Cecil Chaudhry

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Cecil Chaudhry
Born(1941-08-27)27 August 1941
Died13 April 2012(2012-04-13) (aged 70)
Alma mater St. Anthony High School, Lahore, Forman Christian College
Military career
AllegianceFlag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan
Service/branchAir Force Ensign of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan Air Force
Years of service1958–1986
Rank Group Captain
Unit No. 5 Squadron Fighting Falcons
Commands held Masroor Air Force Base
Sargodha Air Force Base
No. 32 Fighter Ground Attack Wing
No. 38 Multi-Role Wing
Combat Commander's School
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Operation Eagle Strike
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Operation Chengiz Khan
Awards Sitara-e-Jurat (1965)
Tamgha-i-Jurat (1971)
Other work Educationist

Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry (27 August 1941 – 13 April 2012) was a Pakistani academic, human rights activist, and veteran fighter pilot. As a flight lieutenant, he fought in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 and as a squadron leader in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. During the 1965 war, Chaudhry and three other pilots, under the leadership of Wing Commander Anwar Shamim, attacked the Amritsar Radar Station in a difficult operation. He was awarded the Sitara-e-Jurat (Star of Courage) for his actions during that mission.

Pakistan federal parliamentary constitutional republic in South Asia

Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212,742,631 people. In area, it is the 33rd-largest country, spanning 881,913 square kilometres. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.

Fighter pilot Military combat aviator

A fighter pilot is a military aviator trained to engage in air-to-air combat while in the cockpit of a fighter aircraft. Fighter pilots undergo specialized training in aerial warfare and dogfighting. A fighter pilot with at least five air-to-air kills becomes known as an ace.

Flight Lieutenant is a junior commissioned rank in air forces that use the Royal Air Force (RAF) system of ranks, especially in Commonwealth countries. It has a NATO rank code of OF-2. Flight lieutenant is abbreviated as Flt Lt in the Indian Air Force (IAF) and RAF, and as FLTLT in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) and has sometimes also been abbreviated as F/L in many services; however, it has never been correctly abbreviated as "lieutenant". A flight lieutenant ranks above flying officer and below a squadron leader and is sometimes used as an English language translation of a similar rank in non-English-speaking countries.


Early life

Chaudhry was born on 27 August 1941 to the only Christian (Roman Catholic) family of the village Dalwal, located in the Salt Range. His father, Elmer Chaudhry, hailing from East Punjab and then based in Lahore, was chief photographer with The Times, Lahore, as well as a physics and mathematics teacher at St. Anthony's High School. Chaudhry was schooled at St. Anthony's, before pursuing higher studies at the Forman Christian College, Lahore where he received his B.S. in physics.

Christians people who adhere to Christianity

Christians are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The words Christ and Christian derive from the Koine Greek title Christós (Χριστός), a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mashiach (מָשִׁיחַ).

Dalwal Place in Punjab, Pakistan

Dalwal is a village and union council, an administrative subdivision, of Chakwal District in the Punjab Province of Pakistan, it is part of Choa Saidan Shah Tehsil and is located at 32°42'0N 72°52'60E

Salt Range hill system in the Punjab province of Pakistan

The Salt Range is a hill system in the Punjab province of Pakistan, deriving its name from its extensive deposits of rock salt. The range extends along the south of the Pothohar Plateau and the North of the Jhelum River. The Salt Range contains the great mines of Khewra, Kalabagh and Warcha which yield vast supplies of salt. Coal of a medium quality is also found.

Air Force career

As an Air Scout, he was awarded his glider pilot’s wings in 1956 by the then President of Pakistan, Iskander Mirza, at a ceremony in Karachi. He was admitted into the Pakistan Air Force Academy on 12 March 1958 and enrolled in the engineering program. In 1960, he received his double B.Sc. in aeronautics and mechanical engineering along with becoming an ace fighter pilot upon graduating from the PAF Academy.

Iskander Mirza President of Pakistan

Sahibzada Iskander Ali Mirza, CIE, OSS, OBE, was a Bengali bureaucrat who served as the first President of Pakistan, elected in this capacity in 1956 until being dismissed by his appointed army commander General Ayub Khan in 1958.

