Air Force officials carrying the coffin of Air Commodore (R) Muhammad Mahmood Alam for the funeral prayers at PAF Masroor Air Base. — Photo by APP

KARACHI: Air Commodore (retd) Muhammad Mahmood Alam Khan, a veteran of the 1965 and 1971 wars, died in a hospital here on Monday after a long illness. He was 78.

Funeral prayer was offered at the Masroor Base and attended, among others, by Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad, PAF chief Air Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, Corps Commander Lt Gen Ejaz Chaudhry and senior officials of the Air Force, Navy and Army. He was laid to rest with military honours at in PAF graveyard in Masroor Air Base.

Air Marshal Butt expressed sorrow over the death of a legend and national hero, saying that any chronicle of the aviation world or accomplishments of the Pakistan Air Force would remain incomplete without the mention of Mahmood Alam.

“He was a daring pilot, a thorough professional and a role model not only for the air force, but also for Muslims across the world,” the PAF chief observed.

M.M. Alam was born in Kolkata on July 6, 1935, into an educated family. After completing his secondary education from the Government High School, Dhaka, in 1951, he joined the PAF in 1952 and was granted commission in Oct 1953.

He attended several courses in the United States and the United Kingdom.

His major appointments included at air gunnery and as tactical instructor at the Fighter Leader School, commanding officer of three squadrons, director of operations research and as assistant chief of the air staff (flight safety and plans) at the air headquarters.

During the 1965 war with India, Squadron Leader M.M. Alam shot down two enemy aircraft and damaged three on Sept 6. He was awarded Sitara-i-Jur’at in recognition of his gallantry.

Sept 7 was the day when he rewrote the history of air warfare by shooting down five Indian Hawker Hunter fighters in air-to-air combat, in less than 60 seconds. The first four came down within a span of 30 seconds.

For this awesome feat, M.M. Alam was again awarded Sitara-i-Jur’at (with Bar). In addition, the government named a road in Gulberg, Lahore, after his after him.

M.M. Alam was deputed to Syria after that country’s government acquired his services for its air force. He served there for five years.

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Comments (58)

