March 14, 2010

The Founder of Pakistan, The Great Leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah

‘We are starting with the fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state. No matter what is his colour, caste or creed is first, second and last a citizen of this state with equal rights, privileges and obligations….

Pakistan will provide its minorities an ample field for the outlet of their genius and they should come forward and play their role as true citizens in making Pakistan one of the greatest nations….’

The Quaid’s message conveyed hope as well as a challenge. The minorities of Pakistan took up the challenge boldly. The Christians who are a majority amongst the minorities of Pakistan have played a leading role in this regard. They have excelled in every field of life – be it the Armed Forces, the Civil Services, the Judiciary, Education, Sports or the noble profession of the healing and caring for the sick and wounded.

Pakistan Air Force had the pleasant and proud privilege of receiving a very effective contribution from its Christian members. It is, therefore, befitting that we pay our tributes to them on the auspicious Christmas day which happily coincides with the Quaid’s birth anniversary.

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) - A Symbol of Pride for the Nation

Leading the forefront in order of chronology is Air Vice Marshal Eric Gordon Hall. Born in 1922, the young Eric migrated to British India from Burma after it was occupied by the Japanese in 1942. Having lost his father, an actively serving army officer in the war, young Eric enlisted in the ranks of the Royal Air Force and within weeks his potential was recognized and in December, 1943 he was selected for the officer cadre and was commissioned as a pilot. For the remaining period of the war he saw active duty with flying colours. With the partition of the Sub-Continent in 1947, Flying Officer Eric G Hall opted for Pakistan and was initially posted to Risalpur to help train and build up Pakistan Air Force. Through his vision, dedication and hard work, Eric rose to the prestigious rank of Air Vice Marshal and the Deputy Chief of Air Staff and Chief of Staff, PAF. During his service tenure he commanded a number of PAF Bases and also served as the Commandant of PAF Staff College, and Defence and Air Attache’ in USA.

hero4.jpg (7977 bytes)

Eric Hall’s finest hour came in 1965 when as a Group Captain he was commanding the air transport Base at Chaklala. With war being imminent, he was conscious of PAF’s handicap of the lack of heavy bombers. Eric Hall set up to fill this gap. He struck upon the unique idea of converting PAF’s C-130s to the role of ‘Heavy Bombers’. With some modifications these were made capable of carrying upto 20,000 lbs of bombs. Having conducted trials to prove the efficacy of the use of C-130s in this hitherto novel and innovative role, the Group Captain volunteered to lead the first bombing mission that happened to be over Kathua bridge, on 11 September 1965. This was a daring move and one of the finest examples of a commander leading from the cockpit. The mission was not only fraught with danger but the totally unarmed C-130 was also highly vulnerable to enemy action. But the success of this mission that was unique in the history of flying prompted the higher command to authorize thirteen more bombing missions on the C-130 including the precision bombing of Indian heavy guns at Atari on the banks of BRB Canal. The success of all these missions proved that the Air Vice Marshal had hit the bull’s eye it his innovative idea. For his valour and vision, Eric G Hall was awarded Sitara-e-Jurat in 1965.

After a long heroic life he breathed his last on June 17, 1998 in Maryland USA, where he had settled after his retirement in 1975.

hero5.jpg (8329 bytes)

Air Commodore Nazir Latif, who was born in 1927 joined the 8th GD pilot’s course but because of his high standard in flying, was upgraded to the 7th GD (P) course and graduated in 1950.

Just prior to the 1965 War, as a Wing Commander, Nazir Latif commanded a Bomber Wing. Under his able command, the bomber wing had been well prepared and well trained to undertake daring but accurate bombing missions deep inside the enemy territory. Wing Commander Nazir Latif led the most challenging raids including the successful attack on Ambala which was deep inside the Indian territory and was believed to be defended by batteries of Soviet-supplied SA-2 Surface to Air Missiles. On two occasions, his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft guns but he flew back his aircraft and landed safely after pressing home his attacks accurately. For his exceptional flying skill and valour the Government of Pakistan conferred the Sitara-e-Jurat on him.