Pakistan Air Force Academy National air force training school

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Academy is an accredited four-year military academy which provides undergraduate education to officer candidates for the Pakistan Air Force.The eligible and selected candidates from all around Pakistan are sent to PAF Academy Risalpur for flying training. It is located in the town of Risalpur in Nowshera District of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in northwestern Pakistan, it is a premier cadet training institution of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) which offers academic professional degrees. Its role is the training of General Duty Pilots (GDP), Aeronautical and Avionics Engineers and the initial training of other Ground Branch cadets. Cadets of all branches join the academy following a recommendation by the Inter Services Selection Board (ISSB) of Pakistan and the Air Headquarters Special Selection Board for Short Service Commission candidates. Graduates of the Academy's four-year program receive a Bachelor of Science degree, and most are commissioned as flying officers (lieutenants) in the Pakistan Air Force.

Engineering applied science

Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other things, including bridges, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied mathematics, applied science, and types of application. See glossary of engineering.

Later life

Cecil Chaudhry became an educationalist after leaving the air force and was affiliated with the Punjab Education Foundation. He served as principal of St. Anthony's College for many years, before becoming principal of Saint Mary's Academy, Lalazar, Rawalpindi, succeeding Sister Eileen Ann Daffy. [1] He retired from this post in July 2011.

Rawalpindi Metropolis City in Punjab, Pakistan

Rawalpindi, commonly known as Pindi, is a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Rawalpindi is adjacent to Pakistan's capital of Islamabad, and the two are jointly known as the "twin cities" on account of strong social and economic links between the cities. Rawalpindi is the fourth-largest city in Pakistan by population, while the larger Islamabad Rawalpindi metropolitan area is the country's third-largest metropolitan area.

Chaudhry remained an influential, independent human rights activist, as well as working for the betterment of children with disabilities and for educational reform. He advised and worked closely with the late Shahbaz Bhatti from the early 1990s onwards and had been Executive Secretary of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) since its inception. He was also affiliated with the National Commission for Justice and Peace and was instrumental in leading the fourteen-year campaign that led to the restoration of Pakistan's joint electorate system in 2002. [2]

Shahbaz Bhatti Minister for Minorities Affairs, Pakistan

Clement Shahbaz Bhatti, popularly known as Shahbaz Bhatti, was a Pakistani politician and elected member of the National Assembly from 2008. He was the first Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs from November 2008 until his assassination on 2 March 2011 in Islamabad and the only Christian in the Cabinet. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for his killing and called him a blasphemer of Muhammad. In March 2016, five years after the death of Shahbaz Bhatti, his cause for beatification was formally opened by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, making him a Servant of God within the Roman Catholic Church.

The All Pakistan Minorities Alliance is a group that opposes violence and discrimination against religious minorities in Pakistan. Shahbaz Bhatti, an outspoken critic of Pakistan's blasphemy laws founded the group, to advocate for government protection of Christians, as well as other minority groups like Hindus, Sufis and Ahmadis. Paul Bhatti is the current leader.

The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) was formed in 1985 by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Pakistan. It provides services in the field of human rights advocacy. It has seven regional offices in Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Hyderabad and Quetta, Karachi and a head office in Lahore, which provide legal aid and human rights education. Under the legal aid program, the commission provides legal counselling and financial assistance. NCJP has dealt with about 800 cases during their first 22 years.

Death and legacy

Cecil Chaudhry died at the age of 70 in Lahore on 13 April 2012 after a battle with lung cancer. [3] In August 2013, President Asif Ali Zardari approved the conferment of the President's Pride of Performance Award upon Cecil Chaudhry. [4]

Asif Ali Zardari politician in Pakistan

Asif Ali Zardari is a Pakistani politician and the former co-chairperson of Pakistan People's Party. He served as the 11th President of Pakistan from 2008 to 2013, the first president born after Partition. He is member of National Assembly of Pakistan since August 2018.

The President's Award for Pride of Performance is one of the awards conferred by the Government of Pakistan on Pakistani civilians in recognition of distinguished meritorious work in the fields of literature, arts, sports, medicine, and science. It has no particular official standing in the Pakistani civil decorations hierarchy.

His daughter Michelle Chaudhry founded the Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation, an NGO active in the defence of minorities in Pakistan, in his memory. [5]

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  1. "Children from St Anthony's High School, Lahore, in city August 1, 2006".
  2. http://religioncompass.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/blasphemy-laws-and-the-persecution-of-minorities-in-pakistan3.pdf Benedict Rogers, 2009
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/david-griffiths/the-unsung-hero-of-pakist_b_1611275.html – Tribute to Cecil Chaudhry, David Griffiths, 2012
  4. http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24773-President-approves-civil-awards – President approves civil awards, 14 August 2013
  5. Asia News 8 April 2014