Tribute to the PAF Fighter Ace: M. M. Alam


This ‘Land of the Pure’ can never fall, and no one can undo it as long as the defenders of this nation follow the legacy left behind by the tales of dedication and sincerity of the likes of M. M. Alam.


Today was the day when tales of glory were written on the blue skies by the daring Shaheens of Pakistan Air Force during the 1965 Indo-Pak war. One of them was M. M. Alam, whose name shines amongst those of true legends and heroes; and what he did on 7 September, 1965, in the skies over Sargodha is unmatched, and very few have achieved such greatness in the history of air warfare. His name is emblazoned in the annals of Pakistan’s history, which we proudly own; he carved his name with pride and gave us a reason to honour this day. The great man is no longer amongst us, and this is the first time the nation would honour “7th September” without its most beloved son. Though he is not alive, his legacy, his valour, his courage, his dreams and vision for the bright future of this nation will live forever.

The name “M. M. Alam” is enough to rejuvenate the spirit of the Defense Day, mainly because of his fearless demonstration of authority over his enemy during the 1965 Indo-Pak war, when his fighter jet roared the wild skies with one and only objective – to tell the enemy that his country might be short of war machines, but it was never short of men who would sacrifice their lives to defend it. Muhammad Mahmud Alam, better known as M. M. Alam, emerged as one of the most prominent heroes of the 1965 war. After the 1965 war, he emerged as Pakistan’s top scoring fighter ace and also made a world record. He is one of the finest fighter pilots Pakistan has ever produced. The level of dedication, commitment and courage which he showed for Pakistan is unmatched.

During the 1965 air battles between Indian and Pakistani air forces, Alam ruled the fiery skies of war with his supreme tactics and evasive maneuvers. He showed marvels in the Adampur attack, and Alam claimed two enemy hunters and damaged three. The aerial battle of Sargodha on 7th September, 1965 was no doubt one of the greatest days in the history of Pakistan’s Air Force. Three raids were conducted by the IAF on Sargodha air base, but during the second raid, under the command of M. M. Alam, the Indian jets faced a deadly retaliation. M. M. Alam shot down five IAF Hunters in a few minutes and made a world record.

His performance is still one of the most immaculate in the history of aerial combats. After 7 September, the PAF was in control of the skies over the battlefield, and the IAF dared not engage further in the combat with our daring eagles. The way he gunned down the IAF jets, one cannot doubt the precision and accuracy of M. M. Alam. He retired as an Air Commodore of Pakistan Air Force and was also awarded the military honor ‘Sitara-e-Jurrat’ for his brave and remarkable show in the air combat of 1965. He also took part in the Arab-Israeli war for the Ummah’s cause as a fighter pilot along with our other brave pilots who shot down Israeli jets. In 2001, there was an escalation from the Indian forces on the borders and war seemed inevitable between Pakistan and India, Alam volunteered for flying missions, though he had retired, but his age had not broken his spirits, motivation and courage to stand as a shield in the face of the enemy.

Before his death, when he was admitted in the hospital, my family went to meet him at the PAF Hospital at Faisal Base, Karachi. When they called him, he was delighted. He was adorned in a simple white dress (Shalwar Kameez), and he arranged for tea and greeted his guests with affection and humbleness.

During the meeting, with utmost concern, he conveyed his feelings that the Muslim Ummah, in this era, is confronted with many issues, amongst which disharmony amongst the different segments of society and dishonesty amongst people will make it difficult for us to face the growing challenges of the present world. Being one of the most influential air warriors who fought against India and Israel, he was of firm belief that unity and honesty should remain the hallmark of any future national cause, be it local or international. He was hopeful of Pakistan’s bright future if we stand united and committed to the cause with utmost sincerity and honesty.

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is researcher and a regular contributor at PKKH. She is a Human Rights, Youth and a Peace Activist and has done her MPhil in ‘Peace and Conflict Studies’ from NDU. She can be reached at and she tweets at @battlehawk_

Discussion13 Comments

  1. A great account indeed, Alhamdullilah i was also one of those who met him in his last days and I also has his autograph with me

  2. The plain fact of life is that this man, and indeed pretty much every other Pakistani FAILED… i.e failed in the PRIMARY OBJECTIVE of the war which was the capture of Kashmir specifically its capital city Srinagar (Operation Gibraltar etc etc), which would have given Pakistan de-facto moral rights to claim that the erstwhile princely state was its own, and not India’s as it is now. Therefore, the plain truth is that Srinagar is India’s still, and it will remain so, and as long as it does it is a fact that the whole world recognizes Kashmir to be de-facto INDIAN territory… all these heroes of Pakistan only fought and died in VAIN … just to please the vanity of its idiotic politicians, and its army… such a shame!

