the nations's airspace and aerial borders.:40[3][4]

The Chief of Air Staff exercise its responsibility of command and control of the operational, administration, combatant, logistics, and training commands within the Air Force, as an oppose to its U.S. Air Force's Chief of Staff.:140[3] Due to its statue, the Chief of Air Staff maintain its importance of providing the strategic control and final decision-making issues relating the nation's national security.[4]

The appointment, in principle, is constitutionally subjected for three years but extensions may be granted by the President upon recommendations and approvals from the Prime Minister. The Chief of Air Staff is based on the Air AHQ, and the current Chief of Air Staff is Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan.[2]


The Pakistan Air Force was created from the partition of the Royal Indian Air Force after the partition of India in 1947, and were commanded by the appointments approved by the British Air Council. The position was then-known as the Commander in Chief who would directly reported to the Governor-General who was also under British monarchs.:238[5] At first, the office was held by the two-star rank air officer, an Air Vice Marshal, and later upgraded to a three-star rank, Air Marshal. The British Air Council continued making the appointment at the command level until 1957, when Pakistan had promoted a local air officer to the commanding position.:238[5]

On 20 March 1972, the title of the office was changed from "Commander in Chief" to the "Chief of Air Staff" with Air Marshal Zafar Chaudhry being appointed as the first person to hold the latter title.:contents[6] The Air Force had its first four-star rank officer, an Air Chief Marshal, in 1974.:contents[7] The term of the superannuation was then constrained to three years in the office as opposed to four years and air chief was made a permanent member of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.:contents[6][4] Since 1974, there has been 14 four-star rank air force officers who have commanded the air force as its air chief.:contents[6]

The Chief of Air Staff is nominated and appointed by the Prime Minister whose appointment is then confirmed by the President.[2] The air force leadership is based in the Air AHQ in Islamabad, at the vicinity of the Navy NHQ.[4]

The Chief of Air Staff leads the functions of the Air AHQ, assisted by the civilians from the Air Force Secretariat-II of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).[1] The Chief of Air Staff exercise its responsibility of complete operational, training and logistics commands.[4] In addition, the Air chief has several staff officers:

    • Vice Chief of Air Staff
      • Deputy Chief of Air Staff Aerial Support (DCAS(S))
      • Deputy Chief of Air Staff Training and Evaluation (DCAS (T&E))
      • Deputy Chief of Air Staff Air Operations (DCAS AO)
      • Deputy Chief of Air Staff Personnel (DCAS P)
      • Deputy Chief of Air Staff Engineering (DCAS (E))
      • Director-General C4ISTAR (DG C4ISTAR)
      • Commander Air Force Strategic Command

List of Chiefs of Air Staff

Commanders-in-Chief of the Pakistan Air Force

No. Commander-in-ChiefTook officeLeft officeTime in office
Perry-Keene, AllanAir Vice Marshal
Allan Perry-Keene CB, OBE
15 August 194717 February 19491 year, 186 days
Atcherley, RichardAir Vice Marshal
Richard Atcherley CB, CBE, AFC
18 February 19496 May 19512 years, 77 days
Cannon, LeslieAir Vice Marshal
Leslie William Cannon CB, CBE
7 May 195119 June 19554 years, 43 days
McDonald, ArthurAir Vice Marshal
Arthur McDonald CB, AFC
20 June 195522 July 19572 years, 32 days
Khan, AsgharAir Marshal
Asghar Khan HPk, HQA
23 July 195722 July 19657 years, 364 days
Khan, NurAir Marshal
Nur Khan SPk, HJ, HQA
23 July 196531 August 19694 years, 40 days
Khan, AbdurAir Marshal
Abdur Rahim Khan SPk, HJ, SBt
1 September 19692 March 19722 years, 183 days

Chiefs of Air Staff of Pakistan Air Force

Rank insignia of the whole PAF was changed from Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed.

