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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Goodbye My Pakistani Hero

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Yesterday on the 18th of March, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan said Good Bye to its most famous war heroes of all time. Muhammad Mehboob Alam, very popularly known as MM Alam passed away yesterday after fighting a long battle with terminal illness. He was 77.He will be best remembered for his decisive role and his incredible heroics in the 1965 Indo-Pak war. He single handedly shot down 5 Indian fighter jets in under a minute, 4 of them which went down in the first 30 seconds and established a world record by doing that. For his bravery and the skills he demonstrated in the theater of war, he was awarded the 'Sitara-e-Jurat' or the Star of Courage, one of the highest military honours given to military service men in the Pakistan armed forces. The very trendy and fashionable street in Gulberg, Lahore is named after him.

The nation should never forget a heroe like MM Alam, for he was not just a national heroe, but he was a true patriot till his very last days in mortal existence. MM was born in Calcutta (now called Kolkotta) in 1935 during the days of the British Raj and along with his family migrated to the new nation state of Pakistan. His war time bravery aside, he demonstrated his emmence patriotism for his nation, the very nation that his forefathers worked very hard to create by choosing to remain a Pakistani and a Pakistani serviceman even after the brutual civil war unleashed by ethnic nationalists in the former East Pakistan. He chose to stay on and become a Pakistani even after the new ethno centric state of Bangladesh emerged out of former East Pakistan. He went on to serve the state of Pakistan till he retired in 1982 and opted for a quite life in Karachi till his passing away. He is survived by his brothers, who are very well known individuals in the Pakistani intellectual community and are currently professors at universities in the United States.

 Despite the fact that thousands of Bengali origin soliders including those on senior ranks betrayed their country and defacted to fight with the seperatist minded rebels, MM Alam and a few others like him did not abandon the dream of Pakistan. It was unfortunate that at the time the Pakistani Airforce grounded him because of his Bengali origin  in the backdrop of countless defactions. A very well known example is that of Moti Ur Rehman who tried to defact by taking off in an aircraft from an air force base in Karachi, who was only stopped by the bravery of another patriot Rashid Minhas. I don't intend to go into the gory details of the 71 war in this blog, I am saving it for December, this is all about the man, the legend that was Muhammad Mehbood Alam who is now no longer among us. His bravery and patriotism is a good learning example for Pakistani's today and he will continue to be an example for many generations of young Pakistani service men in the years to come. Rest in Peace MM Saheb, may the Almighty grant you a place among others in Jannah.

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