Vice Adm. A.R. Khan

First Chairman Board of Governors (1960-1966)


Vice Adm. A.R. Khan

By Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui, Kit no. 671, Latif House

Vice Admiral Afzal Akram Rahman Khan (generally known as A.R. Khan) was the first Chairman Board of Governors of Cadet College Petaro from 1960-1966.

He was born in 1921 in British India and died of old age in 2005 at Islamabad.

As Vice Admiral, he retired from the Pakistan Navy as Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Navy in 1966.

A.R. Khan was commissioned in the Royal Navy as a midshipman 1938. He participated in the II World War.

With the independence of Pakistan in 1947, A.R. Khan moved to Karachi and joined the Royal Pakistan Navy. In 1949, when the first destroyer PNS Tariq was inducted into Pakistan Navy, Lt.Cdr. A.R. Khan became its commanding officer. A year later in 1950, he became commanding officer of the destroyer PNS Tippu Sultan.

As commander of the destroyer PNS Tippu Sultan, he sailed on goodwill visits to Jeddah, Malta Venice, Athens, Istanbul, Izmir and Crete. While in the Mediterranean Sea, PNS Tippu Sultan took part in winter exercises at Malta under his command. Upon return, he was promoted to the rank of a commander.

In March 1951, Cdr. A.R.Khan as the commanding officer of Tippu Sultan was a part of Force 91 of the Royal Pakistan Navy that sailed to Trincomalee where it participated in night shadowing encounter exercise with two frigates of the Royal Navy. At Trincomalee, they had a rendezvous with a large force (9 ships) of the Royal Navy, the Indian Navy and the Royal Ceylon Navy. It led to 14 days of strenuous exercises in harbour and at sea. The officers and men from these ships also took part in various Inter Services Tournaments.

He rose up through the ranks very quickly during the 1950s, while he helped establish Naval Intelligence and helped commission naval bases at Karachi. He was influential in expanding Pakistan Navy operations in East and West Pakistan.

In 1959 he was elevated to the rank of a Vice Admiral and appointed the Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Navy. He remained in this position until 1966. He is the longest serving chief of the Pakistan Navy.

As the Commander-in-Chief, he led Pakistan Navy during the 1965 War against India. His leadership was critical to the destruction of the radars at Dwarka that stopped the Indian Navy and Air Force from advancing attacks on to Karachi. He led several successful naval operations during the war, which earned him the Hilal-e-Jurat award after the war.

He is also considered to be the father of the Submarine Service branch of Pakistan Navy. He was instrumental in inducting the submarines PNS Ghazi and PNS Hangor. He also sent numerous officers to the UK and USA for training.

In 1966, while he still remained active as a Vice Admiral, he was appointed the Interior and Defence Minister of Pakistan under the Ayub government. He remained as a minister until 1969 when he resigned in protest when General Yahya Khan announced martial law in the country on 25 March 1969.

He then moved to Islamabad and spent the rest of his years in quiet retirement until his death in 2005.

In recognition to his meritorious services, the admiral was also decorated with Hilal-e-Pakistan and Hilal-e-Quaid-e-Azam. Pakistan Navy also honoured him by naming its first establishment at Gwadar as PNS Akram after him in 1987.

Vice Admiral A.R.Khan played a key role during the initial years of Cadet College Petaro as well, by being the First Chairman of the Board of Governors of the college from 1960-1966.