No. Chief of Air StaffTook officeLeft officeTime in office
Chaudhry, ZafarAir Marshal
Zafar Chaudhry SQA
(born 1926)
3 March 197215 April 19742 years, 43 days
Khan, ZulfiqarAir Chief Marshal
Zulfiqar Ali Khan NI(M)
16 April 197422 July 19784 years, 97 days
Shamim, AnwarAir Chief Marshal
Anwar Shamim NI(M), SJ
23 July 19785 March 19856 years, 226 days
Khan, JamalAir Chief Marshal
Jamal Khan NI(M), SJ, SBt
(born 1934)
5 March 19858 March 19883 years, 3 days
Durrani, HakeemullahAir Chief Marshal
Hakeemullah Khan Durrani NI(M), SJ, SBt
(born 1935)
9 March 19889 March 19913 years, 0 days
Khan, FarooqAir Chief Marshal
Farooq Feroze Khan NI(M), SBt
(born 1939)
9 March 19918 November 19943 years, 244 days
Khattak, AbbasAir Chief Marshal
Abbas Khattak NI(M), SBt
(born 1943)
8 November 19947 November 19972 years, 364 days
Qureshi, PervaizAir Chief Marshal
Pervaiz Mehdi Qureshi NI(M), SBt
(born 1943)
7 November 199720 November 20003 years, 13 days
Mir, MushafAir Chief Marshal
Mushaf Ali Mir NI(M), SBt
20 November 200020 February 2003 2 years, 92 days
Saadat, KaleemAir Chief Marshal
Kaleem Saadat NI(M)
(born 1951)
18 March 200318 March 20063 years, 0 days
Ahmed, TanvirAir Chief Marshal
Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed NI(M), SBt
(born 1952)
18 March 200618 March 20093 years, 0 days
Suleman, RaoAir Chief Marshal
Rao Qamar Suleman NI(M), HI(M), SI(M), TI(M), SBt
(born 1954)
19 March 200919 March 20123 years, 0 days
Butt, TahirAir Chief Marshal
Tahir Rafique Butt NI(M), TBt
(born 1955)
19 March 201219 March 20153 years, 0 days
Aman, SohailAir Chief Marshal
Sohail Aman NI(M), HI(M), SI(M), TI(M)
(born 1959)
19 March 201519 March 20183 years, 0 days
Khan, MujahidAir Chief Marshal
Mujahid Anwar Khan NI(M), HI(M), SI(M), TI(M)
(born 1962)
19 March 2018Incumbent1 year, 273 days

Vice Chief of Air Staff

The Vice Chief of Air Staff (VCAS) is the post that is principal deputy and second-in-command (S-in-C) of the Pakistan Air Force, reporting under the Chief of Air Staff.[4] The post is usually held by an Air Marshal, a three-star rank air force general, who is responsible for flight safety, intelligence, procurement, public relations, and the Air War College.[4]

See also


  1. MoD, Ministry of Defence. "Organogram of MoD" (PDF). Ministry of Defence Press. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  2. Mateen Haider; Irfan Haider (18 March 2015). "Air Marshal Sohail Aman appointed as new air chief". DAWN.COM. Dawn Newspaper, Islamabad. Dawn Newspapers. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  3. Cheema, Pervaiz Iqbal (2002). "Defence Administration". The Armed Forces of Pakistan (google books) (1st ed.). New York, U.S.: NYU Press. p. 225. ISBN 9780814716335. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  4. Usman, Shabbir (2003). "Command & Structure control". PakDef Military Consortium. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  5. Cheema, Pervaiz I.; Riemer, Manuel (1990). Pakistan's Defence Policy 1947-58. Springer. ISBN 9781349209422. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  6. Alam, Dr Shah (2012). "Modernization under Bhutto". Pakistan Army: Modernisation, Arms Procurement and Capacity Building (googlebooks). Vij Books India Pvt Ltd. ISBN 9789381411797. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  7. Ramsey, Syed (2017). "Recovery from 1971 war". Pakistan and Islamic Militancy in South Asia (google books). Vij Books India Pvt Ltd. ISBN 9789386367433. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
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