In 1971 too, while commanding PAF Base at Masroor, he actively participated in the war and flew numerous daring bombing missions. During the course of his service, he commanded three different fighter and bomber wings and two Bases. He also served as Director of Operations and Plans at the Air Headquarters. After a long and meritorious service, he retired in 1972. He is currently serving as Director Operations in a Charter Air Service in the Middle East.

hero2.jpg (9922 bytes)

Wing Commander Mervyn Leslie Middlecoat was another outstanding pilot who deserves special mention. He was a brilliant officer right from the beginning. On his graduation with the 16th GD (P) course in 1954, he was awarded the trophy for the best performance in Ground Subjects.

Soft spoken and mild mannered, Middlecoat was the epitome of an officer and a gentleman besides being an outstanding pilot. Flying different aircraft in his service career, he came to master the F-104 Starfighter.

He was commanding No 9 Squadron during the 1965 War and believed in leading from the front. He kept the morale of the Squadron very high and guided his pilots in a highly professional manner. For his leadership and devotion to duty, Squadron Leader Middlecoat was awarded the Sitara-i-Jurat in 1965.

On the outbreak of war on 3 December 1971, Wing Commander Mervyn. L. Middlecoat was on a training visit abroad. He returned to Pakistan immediately and joined operations with such zeal and keen interest that he inspired all squadron pilots. The day after his arrival he was detailed on a strike mission to the heavily defended Jamnagar airfield. While returning after the successful mission he was engaged by 2 enemy MiG-21s. In the encounter his aircraft was hit by an enemy missile. He was heard to be ejecting in Indian territory and was officially declared ‘missing in action’ and later ‘presumed dead’. For his devotion to duty, determination and courage, he was awarded a Bar to the Sitara-i-Jurat.

hero3.jpg (11882 bytes)

Cecil Chaudhry, the son of Faustian Elmer Chaudhry, the famous Chief Photographer of Pakistan Times, Lahore, was born in 1941. His interest in aircraft and flying brought him to the PAF and he graduated in 1960. He soon established himself professionally and in 1965 was working as Flight Commander (Training) under the renowned Squadron Leader Sarfraz Rafiqui. When war broke out on 6 September, 1965, Cecil busied himself flying numerous Close Support missions to ward off the Indian ground attack against Lahore and Sialkot. He was detailed to fly a dusk strike mission against Halwara under the command of Squadron Leader Rafiqui. There were unavoidable delays in their take-off and Halwara got forewarned because of the successful PAF strike against Pathankot. When Rafiqui, Yunus and Cecil reached their target Halwara, they were intercepted by numerous Hunter aircraft of the Indian Air Force. During the engagement, after shooting down one Indian Hunter, Rafiqui’s guns jammed and he handed over the lead to Cecil. The three fought bravely against heavy odds but Rafiqui and Yunus were shot down while Cecil managed to return safely after shooting down a Hunter. The loss of his mentor Rafiqui and friend Yunus enraged Cecil and he fought the rest of the war aggressively and with determination. For his acts of courage, dedication and professional ability, Cecil received the Sitara-i-Jurat.

During the 1971 war also Cecil, by now a Squadron Leader, fought with valour. On 7 December, during his second mission of the day over Zafarwal-Shakargarh sector, Cecil’s aircraft was hit by ground fire and badly damaged. He had to eject in enemy territory but he managed to make good his escape and reached Sargodha base safely. He continued to fight valiantly despite fractured ribs and exacted his revenue on 11 December, when he managed to shoot down an Indian SU-7 fighter right over the area where he had lost his aircraft.

During the course of his service, Cecil commanded the prestigious No 9 Squadron and the Combat Commander’s School PAF. He retired in 1986 in the rank of Group Captain. Not one to sit idle, he took time to educate himself and subsequently became the Principal at St. Anthony’s School at Lahore. He continues to turn out scores of motivated young men who are bubbling with zeal and enthusiasm to serve their country with dedication, pride and honour.

Squadron Leader William Desmond Harney, a Navigator of exceptional courage and dedication to duty needs special mention.

Born in Chittagong in 1937, after receiving his early schooling at St. Placids, W.D. Harney joined PAF Academy in 1957 and graduated in 1960.

