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Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Babar takes command of PAF

Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Babar on has taken charge as the new Chief of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) at a change of command ceremony held in Islamabad.

Outgoing Air chief Mujahid Anwar Khan pinned badges on the new air chief and presented him the command sword.

The outgoing air chief also reviewed a guard of honour and a formation of JF-17 fighter jets presented a salute to him.

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry congratulated Zaheer Ahmad Baber for taking over as the PAF chief.

“Congratulations to Air Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Baber Sindhu on assuming charge of one of the finest air forces of the world, wishing you all the best,” tweeted the minister.

Air Chief Marshal Babar took over the command after his appointment was approved by Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier this week.

The newly-appointed chief joined the PAF in April 1986 as a general duty pilot.

During his career, he has commanded a fighter squadron, a flying wing, an operational airbase and regional air command. In his staff appointments, he has served as assistant chief of the air staff (OR&D), assistant chief of the air staff (Training-Officers) and additional secretary at the Ministry of Defence.

Air Chief Marshal Baber is a graduate of the Combat Commanders’ School, Air War College and Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) in the UK.

Before taking charge as the PAF chief he was serving at the Air Headquarters Islamabad as deputy chief of the air staff (Administration).

He was also awarded the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz (Military), Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Military) and Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Military).

Farewell meeting:

ACM Mujahid Anwar Khan, meanwhile, paid a farewell call on Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“The prime minister appreciated meritorious services of the outgoing air chief rendered in the service of the nation and wished him well,” a statement issued by the Prime Minister Office said.

ACM Khan had an eventful tenure as the air chief. It was under his command that PAF jets shot down two intruding Indian Air Force fighters during aerial skirmishes in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack.

ACM Khan, an official statement said, “played a visionary role in planning and execution of the Operation Swift Retort”. The successful response of PAF, it said, established the credibility of Pakistan’s conventional deterrence in maintaining strategic edge in the region.

President Arif Alvi, meanwhile, on Wednesday conferred Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Civil) on the retiring air chief in recognition of his services for the country and raising the morale of the people of Pakistan in the Operation Swift Retort.

The investiture ceremony was held at the President House, which was attended by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and senior civil and military officers.

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