Pakistan remembers martyrs as nation celebrates ‘Air Force Day’
On September 6 back in 1965, Indian forces crossed the international boundary and attacked Pakistan. During the next 17 days that followed, Pakistan and India engaged in a ferocious battle that only ended when the United Nation intervention separated them.
During the early hours of September 7, India attacked Pakistan Air Force in the dark of the night from at least three sides.
Indian forces attacked Pakistan’s areas of Shakkargarh, Narowal and Sialkot from the North and from South, Kasur, Sulemanki and Lahore sectors came under attack.
It was a huge and tough challenge for the under-attacked Pakistan Air Force, but with their determination and courage, they countered the assault.
Pakistan Air Force’s first encounter with the Indian forces happened at Pathankot where Squadron Leader Aftab Alam pounded enemy’s havens and tanks.
Later Squadron Leader Sajjad Haider shot down several Indian fighter jets following which Squadron Leader Squadron Leader Sarfaraz Ahmad Rafiqui did more damage on the Indian side. Rafiqui was awarded Hilal-i-Jurat and Sitara-i-Jurat for showing determination in the battlefield.
Who could forget the history Squadron Leader M.M. Alam made!
On September 7, he shot down five Indian Hawker Hunter fighters in air-to-air fight, in less than 60 seconds while the first four came down within 30 seconds. Earlier on September 6, he shot down two Indian aircrafts and damaged three others.
In all, Alam who shot nine Indian Hunters and damaged two in air combats during the 1965 war. His bag of five planes in one bout over Sargodha is a world record. For this bravery, M.M. Alam was awarded Sitara-i-Jurat.
Wing Commander Anwar Shamim aimed for damaging India’s Radar System and totally damaged it in Amritsar.
India was assuming that Pakistan would not able to handle another overnight assault but, it was wrong.
Pakistan Air Force destroyed at least 31 Indian fighter jets at the airports of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Bombay (now Mumbai) after the Indian attack.
Before they could even airborne, Pakistan smashed several Indian jets at the Pathankot airport.
By the end of September 7, Pakistan had damaged 53 fighter jets of the Indian Air Force – a strong blow that was certainly too much for the Indian side.