In 1965, when war broke out, W.D. Harney was posted as Navigator in a Bomber Squadron. During the war, inspite of a hand injury, he voluntarily undertook 14 bombing missions and especially the most hazardous ones to Adampur, Halwara, Jodhpur, Pathankot and Ambala. In all the missions, he excelled in leadership, courage and devotion to duty. His mission-planning and execution of the missions was so meticulous that despite heavy odds, he always reached his targets and contributed significantly to the accuracy of the attacks. For his display of extreme courage and professionalism, W.D. Harney was awarded the Sitara-i-Jurat.

Squadron Leader W.D. Harney participated wholeheartedly in the 1971 war also and undertook a number of daring missions. He retired in 1974 and decided to settle in Australia where he had gone to attend to his ailing father.

hero1.jpg (8523 bytes)

Squadron Leader Peter Christy was a jolly, hard working and dedicated officer. He served as a B-57 Navigator and flew a number of successful operational missions in 1965. In 1971, Peter Christy was on deputation to PIA when he himself volunteered to return to PAF for war duties. He displayed great keenness to fly, and inspite of overwhelming family obligations and responsibilities he was always willing to take on any mission at any odd hour of the day or night. His sense of humour under war conditions, his dedication to the cause of the country and his personal courage contributed immensely to the Squadron’s morale.

On 6th December, 1971 Squadron Leader Peter Christy was detailed as Navigator for a bombing mission to Jamnagar. He failed to return from the mission and was officially declared ‘missing in action’. For his personal example and complete devotion to duty, he was awarded Sitara-i-Jurat.

It is for paucity of space that only seven names have been dwelled upon in detail but the rank and file of PAF is full of names of Christian officers and men who have contributed significantly to the formation of PAF and later kept the national banner flying with courage, dedication and dignity. To name a few, ‘Edwin Nazirullah, Steve Joseph, James Jebb, Patric Callaghan, Stephen Israel, M.J. O’Brain, Springett and Game amongst the pioneering pilots with Leslie de’ Cruz the Navigator, Alfred Jagivan the Air Gunner, Marston the Armament Officer, Robert Ritchie, J.E. Lewis, H.J. Caldens, J.M. Octavious and H.W. Highland the Admin Officers and C.M. Revis the Education Officer among the pioneers. Later John Carrapiett and Saleem Gohar who fought valiantly in the Indo Pak Wars. Out of these, besides Eric Hall, Steve Joseph and M. J. O’Brain also rose to the rank of Air Vice Marshal and achieved the penultimate position in PAF and served as the Deputy Chief of Air Staff. Air Vice Marshal O’Brain also achieved a rare distinction as having been so far the only PAF Officer to serve as the Commandant of National Defence College.

It is interesting to note that out of a total of 70 Sitara-e-Jurats awarded to PAF officers in both the Wars, seven were won by Christian officers.

The tradition continues till today as the mantle is passed on to generation after generation of Christians in PAF who continue to give their best to PAF and their country as an embodiment to Quaid’s dream and message.

The faces and the names of the men in blue
shall be ever-changing,
With each generation that will prevail in its time,
and then pass on into history.
But the courage and the honour
of the Pakistan Air Force
shall endure forever,
for they are its very heart and soul.

Credits & Disclaimer: Copied from in original form without any text edits. Copy information emailed at for record and feedback. Usage for general sharing and information within non-commercial usage.


Muslim values of the real America

December 23, 2009

A former four star general of the US Military and the 65th Secretary of State of the United States of America with the Bush administration, Colin Powell beautifully explains and exemplifies the true Muslim values of the real America. Colin Powell has openly and clearly defended the Muslim values of the American society. Powell has also openly rejected the Muslim-phobic attitude of some of the senior leaders of his own Republican political party.

Signs of Allah – Do you really need to watch to believe

October 21, 2009

Signs of Allah have ever since been there for those who see. However for those who have to watch in order to believe a recent report from Russia claims that an infant male child has started showing verses from the Holy Quran on his body. These verses are clear, readable and verified against the original Quranic transcript.

Report says that where this news has created interest amongst the locals, from a Muslim stronghold, in their religion it is also being termed by the local Imam (cleric/keeper of mosque) as a sign of nearing of the ‘Judgment Day’. The local politician such as Local MP Akhmedpasha Amiralaev said: ‘This boy is a pure sign of God. Allah sent him to Dagestan in order to stop revolts and tension in our republic.’ The polarity in the interpretation of the supposed Quranic markings clearly suggest the difference in orientation.

