Today marks Pakistan’s 54th Air Force Day. This day is celebrated to pay tribute to the martyrs from the Pakistan Air Force who sacrificed their lives in defending the country.
A day earlier, on 6th September, the nation observed Defence day to pay tributes to the martyrs and ghazis and reaffirm commitment to defend the motherland against all threats.
Dialogue Pakistan pays tribute to all the Pakistan Air Force’s heroes for defending our motherland and for sacrificing their lives for the country. Here are some prominent Pakistan Air Force officers to be remembered on this day.
The hero of 1965 war Muhammad Mahmood Alam (MM Alam) was born on July 6, 1935 in Kolkata, India and joined PAF in 1952.
According to the PAF, MM Alam shot 5 Indian jets in less than a minute, the first four within 30 seconds and established a world record which is still unbroken. The list of his kills is as follow.
- Squadron Leader Ajit Kumar Rawlley, No. 7 Sqn, KIA near Tarn Taran.
- Squadron Leader Onkar Nath Kacker, No. 27 Sqn, POW
- Squadron Leader Suresh B Bhagwat, No. 7 Sqn
- Flying Officer Jagdev Singh Brar, No. 7 Sqn, KIA, near Sangla Hill.
- Flying Officer Farokh Dara Bunsha, No. 7 Sqn, KIA, near Amritsar
For his heroics in the war, MM Alam was awarded “Sitara-e-Jurat.”
Rashid Minhas was born on February 17 1951 and remains the youngest officer to receive Nishan- e- Haider. He was the the first recipient of the highest honor of gallantry for the Pakistan Air Force.
As an under training pilot, Minhas was taxiing out a T-33 Jet trainer for take-off on August 20, 1971 when a Bengali pilot instructor, Flight Lieutenant Mataur Rahman seized the aircraft, headed towards India and knocked Minhas out in mid-air.
Rashid regained consciousness and tried to regain control of his aircraft with just 40 miles of Pakistan territory remaining. Minhas could not stop Mataur Rahman but he forced that plane to crash just 32 miles from the Indian border, deliberately sacrificed his life for the honor of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s first female fighter Marium Mukhtiar embraced shahadat on 24th November, 2015 in a crash during training exercise.
Marium Mukhtiar abandoned the F7 fighter jet along with her co-pilot towards the end of a routine training exercise in central Pakistan.
Although, Marium and her co-pilot ejected before the aircraft crashed, she later died from her injuries. In a statement, the Pakistan Air Force said that the 23-year-old was the first of its women pilots to “embrace martyrdom.”
Hassan Siddiqui and Nauman Ali Khan
On February 14, tensions escalated dramatically between Pakistan and India when a young man – a native of Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) – rammed an explosives-laden car into an Indian military convoy. India blamed Pakistan for the the suicide bombing.
On 27th of February, Indian Air Force violated Pakistani airspace but Hassan Siddiqui and Nauman Ali shot down two Indian fighter jets and captured of the pilot, Abhinandan.
For their bravery, Wing Commander Muhammad Nouman Ali was conferred with Sitar-e-Jurat while Squadron Leader Hassan Mahmood Siddiqui was awarded with Tamgha-e-Shujaat.