March 19, 2013 7:19 am
?????? ?????? ????????? ???????? ????????? May Allah (swt) grant him jannah. Ameen.
March 19, 2013 7:29 am
May Allah grant his eternal mercy on him, Ameen.
Abdul Nasir Mughal
March 19, 2013 7:53 am
May Allah bless our hero. May Allah give us courage like his.
Asif Kahsmiri
March 19, 2013 8:33 am
what kind of sick minded people are dislikeing this comment?
March 19, 2013 8:33 am
Rest in Peace
March 19, 2013 8:36 am
Ameen! i wonder why you got one 'Hands-down' vote? hmmm...
March 19, 2013 8:38 am
To Allah we belong and to Allah we shall all return
March 19, 2013 9:15 am
Great man ....... WOW a real TOP GUN .
March 19, 2013 9:52 am
a real hero... very rare to find son of soil like him.... salute to this man courage and patriotism
Muhammad Younas
March 19, 2013 9:54 am
Love you Sir and Salute to your bravery. May ALLAH gave place to you in Jannat-ul-Firdos, Ameen
March 19, 2013 10:10 am
May Allah bless his soul.
March 19, 2013 10:43 am
Despite being from the other side of the border, its good to see that in Pakistan people appreciate the work done by their armed forces and they honor their heroes. I remember when one of our heroes died, Field Manekshaw, there was not a single minister present, and not even the army chief.
M. Zaeem ul Haq
March 19, 2013 11:13 am
Allah maghfirat fermae, aamin! Inna Lillah e Wa Inna Elahae Rajeoon. He was our hero better name islamabad International Airport atleast old one on his name.
March 19, 2013 11:14 am
I was a little kid when I first heard of his 1965 exploits. He was my instant hero. Then came 1971, and our great rumor-mill had all the bad words for him. I was still a kid, and believed all Bengalis were 'bad' traitors. Of course, now I know that Pakistan was the aggressor in the 1965 war (and let us not even think about 1971), But I still believe that these wars are not the fault of individual soldiers, and that those how fought with courage and honor are heroes. M.M. Alam is still my hero. RIP.
Jehanzeb Khan
March 19, 2013 11:28 am
Hats off for MM Alam. He was the real hero of Pakistan but unfortunately we did not appreciate his efforts for the nation.
March 19, 2013 11:35 am
His services to the Nation would be long remembered, and his name would be written in golden words in years to come. May Allah (Subhanwatallah) enter him in Jannah..ameen.
Asif Kahsmiri
March 19, 2013 11:37 am
Pak Armed Forces ,, tujay mera salam!!!
atiq Malik
March 19, 2013 11:47 am
May Allah grant you eternal peace and janna sir ...,,
March 19, 2013 11:58 am
May God bless him.. and enter in jannat.. i wish other Commander be the same like him.
March 19, 2013 12:18 pm
May his soul rest in Peace in heaven. Pakistanis salute you for your great services for country and nation.
March 19, 2013 1:08 pm
Must be the offspring of his victims
Muba Khan
March 19, 2013 1:20 pm
My father use to take me to the park where his plane was parked. I loved just looking at it. A true Pakistani by heart.
March 19, 2013 1:33 pm
The claims sound unreal. Four airplanes in 30 seconds?! Unless they were on the ground, sounds impossible. But anyway, PAF is known just like IAF for ridiculous claims. RIP
March 19, 2013 1:49 pm
Great Man, Great Fighter
Qaiser Hussain
March 19, 2013 2:34 pm
I am surprised by all these "neighbors to the east" coming to Dawn.com only spew hatred. He was a soldier who fought for his country. Please take your small mindedness else where.
Khalid Shafiq
March 19, 2013 3:14 pm
Brother ignore, Allah will take care of the bad people. Khalid, Engineer USA
Ali Shah Gillani
March 19, 2013 3:32 pm
Dear it is true and this is available in guinnes world records.
March 19, 2013 3:33 pm
Look up the Indian Air Force records. They admit 4. The 5th they say was from ground support. 4 in 60 seconds is also a world record.
SY from USA
March 19, 2013 4:07 pm
I was surprised to see the comments of Destum. Whenever PAF or IAF shoots down an aircraft, you can always see it on camera. I knew MM Alam personally as my younger brother Flt Lt Shams served with Alam. All friends of Alam had given him a nickname of Peanut Alam because he was so tiny and cute. He has a world record to his credit because he shot 5 much superior aircraft with an obsolete aircraft F-86. It just proves one thing. Man behind the gun. My brother Shams received SJ for taking maximum Bombing missions in 1965 even when he was declared unfit to fly by the medical board. When 1965 war started , Shams was in CMH Rawalpindi getting ready for a major kidney surgery. He quietly slipped out of hospital and reported to his base and took on his missions. Immediately after the war, he was hospitalized and his kidney removed. He along with 6 other heros of PAF are always mentioned on 7th September every year
March 19, 2013 4:09 pm
?????? ?????? ????????? ???????? ?????????
March 19, 2013 4:58 pm
You should refer to the numerous books written by your air force folks and you will find MM Alam's praise and a proof of his extraordinary acheivement in almost every book. Also read some unbiased books written by brits and Americans and you will find the proof in there. Sometimes the grace lies in admitting that your enemy is better than you. May his soul rest in peace.
Zack Khan
March 19, 2013 4:59 pm
Well said!
Zubair Younas
March 19, 2013 5:03 pm