Whether truly the work of the hidden hand, an attempt by parents to instant fame, a skin allergy or a media gimmick the real message is not in watching but in seeing the signs in our daily lives. Media stories can at best achieve some temporary viewership, a short-lived look-back to religion or spicy social gossip. A Believer does not need stories. A Believer is not born. A Believer is not created with religious education. A Believer can’t be programmed with TV news. A Believer can be anyone hailing from any religious setting. What truly makes a Believer and sets them apart is the feeling & the yearning to connect with truth in their respective roles. How does this feeling develop? By opening up to the space around oneself and merging with reality. It is easier said that done. Belief is not easy it requires consistency, determination and resolve.

Are you a Believer? Do you see or must you watch too?

Challencheering for Pakistan’s win over Arch-Rivals India at the ICC Champions Trophy 2009

September 27, 2009

pakistan-vs-india PosterRun search on a search engine with the phrase Arch-Rivals+Cricket . I ran it on Google and guess who is the Arch-Rival for Pakistan. Oh you knew it already!? But I did not write ‘Pakistan vs. India’ with the search phrase. By the way try it for interesting results in Google Images. The pictures I have posted here are from the same image search. Even then almost all results are similar to something like the very title of this post. Yes my dear Pakistani and Indian friends, cricket fans and sports critics; Pakistan and India are the greatest, most widely watched, most popularly known ‘Arch-Rivals’ inside the world of the Sports of International Cricket. Over a billion cricket fans watched the Pakistan vs. India Cricket Match of the ICC Champions Trophy 2009 in the SuperSports Park at Centurion, South Africa. Why? Because it was a match between ‘Arch-Rivals’ Pakistan and India! You remove the vintage prefix ‘Arch-Rivals’ there falls the audience, the frenzy, the advertising money and the game of Cricket. Yes so serious are the consequences! ‘Arch-Rivalry’ is good for everybody eh. It fetches happiness to people on only one side of the Pakistan-India border whenever the respective team beats the other even more than winning the World Cup or lifting the ICC Champions Trophy 2009.

Now that we are comfortable with the term “Arch-Rivals’ that simply means ‘Principal Rivals’ keeping the feelings aside, we now need to understand how the supporters keep their teams motivated through the match to give their best and to …yes..say it… and to send the other team packing.

Pakistan vs IndiaIf you have ever supported your team at a sports game you must realize that the only and most impact-ful contribution you make to your team is to serve them with hot chants and cheers that keep their blood boiling, their adrenaline bursting and their minds focused on the rivals! You cheer them up! You tell them to play the other team out. Cheering for your team is the single most important part you play in the game. However the simple cheering quite simply is not meant for a game between ‘Arch-Rivals’. I do not advocate jeering since that gives more attention to the opponent. So what do you do? As suggested by some friends no you don’t serve them with sweet candy. Neither do you serve them with drinks. You do what needs to be done as a supporter of their ‘Arch-Rivals’; YES the team that you love and want to see prevail. Since there is no word or term I could find I have come out with a new term.

pakistan_cricket_logoChallen-Cheering (read chal-len-cheer-ing); made up with a mix of two words ‘Challenge’ and ‘Cheering’. This term Challencheering carries in it the positive and exclusive cheering that your team needs from you and the healthy dose of challenge that the opponent team must get. For example a simple punch less cheer for your team would be something like this:
– ‘Go Green Shirts Go’ or
– ‘The Stars are shining Green, Go bold them clean’ or
– ‘Play to Win for Pakistan’  or
– at best and popular amongst kids ‘East or West, Pakistan Team is the Best’.

Does it stir anything inside you as a supporter. Do you really think it will send a spark through your team to send the other team home!? Good Morning! Hellooo!

Try on the other hand the ‘Challencheering’ combos;
– ‘Pakistan Team is No.1, Bye Bye India We have Won’ (We Will Win…during match)
– ‘A hit, a catch, a howzzatt, Watch out we’re on ya back’
– ‘Team Pakistan 1 2 3, Hit, Catch, Make them Flee’

Yes just the right mix of blood pumping adrenaline for your team and a caution for the opponent to be ready, to be on the defensive. One has to surrender, lay arms and leave with a white flag and a fake smile. Exclusion games are a softer form of battle anyways.

