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.