M.M. ALAM’s death came as a rude shock. I came to know him when I was a journalist in uniform working in the Inter-Services Public Relations setup at Air Headquarters, Peshawar. The Air Headquarters hadn’t shifted to Islamabad till then. I found M.M. Alam a person with high intellect. I had many discussions with him on different subjects.

I left Air Force to do a course in broadcasting abroad. I took retirement and lost contact with him. Many years later someone said that M.M. Alam was in Karachi staying in Gulshan-i-Iqbal. I found out his address and went to see him.

He was a changed man. He had become slimmer. He was wearing white pajamas, a grey shirt and Chitrali cap. He had grown a beard. His room was full of magazines, newspapers and newspaper clippings. He said he had been in Afghanistan fighting the Soviet army along with the Mujahedeen. He said: “I say my prayers five times a day, and observe fast most of the year.”

He said he could arrange my visit to Afghanistan. Knowing that I was interested in travel, he said: “Afghanistan’s portion of Koh-i-Safaid is more beautiful than ours.”

I said it would be suicidal to go as a war in Afghanistan was on.

He said: “You’ll find it as peaceful as Karachi.”

By that time he had renounced his pension. He had some differences with the Chief of the Air Staff. Giving up one’s pension on grounds of principles was something very courageous.

One had to have the heart of a lion to do that. Not one in a million would do that in our context and environment. He then said: “I married an American woman. She was suffering from cancer. A few months later she passed away. I think I brought some happiness in her life.”

But she in no way influenced or affected his thinking.

I don’t think we will ever see the likes of him again.

AZMAT ANSARI Karachi

More From This Section

Afghan election: a people’s victory

AFGHAN election, on April 5, was a day of triumph for all Afghans, including women, who played their due role with...

Ending power crisis

Energy resources are the backbone of economic development of any country. Pakistan has been facing the problem of...

Waste-to-energy

THIS is apropos Khunsha Khalid’s letter ‘Waste-to-energy’ (March 28) and mixed comments thereon by some...

CCI and Sindh

THE Chamber of Commerce and Industries’ meeting was recently held at which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tried to...


Comments are closed.

Comments (4)

AHA
April 2, 2013 11:50 am
A great hero, no doubt.
Asif
April 2, 2013 2:26 pm
Er. Enlightening certainly but not sure if this puts him in a particularly good light. By refusing pension he is basically saying that he regrets his flying career in PAF, which is the only reason why he has any recognition with Pakistanis. His mujahideen career is deeply problematic of course, given that we are still dealing with the fallout from those days.
Syrian
April 2, 2013 5:12 pm
May Allah shower HIS blessings on this great man.
Zak
April 2, 2013 7:36 pm
The sort who saved Pakistan in the hour need.
Explore: Indian elections 2014
Explore: Indian elections 2014
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
Cartoons
E-PAPER
Front Page