Air Marshal Shahid Lateef joined the PAF in September, 1971 and was commissioned in April, 1974. As the top appointment holder in PAF Academy, he graduated with top honours, and was awarded the coveted Sword of Honour.
Air Marshal Shahid Lateef
Air Marshal Shahid Lateef joined the PAF in September, 1971 and was commissioned in April, 1974. As the top appointment holder in PAF Academy, he graduated with top honours, and was awarded the coveted Sword of Honour. He is also a graduate of Naval War Course and the Armed Forces War Course.
Due to his outstanding performance on the Chinese F-6 aircraft, he converted on to the French Mirages at an early stage of his career. Then he was selected in the elite group of first six PAF pilots to undergo F-16 conversion in the USA. Shahid Lateef was the first pilot to ferry the F-16 from USA to Pakistan in 1982, and subsequently, formed part of the pioneer team for training pilots in Pakistan on the F-16 weapon system.
Shahid Lateef along with his team pilots flew numerous combat missions in defence of the country at the height of Afghan war in the 1980s. He was sent to UAE where he was entrusted with the command of a Mirage squadron; this honour is unprecedented in the Arab countries as only the locals are given such sensitive and prestigious appointments. With this high- profile record, he was selected to command a fighter squadron, fighter wing and a fighter base in the PAF.
After his promotion to the rank of Air vice Marshal, he was handed over the JF-17 project; a programme that was not able to take off due to serious difficulties, forcing the PAF to continue to operate obsolete equipment. Through his relentless efforts, the JF-17 was picked up from the drawing board and ultimately launched into the skies. The completion of this modern fighter aircraft in less than three years is a record in the recent aircraft development history.
It was due to his persevering commitment and the unparalleled progress made by this project that he led this very prestigious national strategic programme for five years as the Chief Project Director. The PAF and indeed the country are indebted to him for this supreme contribution that he has made towards building up the operational capability of the PAF. The aircraft has tremendous potential for export and could thus play a major role in uplifting the national economy by earning hundreds of millions of dollars for Pakistan.
The JF-17 has entered into the PAF and it would go on replacing all aircraft on the PAF inventory except the F-16s which have a remaining life. After this proud achievement, Air vice Marshal Shahid was promoted to the rank of Air Marshal and appointed as the Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Operations). One and a half year later, he took over as Vice Chief of the Air Staff.
Shahid Lateef has led the PAF in many war games held at the National level. Despite his enviable career, he is a very polite, humble and God fearing individual. He is married and has four daughters.