He was indeed a great hero, He proved his skills at the time when they were most needed. He will be remembered in our hearts forever. May his soul rest in peace. I hiope PAF is still having that kind of professionalism.
Muhammad Zubair Rafi
March 19, 2013 5:53 pm
Hats off to him. He was a great national asset who rose Pakistan to great fame. May his soul rest in peace. Ameen
March 19, 2013 5:59 pm
You have no idea about an air to air combat Mr Destum...most air battles are over within seconds...Mr. Alam's achievements are well documented by both the indian and pakistani air forces, hence Mr. Alam's world renound status as a fighter pilot!
March 19, 2013 6:34 pm
You are right. The claim that enemy planes, - four fighter jets mind you that were neither toys nor flying little ducks - shot down in 30 seconds sounds pretty rediculous. But then truth they say is the first casualtry in a conflict!
March 19, 2013 6:35 pm
may his soul rest in peace,indeed a great moment of sorrow for the entire nation.
Nasr KiKi
March 19, 2013 6:56 pm
Oh my Hero! Today My Country is one more hero scarce. From where we will bring more heroes like you. May Allah bless you with eternal peace.
March 19, 2013 7:16 pm
the real hero of pakistan
Shahryar Shirazi
March 19, 2013 7:31 pm
All the books I have read of credible Pakistani authors as well as Americans who were pro PAF ( due to American vs Russian equipment) have unanimously agreed that this feat, at high speeds and at low heights is not possible. He may be a good pilot, and may have shot many enemy planes, but this one is a little fishy. RIP, MM Alam. He chose to stay in (Western) Pakistan when our people were massacring his. He was also not allowed to fly in the 1971 war due to his Bengali roots.
Michael Warner
March 19, 2013 8:29 pm
Air Commodore (R) M.M.ALAM was a very faithful Pakistani. He was a very decent Moslem person. His loyalty until the end was with Pakistan. He was a great man and a dedicated professional. His contribution in the field he picked as his career stands out in the world. His illustarius career indicates that he does not need any introduction. His achievements are a record and with so much advancement in avaition industry, still no combat fighter air plane pilot has come close to his kills in the air. On that Sept. 7, 1965 day he was on a F-86 fighter jet and he shot down 5 enemy fighter jet planes within a minute or so. In the 1965 war he shot down 9 enemy air plane in total. In 1971 war due to some departemental controversies he could not fly and did not get security clearance to fly against the advance enemy air force. He was such a popular pilot in those days that at times the enemy pilots will listen the radio chat of Pakistan Air Force and request to send Alam up in the air. General Yeager who was an observer in the wars and the best combat pilot from USA has spoken very highly about M.M. Alam and his skills to fly a bird with so much confidfence, control and precision. "MAY ALLAH BLESS HIS SOUL AND GIVE HIM A PLACE IN THE HEAVENS" AMEEN.
March 19, 2013 8:57 pm
May Allah bless his soul, Ameen. He was a hero for all the muslim world as suggessted in the article. He will live on forever in our folklore. Who are these insane and deranged people who are disliking best wishes and prayers for M M Alam Marhoom
Akil AKhtar
March 19, 2013 10:39 pm
The dislikes show that this article has also attracted attention from across the border and they are going to show their usual narrow midedness.
March 19, 2013 10:56 pm
Jealousy at its best
March 19, 2013 10:58 pm
Couldn't agree more. There r more people on dawn from the other side of the border.
March 19, 2013 11:00 pm
A true hero and one of the stars from our great PAF. Pakistan Zindabad. May allah grant him a high place in Jannat. Ameen.
Kashif Mukri
March 19, 2013 11:54 pm
March 20, 2013 12:24 am
Destum, you will not believe it because you are an Indian.
Ghazala Khan
March 20, 2013 3:56 am
He was the link between East and West Pakistan.
March 20, 2013 5:10 am
This is not Times of India site where conconated stories are published it's Dawn. RIP
March 20, 2013 5:26 am
March 20, 2013 5:30 am
During 1965 war P A F downed more than twice the number of I A F fighters than I A F had. And the result was clear. On Sundays Indians from border cities and town used visit the Patton Park, and F 4 Ground right with in the boundary of District Lahore.I did go too.
Mohammad Ali Gaad
March 20, 2013 6:51 am
The Real hero! He would surely get his award, RIP Hero..
March 20, 2013 8:54 am
May his soul rest in eternal peace. The Government must name a prominent building / road / park after his name in Karachi also.
March 20, 2013 11:36 am
May his soul rest in peace!
alam khan bhoot
March 20, 2013 1:46 pm
no wonder pakistan lost all wars,,, even now the drone attack,,,cant do a thing....have a enquiry,why pak is failing
The Winner's, New Delhi
March 20, 2013 1:48 pm
Four Indian Hawker Hunter fighters came down within a span of 30 seconds. What is the world record of shooting down the Hawker Hunter fighters? The Pakistan army should forwarded his name for the Guinness World Records.
March 20, 2013 2:07 pm
He was a hero for Pakistanis and a villain for the other side hence getting dislikes. Thats their way of disliking him. His deed on the day was remarkable, amazing son of this land.
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