I was born in 1948, exactly one year after the creation of my country. My birthplace is Abbotabad, a beautiful, serene and sleepy cantonment nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas which was thrust into global prominence on the night of May 2nd, 2011. It was there that, almost one decade after the 9/11 disaster, its mastermind, Osama Bin Laden, was despatched to his Maker by Seal Team Six.
I am a fighter pilot.
I learnt to fly before I learnt how to drive. I flew my first solo flight in a glider when I was barely 14 years old. I was flying powered aircraft, the Texan T6G Harvard at age 16, jet trainers at age 17 and single seat fighters while still a teenager. Flying fast jets has been my passion; flying the best and the fastest, my great fortune.
I started out on the F86 Sabre and retired from active flying with the F16, Fighting Falcon, I have flown every front line fighter aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force and also those of some other nations. I have flown British, American, Russian, Chinese and French fighters in diverse locations spread across many continents. It has been my great fortune to have flown with (and against) some outstanding fighter pilots of many air forces. My extensive travels have taken me far and wide and I have interacted with some of the finest human beings across the globe.
I have also had the unenviable opportunity to experience the dark side of humanity. Fortunately, these encounters have been more than offset by the many uplifting experiences I have had.
I have been in harm’s way and have fired in anger more than once.