PAF In The Line Of Defence


“Be it deserts or seas; all lies under our wings”

Pakistan is anaccurately consecrated country on account of various reason. From go-getting tougher since the independence and then fronting the myriads of faltering-nature-challenges, Pakistan not only stood strong but also showed the aptresilience in countering any such testing situation. The cross-border-enemy imposed unannounced and announced wars. The defenders from all three-Armed Forces came forward in the defence of country. Pakistan Air Force is in the lead for defending the Motherland. It has never failed the hopes of its Nation and has been guarding the air frontiers with zero dereliction.

Responding 1948 Tempest II Attack Over Dakota:

Pakistan Air Force came direct in clash with the enemy when two Indian Air Force fighter jets: Tempest II attacked a PAF transport Dakota on November 04, 1948 in the valley of Kashmir.Flt. Lt. Mukhtar Dogar and his co-pilot Flying Officer Jagjiwun proved the first two air warriors who were unarmed yet punched hard in the face of enemy. The unloaded fighters refused to capitulate and turned down the orders to surrender at Srinagar. Both chose to intimidate in the manner of maneuvering. The PAF immaculate pilot Flt Lt Mukhtar Dogar kept dodging IAF Tempest II for 25 minutes in the air. PAF lauds this thrilling episode of both air defenders. Flt.Lt. Mukhtar Dogarwon the first Sitar-e-Jurat for PAF.

IAFCanberra Attacked on Eid Day-10th April 1959.

IAFis the 4th largest air force as in the quantity of personnel. Contrary to this, Pakistan Air Force is the one third the size of IAF. Nonetheless, the larger number of aircraft and personnel had not been successful to earn any good history vis a vis its confrontation with PAF.

Every time, IAF conducted any air strike. It had gonedeprived and even miserable to them. One such air strike from IAF was carried out on Eid day fell on 10th April 1959.IAF’s miscalculation about PAF that there would not be any retaliation due to Eid turned into a nightmare. A PAF F-86 Sabre flew in an iota of second, Flt. Lt. M Younis shot 1200 bullets atIAF Canberra, and it went spiralling out of control. It fell down and the IAF Pilots were captured, adding in the Eid festive of PAF with this marvellous stunt of valour.

1965 War:

IAF received the first deadlyrejoinder from PAF fighter pilot Sarfaraz Rafique when it attacked at ChambJurian Sector-Lahoreon 1st September 1965 to stop the Pak Army’s XII Division offensive against Akhnoor, with three strike formations of de Havilland Vampires of No 45 Sqn of IAF flying in for Close Air Support. Sq. Ldr Sarfaraz Rafique shot down two IAF aircrafts while patrolling with Flt Lt. Imtiaz Bhatti in retaliation of IAF intervention near Chamb. Later on, PAF had executed the pre-emptive air strike on the Indian airfields of Pathankot, Adam and Halwara. The attack on Pathankot went the most successful. IAF lost almost ten aircrafts on the ground at Pathankot.

Likewise, MM Alam is still celebrated as to have earned, the ‘ace in a day’ for his unimaginable targeting and shooting speed on 7th September 1965. MM Alam brought down 5 IAF Hawker Hunters in less than a minute in single sortie. Sqn.Ldr. MMAlam then, continued to show marvel in the air combat. MM Alam shot down 9 aircrafts altogether. He was decorated twice with Sitar e Jurat with Bar.

With a total number of 2,489 sorties, flown by PAF Pilots in 1965 war. Pakistan Air Force became the massive defence life of the country. For all the feats shown by the PAF pilots, it earned 54 gallantry awards. The list goes; three Hilal-e-Jurat, 46 Sitara-e-Jurat and five Tamgha-e-Jurat. PAF supported Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Navy like any promising brother in line with their assigned missions. About the war of 1965it is generally said,“the PAF played a true role of the saviour to save Pakistan.”

Arab War 1967:

The Arab Allied countries: Jordan, Syria and Egypt had a full-fledged war aiming against Israel. The Arab states faced quite an embarrassing defeat. Of course, Israel had won. It was the time when Israel had altered the demarcation in 1n of Middle East.

