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March 8, 2012

Air Marshal Tahir Rafique new PAF chief

 
March 8, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Upholding the principle of seniority, President Asif Ali Zardari appointed Air Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt the new Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) to succeed the outgoing Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman.
“President Asif Ali Zardari, on the advice of the prime minister, has approved the appointment of Air Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt as CAS,” said an announcement here on Wednesday.
Presidency spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman is due to retire on March 18, 2012 on the completion of his three-year-long tenure. “Air Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt will be granted the rank of Air Chief Marshal from the date he assumes charge of the appointment,” he added.
Air Marshal Butt will assume the command of PAF on March 19. He is regarded as a reputed and highly professional officer amongst his colleagues. “He will be taking over the command of the most-respected PAF at a highly critical time when both the Air Force and Army are confronted with multiple challenges in the context of the war on terror,” said a defence analyst. “Army and the PAF have been collaborating in fighting out terrorism and militancy on an almost routine basis with their eyes set to flush out militants from Pakistani soil.”
However, the biggest challenge would be to stop Pakistani air space from being violated by the United States through drones that hit targets inside Pakistan, and air violations by US jets on a daily basis. “With Pakistan entering elections in 12 months’ time, any air space violation either from its western or eastern border would not auger well for the government, armed forces and the people,” said an observer.
Born in 1955, Air Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt received his early education at PAF Public School, Sargodha. Subsequently, he joined PAF and graduated from PAF Academy, Risalpur in March 1977. After doing his Fighter and Operational Conversion Courses, he has flown various types of fighters and

training aircraft on PAF Inventory. He is a qualified Flying Instructor and also a Combat Commander on Fighters. He has commanded an elite Fighter Squadron, a Fighter Flying Wing and two PAF bases.
In staff jobs at Air Headquarters, the Air Marshal has served as Deputy Director Plans, Director Flight Safety, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (P-O) in Personnel Branch and Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Training). In senior staff assignments, the Air Marshal has the distinction of having served as Director General National Accountability Bureau (KP) Commandant National Security College, NDU, Air Officer Commanding Southern Air Command and Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (Personnel). Currently, he is serving as Vice Chief of the Air Staff, PAF. He is a graduate of Staff College, Turkey and National Defence University, Islamabad from where he did his MSc in Defence and Strategic Studies.
He is married and blessed with three children. In recognition of his meritorious and exceptionally dedicated services, he has been decorated with the awards of Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military), Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Military) and Tamgha-e-Basalat.

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