Note: This blog post series is dedicated to our “Unsung Heroes/Heroines” our non-Muslim Pakistani brothers/sisters, for their valuable contributions to their homeland. We want to pay tribute to all (one by one) our Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Parsi, Baha’i, Buddhist and all other fellow Pakistani brothers/sisters following any faith other than the faith of the majority.
Name: Cecil Chaudhry (Group Captain – Pakistan Air Force)
Time period: 27 August 1941 – 13 April 2012
Life overview: 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 later, 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, destroyed the Amritsar Radar Station in a difficult attack. He was awarded the Sitara-e-Jurat (Star of Courage) for his actions during that mission.
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.
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. Cecil Chaudhary is famously known for his astonishing combat against enemy jets in 1965. For his services, he was awarded “Sitara e Jurrat” and “Tamgha e Jurrat”.
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. He retired from this post in July 2011.
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.
Cecil Chaudhry died at the age of 70 in Lahore on 13 April 2012 after a battle with lung cancer. In August 2013, he was conferred with the President’s Pride of Performance Award upon Cecil Chaudhry.
His daughter Michelle Chaudhry founded the Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation, an NGO active in the defence of minorities in Pakistan, in his memory.
- Cecil Chaudhary is famously known for his astonishing combat against enemy jets in 1965
- Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
- Operation Eagle Stike
- Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
- Operation Chengiz Khan
- Sitara-e-Jurat (1965)
- Tamgha-i-Jurat (1971)
- President’s Pride of Pride of Performance (2013)
Please feel free to pay your own tribute to the above hero/heroine(s) using the comments section, or provide us additional, but authentic, information about him/her on the above person/group or even suggest a name to be covered. Thanks.
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June 18, 2020
The writer is a professional marketer and engineer with good work exposure to governments, and businesses and industries in the private sector in several countries. Idea is to take the first step in adding value to anything that one gets exposed to instead of just complaining about the same.