Still, there is a festering wound in the heart of Israel that PAF pilots had left during the Six Days War. In November 1966, PAF had sent some of its pilots for the purpose of training of Royal Jordanian Air Force pilots. The instructions were clear and mainly to provide the advice to those RJAF pilots. However, the outbreak of war in 1967 compelled Pakistan Government to allow the PAF pilots to give the air defence assistance to their brother Muslim countries. Two PAF pilotsgot to be known as the most prominent one Flt Lt Saiful Azam and Flt. Lt Kaiser Tufail.

Flt.Lt. Saiful Azam had shot down three Israeli fighter jets. To date, Arab states celebrates the act of gallantry of PAF. Thus, PAF is the only air force whose pilots had flown form other country’s air base and destroyed the common enemy fighter jets.

According to the Air Cdre (Retd) Kaiser Tufail TM (M) in his best seller-Against All Odds writes,

“The gallantry action of Azam, unfortunately, turned out to be mere symbolic in terms of the ultimate results of the war. There was no question of ground support as all three countries’ air forces were completely mauled on the ground by Israeli Air Force on the very first day.”

He writes further,

“While flying the single-seat Hawker Hunter, Azam shot downthe Israeli Air Force’s flagship transonic Dassault Mystere fighter-bomber aircraft in Jordan. Later, he brought downtwo state-of-art Israeli fighter aircrafts Vautour IIA and Dassault Mirage III.”

1971 War:

PAF pilots had come defending the air frontiers with the same enthusiasm in the 1971 wartoo. Amidst conspiracies and cunning-plotting of certain traitor-kind-elements, the PAF fighter pilots were not oblivious from their duty. The young Flying Officer Shams-ul-Haq and Flying Officer Shamshad intimidated three consecutive IAF air-to-air combat. Both the fighter pilots had kept engaged IAF in a dogfight for long and made them to escape. For 1971 war, PAF flew 2,955 sorties and received 43 gallantry awards, these were two Hilal-e-Jurat, 24 Sitara –e-Jurat and 16 Tamgha –e-Jurat.In the same 1971, PAF had earned Nishan-e-Haider for pilot officer Rashid Minhas Shaheed.

During both the wars, 1965 and 1971 PAF confronted in an unbelievable way to the enemy with a larger air force. There, PAF materialized one phrase,
  “What matters is quality not the quantity!”

War Against Terrorism:

Pakistan Armed Forces have proven to be the only Forces who won the war against terrorism. Of-course, PAF continued its prime position in conducting all the operations against the terrorists. Starting in 2008, almost a decade was spent in the operations, and the PAF’s fighter-jets made another remarkable history while going into the crisscrossed formed around ravines. If those evil-intended terrorists got fully equipped with the weaponsprovided by the foreign agents so as our fighter pilots were impeccably skilled to shoot in the darkest of those dens hidden in mountains. Working in collaboration with the Army Intelligence Corps,PAF has performed unbelievably during a number of Intelligence Based Operations. All these air strikes had never gone missing a single target.

Operation Swift Retort 2019:

The dream for IAF to make a lead over PAF has always brought a shameful reality.Taking an inspiration of a religious figure of Hinduism, IAF called the 26th Feb 2019 covet air strikes Operation Bander. Contrary to their religious saga, IAF made the most humiliated history where it got completely failed in providing any concrete evidence for the imaginary air strikes on the ground. PAF response was the swiftest-Operation Swift Retort on 27th September 2019. PAF shot down two IAF aircraft and caught one IAF pilot. Consequently, all this childish episode run by IAF resulted more in disgrace.It has been mentioned several times by many veteran air officers that PAF enjoys a psychological superiority over IAF. It is not just the ‘say’ rather has been demonstrated always. PAF adheres to as well materializes the line,‘sleep tight because we stay awake.’

The history of courage of PAF needs more and more space to write on and it is not enough!
Excellence, impeccability, and genuineness, all these combines in thePAF fighter pilots. From Sarafaraz Rafique legacy to keep covering the wingman during the nerve-wrecking-dogfight with the enemy to the rightful-defiance of Rashid Minhas Shaheed given to his envious and betrayer of land instructor, PAF fighter pilots have made the nation proud! The Rafiqui spirit still propels in the hearts of PAF fighter pilots and the unmatched love of Minhas for Motherland pushes them to do the incredible deeds.

PAF is testimony to the fact, it celebrates the Defence Day round the clock and throughoutthe year. It is always on the duty-alert!

Asma Ishaq is a Lecturer.