M. M. Alam

Jhapatna palatna, palat kar jhapatna,
Laho garam rakhne ka hai ek bahana

Above stanza is an excerpt from renowned poem ‘Shaheen’ of Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal. What’s so special about this bird ‘Shaheen’ or ‘Royal falcon’? What was the motive behind that captured the attention of a visionary like Iqbal? The single word reply would be, “Attitude”. The quotation echo around that eagle avoids the rain by flying above the clouds, unlike others finding a shelter. The sharpness, the high altitude flights, the supremacy in living style and proud philosophy are hallmarks of a Shaheen.

Aerial protection of Pakistan’s boundaries and to provide air assistance to Army and Marine forces are primary tasks of Pakistan Air Force (PAF). The PAF also has a tertiary role to provide strategic air transport and logistics capability to Pakistan. With 65,000 full-time personnel, approximately 3,000 pilots, 700 aircraft, including 470+ combat aircraft;  PAF is ranked at 7th place (in size) around the globe. Full of patriotism, Pakistan Air Force has always executed above and beyond the call of duty. Shaheen of Iqbal is the brand name of Pakistan Air Force. Being the largest airbase of PAF, the Sargodha city is called as “Shaheenon ka shehr – City of Eagles”. The daring stories of PAF are widely acknowledged. The jubilant blood never let the nation’s proud dip down.

‘M. M. Alam’ – One and all of us are acquainted with this name, majorly because of M. M. Alam Road, the favorite hang-out of most of Lahorites but sorry to say not all of us remember the feats of the legendry M. M. Alam. Muhammad Mahmood Alam is well-known for his actions during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. He is officially credited with downing nine Indian fighters, six of them are Hunters of the Indian Air Force in air-to-air combats, 5 of them in less than a minute. Alam’s demolishing five enemy Hunter aircraft in less than a minute remains a record til today.

Citation of PAF Heroes says.

On 6th September, 1965, during an aerial combat over enemy territory, Squadron Leader Mohammad Mahmood Alam flying as pilot of an F-86 Sabre Jet, shot down two enemy Hunter aircraft and damaged three others. For the exceptional flying skill and valor displayed by Squadron Leader Mohammad Mahmood Alam in operations, he was awarded Sitara-i-Juraat. On 7th September, 1965, in a number of interception missions flown by Squadron Leader Mohammad Mahmood Alam against enemy aircraft attacking Pakistan Air Force Station, Sargodha, Squadron Leader Alam destroyed five more enemy Hunter aircraft in less than a minute, which remains a record until today. Overall, he had nine kills and two damages to his credit. For the exceptional flying skill and valour shown by him in pressing home his attacks in aerial combats with the enemy, Squadron Leader Mohammad Mahmood Alam is awarded a bar to his Sitara-i-Juraat.

Here is a heart touching Express News documentary about Alam’s feat.

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