So my dear Pakistani and Indian fellas, the next time you attempt doing any good to your National Cricket Teams please make some effort, pump up yourself first before attempting to bother your own teams. Challencheer the teams! Make your team win! Enjoy the game of Cricket till the Arch-Rivalry lasts.

Wait…so did we Pakistanis actually Challencheer for this match?! I hope so!

Generalizing positive attributes could actually help Interfaith Harmony

May 23, 2009

Generalize This!

A Muslim man helps a Jewish couple on the sub from extremist Christian attackers in the United States of America. Unfortunately the American media is seen keen on relating individual or group violances when Muslims are involved with the religion and thus the entire Muslim community but somehow fail in relating acts of good citizenship and social responsibility with the followers of Islam all too often.

Young Muslim Americans speak on Societal Integration in the USA

May 23, 2009

Popular cable TV anchor and host Riz Khan of the Al-Jazeera English TV speaks to young Muslim Americans on their experiences regarding societal attitudes especially post 9/11. Also includes opinions by spokesperson of the Department of Homeland Security, American Government.

All the participants had a mix of opinion but the net of their opinion affirmed that being a Muslim surely had a compromising effect on their lives in the American society. The guest Muslim girls wearing hijab also shared that despite the fact that they chose to wear hijab without any compulsion, the American public in general thought of it as a symbol of oppression and looked upon the girls in a sympathetic fashion.

This discussion reveals that despite having diversity in the USA the society has really not been able to understand and thus respect their different lifestyles that emanate from their unique belief systems. The problem occurs whenever a sharp individual deviation or extremity is observed by the society and the focus suddenly narrows towards the Muslim community. This generalization of an individual act is the strongest dis-integrating fault of the American social system that has its foundation laid into ignorance of other faiths and cultures that collectively make up the American Dream.

Captain Ahmed Raza Khan, Pakistan Army – Best Overseas Cadet, Sandhurst

January 19, 2009

Ahmed Raza Khan currently serves in the Pakistan Army as a Captain. Hailing from the Slaig village in the mountainous Lors Valley in Northern Pakistan Ahmed Khan excelled as a military cadet and won a place at the prestigious military training academy of the UK at Sandhurst. Outstaning military cadets are selected from leading military academies from across the world for superior training in a global-military training environment at Sandhurst. The British Royal Family also goes through military training at Sandhurst getting it even further recognition in terms of the high standards maintained and media coverage. Captain Khan as a cadet under training at Sandhurst shared the training batch with Prince Harry.

Captain Khan was awarded the Overseas Sword of Honor by Queen Elizabeth for best overall performance on graduating from Sandhurst. This is the highest award for an overseas cadet.

Captain Ahmed Raza Khan - Holder of the Overseas Sword of Honor

Captain Ahmed Raza Khan - Holder of the Overseas Sword of Honor

Captain Khan is a brand ambassador of Pakistan to the world in the military profession as an outstanding officer and gentleman. He exhibits the values of a professionally competent armed force with highest professional and ethical standards.

This is highlighted by the fact that the recently disclosed video by the British media showing Prince Harry using inconsiderate remarks while terming Captain Khan “our little paki friend” and Captain Khan reportedly having forgiven him while still at Sandhurst.

Captain Khan had the chance to reaffirm his professional excellence in July 2007 in a road-side ambush while heading a military convoy in a military operation against the extremist militants challenging the writ of government alongside the Afghan border in Waziristan within the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Captian Khan’s convoy was ambushed with a road-side bomb and came under militant fire. A bullet pierced through the shoulder of Captain Khan who was in the head vehicle of the convoy. Captain Khan, despite a bullet wound, fought off the militants along with his men for an hour before reinforcements arrived. Captain Khan was given military commendation for his bravery on the battle-field. Captain Khan made a full recovery.

Salute to Captain Khan for his professional excellence for the Sword of Honor, thorough gentleman behavior on forgiving Prince Harry for his unbecoming remarks and exhibitting true leadership and loyalty to his country under fire.