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Thursday, 22 October 2015

PAF'S UNSUNG HEROES: Pak Pilots Helped Muslim World.

PAF’s Unsung Heroes
Who put their lives on the line
for the Ummah
But Arabs never appreciated
nor mentioned their services!

(M. Javed Naseem)

(United States Air Force honored Saiful Azam and he became "one of the 22 'Living Eagles' of the world".)
This is to remind you of a forgotten hero who served Pakistan Air Force and then migrated to Bangladesh. In the 1965-War against India, he was awarded “Sitara-e-Jur’at” and promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader. He is the "Top Gun", Saiful Azam.

In the fall of 1966, Azam, along with other Pakistani technicians, was sent to the Royal Jordanian Air Force as a Tech. Advisor but soon got trapped in the Arab-Israeli war of June 1967. He was deputed to defend his host-land and he delivered. Then he was dispatched to Iraq to render the same service. And he delivered again.
After scoring four kills in just two days (a remarkable feat), Azam was awarded an Iraqi medal for bravery and was inducted into Jordan’s Order of Independence.
After serving two more years in the Middle East, Azam returned to Pakistan. In 1971, after the independence of Bangladesh, he joined the air force of his new homeland. In 1980, he retired from the military.

Arab-Israeli War of 1967:

The famous Six-Day War, also called the Third Arab-Israeli War, that took place June 5–10, 1967, was the decisive victory of Israel and it included the capture of the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, Old City of Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.  Later on, the status of these territories became a major point of contention in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The Arab countries’ (Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq) losses in the conflict were disastrous. Egypt’s casualties numbered more than 11,000, with 6,000 for Jordan and 1,000 for Syria, compared with only 700 for Israel.

The Six-Day War also marked the start of a new phase in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, since the conflict created hundreds of thousands of refugees and brought more than one million Palestinians in the occupied territories under Israeli rule.

So much is written about this conflict in the Arab world but hardly anything about those Pakistanis who were the real heroes of that lost war. As a matter of fact, Pakistani servicemen have been helping UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Jordan and other Muslim countries for a long time. They did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the Muslim Ummah.

Recently, when Pakistan army refused to join hands with the Anglo-American-Israeli-Arab coalition in bombing the Muslim country Yemen, the UAE and Saudi Arabia were quick to shamelessly criticize Pakistan with harsh words as if Pakistanis were their slaves. They conveniently forgot all the previous favors Pakistan had extended to them.

Pakistan had a contingent of
at least 16 pilots who served
as volunteers in Jordan, Egypt,
Syria and Iraq in 1967 and 1973
Arab-Israeli wars.

Here’s a small article written by an Arab journalist, based in America, and published in the ‘Al-Arabiya’ some time ago, about the unsung heroes of Pakistan who put their lives on the line for their Muslim brothers of the Arab world.
(Ali Younes is a writer, journalist and Middle East analyst based in Washington, D.C.)
By Ali Younes
Special to ‘Al-Arabiya’

This past June marked the 48th anniversary of the Arab defeat of the 1967 war. War is normally measured by its final outcome, but many individual heroes faithfully sacrificed their lives for the Arab side, defending the honor of their nations. The actions of those men deserve to be highlighted and explained, especially the contributions of the Pakistani pilot Saiful Azam and the brave Jordanian soldiers of the battle of Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem.

At 12:48 p.m. on June 5, four Israeli jets were descending on Jordan’s Mafraq air base to smash the country’s tiny air force, shortly after the entire Egyptian air force had been reduced to rubble.

To intercept the incoming attack, Jordanian air force commanders deputized Flt. Lt. Saiful Azam, who was on loan as an advisor from Pakistan. Once airborne with other Jordanian pilots, Saiful Azam engaged the attacking aircrafts in an air-to-air combat, shooting down a Mystére commanded by Israeli pilot H. Boleh and shot and damaging another that crash-landed in Israeli territory.

Two days later he was urgently dispatched to Iraq along with several Jordanian pilots to defend the Iraqi air bases against the Israeli air force which by then had ruled without any challenge the Arab skies over Egypt, Syria, Jordan and now Iraq. Here, he again was deputized by the Iraqi air force, along with top Jordanian pilot Ihsan Shurdom, who later became the commander of Jordanian air force, to fly its Hunters in defense of its H-3 and al-Walid air bases. Once airborne the Jordanian and Iraqi pilots with Saiful Azam leading the formation intercepted the attacking Israeli aircrafts that ended up of the shooting down two of Azam’s Iraqi wingmen by the attacking Israelis. It was then when Saiful Azam used his air combat skills flying the Iraqi Hunter shot down two of the Israeli attacking planes. 
(Pakistani pilot Saiful Azam, as a young Fl.-Lt., in the 1960s (Photo courtesy AP)
Within 72 hours, Saiful Azam became the only fighter-pilot in the world to hold the record of shooting down three confirmed kills of Israeli aircrafts in air-to-air combat, a record that still stands today.

His other records included being the only fighter pilot to fly in three air forces ─ Pakistani, Jordanian, and Iraqi. Adding to his record, was his downing of an Indian Gnat aircraft during the Pakistani war with India in 1965, making him yet again the only pilot to shoot down three kinds of military aircrafts in two different air forces.

Azam was honored and awarded medals in Iraq and Jordan for his heroics but despite his remarkable military achievements and services in the Arab world, he remains unknown to the Arab public and very little is written about him in Arabic. A retired colonel in the Jordanian air force told me that “very few people know about Azam’s services outside the air force.” Azam then moved to Bangladesh after it became an independent country and served in its air force until his retirement.

All told, Pakistani Air Force pilots, in addition to Saiful Azam serving in Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Syria, in 1967 war, downed as many as 10 Israeli aircrafts without losing a single pilot or a single aircraft. Pakistan, moreover, provided the Arab states with numerous military advisors and pilots who also served in 1973 war with remarkable achievements. The Pakistani military also provided critical military restructuring and reevaluation especially to Jordan after the 1967 war.
It is rather strange that the Pakistani contribution to Arab militaries is never mentioned in Arab culture let alone in official Arab histories of the war. Pakistan had a contingent of at least 16 pilots who served as volunteers in Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Iraq in 1967 and 1973 wars.

Pakistani air force states that all its volunteer pilots scored direct hits against Israeli aircrafts and suffered no losses. During the 1973 war, for example Flt. Lt. A. Sattar Alvi became the first Pakistani pilot, flying a Syrian aircraft to shoot down an Israeli Mirage in air combat. Similarly and on the Egyptian front, PAF pilot Flt. Lt. M. Hatif , flying an Egyptian MiG-21 shot down an Israeli F-4 phantom in an air combat. Pakistani Air Force did not lose a single pilot or aircraft in any of these wars.

It is probably due to this reason that Israel is collaborating now with Indian forces in any plan/project against Pakistan, under the shadow of ‘war on terrorism’. Both India and Israel are burning in the fire of revenge and they don't want to miss a chance!


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