Pakistan honors PAF legendary fighter Saiful Azam who fought in 1965 Indo-Pak and 1967 Arab-Israel wars
The chief of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) chief, Mujahid Anwar Khan, paid glowing tribute to Group Captain (Retd) Saiful Azam who had served in both the Pakistan and Bangladesh air forces during a glorious career.
Saiful Azam , 80, died in a Dhaka hospital on Sunday. He is survived by his wife and their three children.
While paying rich tributes to Group Captain (Retd.) Saiful Azam, the air chief acknowledged said that the former fighter pilot will always be remembered for his professionalism and his heroic deeds in the 1965 Indo-Pak and 1967 Arab-Israel wars, the PAF said in a statement on Monday.
During the 1965 war, he served in No. 17 Squadron at PAF’s Sargodha base. Apart from inflicting heavy damage to Indian forces in 12 ground-attack missions, Azam also downed an Indian Air Force aircraft and was awarded Sitara-i-Jura’at.
Azam is the unique air force figure in the history of Bangladesh who took part in wars as a fighter pilot of three different countries — Jordan, Iraq and Pakistan.
The legendary fighter pilot earned global recognition when he shot down Israeli aircraft during the 1967 Arab-Israel war. He is the only fighter pilot who downed four Israeli aircraft during the Six-Day War, which is also a world record.
“In recognition of his heroic contributions he was honored with military awards by the governments of Jordan and Iraq,” the statement said, in addition to receiving the “Living Eagle” title from the United States government in 2001.
Saiful Azam has flown for four air forces, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Jordan, and Iraq at war, and has destroyed fighter planes of two different air forces (India and Israel).
He served in the No.17 Squadron at the PAF base in Sargodha during the 1965 war. “Apart from inflicting heavy damage to Indian forces in the 12 ground-attack missions, Azam also had one IAF (Indian Air Force) aircraft kill to his credit as well,” the statement added.
For his courage during the 1965 war, Azam was honored with the “Sitara-i-Jura’at” (Star of courage) award by the Pakistan government.
Born in 1941, Azam left home at 18 to enlist in the Pakistani Air Force. Following the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, the fighter joined the Bangladesh Air Force at his newly-independent homeland.
He retired from the military in 1980 and developed a career in the civil service and later became a politician.