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Quaid and PAF

Sep 12: Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can he credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three. Hailed as "Great Leader" (Quaid-e-Azam) of Pakistan and its first Governor General, Jinnah virtually conjured that country into statehood by the force of his indomitable will.-Stanley Wolport

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah is one of the most dynamic leaders of modem times. As is evident from Wolport's opening paragraphs of the Quaid's biography, 'Jinnah of Pakistan', he was a complete leader. His foresight was tremendous. During his stay in Europe, he had watched the emergence of air power very closely. From its limited role in the First World War to the unprecedented death and destruction unleashed on humanity by the use of this new weapon, the Quaid perceived the overriding role that air power would play in future conflicts.

In 1936, Quaid-e-Azam met the Muslim Officers and men of the Royal Air Force at Lahore to discuss their progress and participation in the Air Force. He urged them to work hard and acquire the knowledge requisite to flying and maintaining aircraft displaying his interest in air power and its emerging potentials.

Pakistan Air Force has been lucky to receive the Quaid's special attention. PAF Base Masroor then known as Mauripur has the unique distinction of welcoming the Quaid in August 1947 when he flew in the Viceroy's Dakota to take up his mantle as the Governor General of independent Pakistan. People from all walks of life thronged to Mauripur to catch a glimpse of their "Messiah of the promised land".

As the Quaid alighted from the aircraft, overwhelmed by adoration, chanting Pakistan Zindabad, Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad, the people broke the cordons put up by the police and rushed towards the aircraft. The Quaid stopped on the last step of the aircraft's gangway and with a wave of his hand, beckoned the crowd, to go back behind the barriers. They retreated instantly as if they had been pushed by a magic wand. The first lesson of discipline had been driven home.

It was the Quaid's amazing prescience that convinced him of the inseparable link between survival and air power which would guarantee the security of Pakistan in the shadow of the neighbouring implacable enemy. It was his love of PAF which, on April 13, 1948 brought him to the RPAF Flying School at Risalpur despite his poor health.

As the Quaid stood before this small band of adoring PAF Officers and Cadets of his, fledgling nation's air force, despite his frail health, the air reverberated with his famous speech which became a source of inspiration for PAF in the trials and tribulations of the years to come:

"There is no doubt that a country without a strong Air Force is at the mercy of any aggressor. Pakistan must build up her air force as quickly as possible. It must be an efficient air force second to none and must take its right place with the Army and the Navy in securing Pakistan's Defence."

These stirring words have rightly become enshrined in the creed of the Pakistan Air Force.

Quaid's towering personality radiated great courage and dynamism and his inspiring words serve as a beacon of strength in the PAF even today.

In the formative years, every officer, airman cadet and civilian of the Air Force worked with untiring effort and never ending zeal to build PAF. The Quaid's dream of making the PAF second to none, did not take long to become a reality and the nation today is rightly proud of its Air Force as an impregnable shield of the country's airspace.

Successive leadership in the PAF pursued with continued resolve the task of building the nation's air arm from strength to strength. In keeping with the Quaid's aspirations, it behooves all of us in the PAF to indicate the Quaid's trust in out abilities to serve Pakistan with courage and dignity and make PAF a credible deterrent against our potential adversaries.

It is a unique coincidence that having received the first salute on Pakistan's soil in August, 1947 at PAF Base Mauripur, the Quaid replied his last salute also at a PAF Base. When he began his final flight from PAF Base Samungli at Quetta at 2:00 pm on September 11, 1948, Fatima Jinnah in her book Jinnah, "My Brother", writes: "....... the pilot, and crew lined up and saluted him. He in turn lifted his hand feebly....."
S.M. Hali (The nation)

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