Friend’s prayer for M.M. Alam’s health
I WAS sorry to read the letter (Dec 22) about Air Commodore (Rtd) M.M. Alam’s sickness. Naturally, we shall all pray that he gets well, soon. I have known Alam from Dhaka since the 1950s as a companion in the Shaheen Air Scouts (SAS). SAS was a marvelous concept designed by former Pakistan Air Force Chief, the late Air Vice Marshal R.L.R. Atcherly. The aim of this unit was to catch young people at a very early age and make them air-minded and promote them through a career in the PAF.
It was from SAS that some of the later brilliant pilots like Titch and Buch — two ace pilots — were elected to join the PAF from Dhaka.
As a fellow recruit in the SAS, we would report at the Dhaka PAF base early in the morning each Friday, do PT, and parade (with each step in the parade as real as real formation of the military) fly sorties of Auster, and Auster Aiglets with our instructors such as Sqn.
Leader Muchowski, Squadron leader M. Abbas and Flying Officer Wright (The last was an Indian Air Force pilot who came over in the service of Pakistan). Alam became fascinated with flying airplanes and later joined the PAF, where he became famous as dare devil flying man.
I left the SAS during the 1950s. However, I have had the pleasure of listening to his many absolutely unbelievable feats.
Once, during training, Alam performed a daredevil act of inverted flying for a very long duration which scared his supervisors, in the Air Traffic Control. They commanded him to pull back, and fly straight.
After he was decorated with Sitara-i-Jurat as ace pilot, I went down to meet him at the Sargodha air base. I was then meeting him after eons and he took me to the Air Mess, where he brought two glasses of milk, one for himself and the second for me. This was a strange behaviour considering reputation he had. By that Alam had changed. He then informed me of his religious inclination.
One Friday, about 20 years ago, Alam did the honour of visiting me at Islamabad. We went together for Friday prayers at a nearby mosque and then we sat down to eat. I have not seen him since that time.
I pray that God Almighty give Alam some more years of good health. All of us admire M.M. Alam as a role model, and hence we want to beseech Allah Almighty that this courageous ex-fighter pilot return in good health.