    • This is called illegal occupation of a land against the will of its people by sheer force. Shame on so called biggest democracy of the world ! India deceived the Kashmir people and UN by backtracking from its promise of holding referendum… This is called bullying ….. no different than what America is doing in Iraq, Afghanistan and middle east. Even today Indian forces are unleashing terror on unarmed peacefull kashmiris demanding right of self determination. This is called Shameful act !!

    • @Vakil The “PRIMARY OBJECTIVE” as you put it was to defend Pakistan when india decided to invade. The first tank battle in asia was in sialkot when Pakistan had no tanks and yet we still drove you out ( i guess your generals couldnt get disgustingly drunk in lahore Gymkhana).

      Our primary objective was to defend our homeland and thats what we did. Kashmir needs a bit more time it will come dont you worry “Operation Gibraltar” is still in progress watch this space…

      • Dear Alicaan, Opeation Gibraltar is still in progress??? What is “still in progress” ??? Since 1965, the only thing that is visible that “came out” was Bangladesh in 1971 — and what was this hero MM Alam (a Bengali ironically enough!) doing then? And now what do we see…. every politician and army man of Pakistan openly lamenting the fact that Pakistan is faced with its worst enemy from WITHIN ITSELF. In other words, self-destruction from the Khyber to Karachi, and Balochistan to Baltistan — and what is worse is that it is aided and abetted by the mindset of the majority of Pakistanis like yourself. When you (Pakistanis) seem to be your own worst enemy, there is no need for India to do anything but sit back and enjoy — and if you like even GET DRUNK in sheer joy (why not?)! Little wonder that Kashmiris these days don’t give a hoot for Pakistan and are instead taking part in the Indian mainstream at all levels in ALL fields, including elections at all levels. Of course there will be some paid traitors here and there whose only motto in life is look for trouble but they will be weeded out over time. And all that Pakistan can do is give “lip service” — perhaps a few more “pegs” (passing through those lips) will help!

  3. This man M.M.Alam was a Bengali, and chose to betray his homeland and continued to live in West Pakistan after his countrymen fought and won their separate homeland (Bangladesh) in Dec 1971 … very well befitting indeed that he was alive to see this happen…. just desserts he received for his mercenary behavior…

    • @ David

      What that proves is that he was not a tribalist or nationalist. He was a Muslim and considered the Muslim ummah as a whole to be his nation. This is what caused him to remain Pakistani rather than sink to being an ethnic nationalist.

      Seems like a you have a problem with that. Shame, because we don’t care.

      • Dear Zecchetti, you sentiments are appreciated about the likes of MM Alam being more than a Bengali — it is a same however that he was not given the treatment by his “own Pakistanis” in his later years esp by the governments as would befit a “Muslim” hero — it is on record that he died a sad and disappointed soul (do a Google and you will see). What I said was a rejoinder to what many Pakistanis say that Muslim heroes of the Indian army (like Abdul Hamid who destroyed 3 Pakistani tanks single-handedly in 1965) are “traitors” and Sikhs like Jasjit Singh Arora (who engineered Pakistan’s surrender in 1971 in Dacca) are also “traitors”. But it is nice to know that even in Pakistan there are exceptions…

    • As it is necessary to make clarify to all that MM Alam was not Bengali, he born in Culcutta ,west Bengal,India, in fact he was Bihari , his parents settled in Culcatta from Bihar and after independace setteled in Dhaka east Pakistan, and during war in 1971 family shifted to West Pakistan.

      It is well understood that during war of 1971, Biharis, Punjabis, Pustuns,and non-Bengalis were leaving East Pakistan and arriving to West Pakistan , not Bengalis
      Bengalis never be loyal to Pakistan like MM Alam our great hero.

  4. @david you are an idiot!!! he was part born when there was no Pakistan and Bangladesh he grew up in Pakistan and always considered himself as Pakistani many ethnic Bengalis still living in Pakistan and have attested to being Pakistani.

    • Dear Alicaan, it is heartening to see what you have said about Bangalis attesting to being loyal Pakistanis — that is fine for it is their choice. What I said was a rejoinder to what many Pakistanis say that Muslim heroes of the Indian army (like Abdul Hamid who destroyed 3 Pakistani tanks single-handedly in 1965) are “traitors” and Sikhs like Jasjit Singh Arora (who engineered Pakistan’s surrender in 1971 in Dacca) are also “traitors”. But it is nice to know that even in Pakistan there are exceptions… and do look after them even in retirement — something that this “hero” of yours MM Alam was clearly NOT done for (do a Google search and you will see what I mean) …

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