On August 14, Pakistan celebrated its 65th Birthday. One thing missing during the celebration, as in the past, is media’s not mentioning of stories of many Pakistani pilots who acted beyond their duty to defend brotherly Arab nations from Israeli attacks.
During the so-called ‘Six Day War‘ (1967) which generated American Jewish support for the Zionist entity for the first time – Pakistani pilot Saiful Azam joined tiny Jordanian Airforce. On June 5, Saiful Azam engaged four Israeli jets over Jordanian Mafraq air base. He shot down a Mystére commanded by Israeli pilot H. Boleh and damaged another that crash-landed in Israeli territory. Two days later, Jordanian airforce commander sent Saiful Azam to help Iraqi airforce. While piloting the Iraqi Hunter Azam shot down two of the Israeli attacking planes. Pakistani pilots shot down a total of ten Israeli jets during 1967 war without losing a pilot or aircraft.
Saiful Azam, native of East Pakistan – joined Bangladesh Air Force in 1971. Both the US and Israel helped India to create Bangladesh out of East Pakistan. Saiful Azam has the unique honor of the only pilot in the world who downed four Israeli jets – and served in four airforces; Pakistan, Jordan, Iraq and Bangladeshi. He also hold world record of shooting-down three kinds of military aircrafts in two different air forces.
During October 1973 Israel’s Yom Kippur war on its Arab neighboring countries – A squadron of Pakistan’s Pakistan Air Force (PAF) arrived in Syria to fight alongside the SAF and halt the Israeli advance over the Golan Heights. The PAF pilots Sattar Alvi and Arif Mansoor, engaged and shot down an Israeli F-4 Phantom over Egyptian airspace. Another dogfight between the PAF and IAF over Syrian airspace came to a memorable end with Pakistan obliterating the Israeli Mirage IICJ flown by M. Lutz with air-to-air missiles. This was enough to convince other Israeli fighter planes to bug out and abort all further incursions into Syria.
Other Pakistani pilots who joined Syrian force as volunteers included future Air Marshal Nur Khan, Salem Metla, Shahbaz Khan, Wisaam Faris and Wisaam Shuja’at. Late President of Syria Hafiz Assad awarded two of the pilots country’s highest decorations for gallantry.
Pakistani air force states that all its 12 volunteer pilots scored direct hits against Israeli aircrafts and suffered no losses. During the 1973 war, Flt. Lt. A. Sattar Alvi became the first Pakistani pilot, flying a Syrian aircraft to shoot down an Israeli Mirage in air combat. Similarly on the Egyptian front, PAF pilot Flt. Lt. M. Hatif , flying an Egyptian MiG-21 shot down an Israeli F-4 phantom in an air combat. Pakistani Air Force did not lose a single pilot or aircraft in any of the wars.