Name: Mukhtar Ahmed Dogar
Pak No: 2353
Father’s Name: Hakim Ali Dogar
Date of Birth: 15 May 1922
Place of Birth: Hoshiarpur, India
Date of Commission: 29 Mar 1943
Date of Retirement: 21 Aug 1968
Date of Demise: 5 Jun 2004
Gallantry Award: Sitara-e-Jurat (SJ)
Early Life/Career: Hoshiarpur born Mukhtar Ahmed Dogar was the son of Hakim Ali Dogar. After receiving primary education at his native town, he gained commission in Royal Air Force, and was accepted into the RAF Academy at Cranwell. After graduation, Dogar joined Royal Air Force, and participated in 1945 Burma Campaign as a Flying Officer. After the independence of Pakistan, Flying Officer Dogar opted for Pakistan’s nationality, and was inherited in No. 5 Sqn ‘Falcons’. While posted in Gilgit, he actively participated in Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. He also had a short stint at Miranshah where he flew numerous close air support missions against tribal warlords and carried out watch and ward duties for a couple of years. Later in his career, he commanded various squadrons of PAF, which included No 12 Sqn at Mauripur, No 9 Sqn at Peshawar and No 6 Sqn at Chaklala. During the 1948 Kashmir War, Dogar was serving the No 6 Sqn equipped with Dakota aircraft.
Brief Description of Gallantry: Initially, when the skirmishes in the volatile Kashmir valley started in early 1948, The Government of Pakistan gave orders to PAF to stay away from the conflict zone. However, PAF was only involved in supply dropping mission in northern areas in support of Pak Army. In this backdrop, Flt Lt Dogar along with his aircrew took off in a Dakota in the early morning of 4 Nov 1948 from Chaklala. The mission was to para-drop supplies for the Pak Army troops engaged in skirmishes in Kashmir. The weather was fine and the spirits of the crew were high. The venerable Dakota flew through the winding Indus valley.
On approaching the drop zone, Dogar reduced speed, prepared the aircraft in para- drop configuration, and got ready for the final run. Navigator on board started with the final countdown. Overhead the sandy bed near Skardu valley load was dropped and aircraft exited. Dogar gave controls over to Flying Officer Jagjivan (co-pilot) on the way back so that he could relax for a while. The aircraft was somewhere over Chilas when the crew sighted 2 Tempests above their own aircraft. Dogar first took them for PAF aircraft and continued as planned. Soon Dogar discovered their identity and quickly took over the controls from the co-pilot; they were the IAF Tempests. On the Radio, Tempests ordered Dogar to turn back and go to nearest Indian airfield; otherwise, they would shoot down the Dakota. The valley at Chilas is about 4 to 5 miles wide permitting easy manoeuvring of an aircraft. Dogar turned sharply an instead of complying with their command weaved along towards Risalpur. The Indians repeated the order three times, but he did not respond. At this point, the Indians fired a free burst to show that they were armed. Undaunted, Dogar pressed on regardless, at full throttle weaving along the Indus valley at deck level. His main concern was to get to the narrow portion of the valley as quickly as possible. The army personnel on board were feeling rather queasy by now with all evasive manoeuvring and, ignorant of the situation outside, requested Dogar to ease off; they appeared to be under the impression that he was trying to impress them with his piloting skills. A fateful realisation came over them when they learnt that Dogar was fighting not only for his own life but for theirs too.
Naik Muhammad Din, however, was watching from the open doorway of the aircraft, blissfully unaware of what was to come next. At this time, one of the Indians broke off, gained a little height, and came in to attack. He obviously meant business now and fired a full burst of 20mm at Dakota, fatally wounding Naik Muhammad Din and knocking Jagjivan unconscious with a profusely bleeding arm.
By now, the aircraft had got to the narrow neck of the valley. Dogar immediately asked Air Signaller Mohsin to stand up in the Astro-hatch and kick him every time he saw the fighters coming in for a kill. Thrice he was kicked and thrice, with quick half throttle, full flaps, and left rudder he successfully eluded death. The aircraft had come down to deck level now, scraping almost along the river’s surface but well out of the fighters’ reach. As the valley started to become narrow, Indians, however, seemed to give up the chase and decided to turn back. The encounter lasted for 20-25 minutes. Flg Off Jagjivan who had received six shrapnel of the 20 mm cannons fired by the attacking Tempests survived later on. Dogar thus became the first PAF officer to earn the coveted SJ in 1948 Kashmir War. He thus set the example of grit and indomitable courage right when the PAF was at an incipient stage. The nation beckoned to the aircrew, and they responded resolutely.
Participation in 1965 War: In early 60, Mukhtar Dogar came up with a brilliant idea of establishing PAF’s own Special Services Wing (SSW). The senior leadership of PAF liked the idea and tasked him to form SSW in close collaboration with Pak Army. Thus, he became the founding and pioneering members of the elite wing. He worked day in and day out in establishing the new unit on lines of army SSG. He selected and trained PAF personnel for the demanding job and also formulated plans to use such force during war. He left no stone unturned in training these men of courage and finally succeeded in establishing a force to be reckoned with. He did not have to wait for long to test the efficacy of newly born force. Soon the clouds of war gathered over sub-continent in Aug 1965 and he was ready to get into action at short notice.
Air Commodore Mukhtar Dogar was commanding the intelligence set up of PAF when the war broke out in 1965. In the initial round of the war, it was considered vital to neutralise the threat from the forward IAF bases and keep up the momentum of the attacks, that the fighter and bomber raids on the airfields were planned to be supplemented by air-dropped commando raids directed against aircraft, personnel and installations on the ground. For carrying out this vital assignment, he was tasked to plan a covert para-drop commando missions against important IAF bases.
The 3 C-130s needed for the para-drops were positioned at Peshawar at 2000 hours ready to go. The TOTs were planned for midnight, and for three hours, all B-57 strikes against the target airfields would be suspended to enable the commandos to accomplish their mission. The missions were launched in the pitch- dark night of 6 Sep and produced considerable results.
Citation of TPk: “Gp Capt Mukhtar Ahmed Dogar has made a significant contribution towards planning, control and conduct of special operations during the war with India. In May 1965, he was asked to set up the Joint Operations Centre while at the same time he was a member of the planning committee at AHQ. In that capacity, he was entrusted with the conduct of special transport operations. The task he carried out very successfully in close liaison with the army often carrying out complicated operations at very short notice. For this selfless devotion to duty, he has been awarded with TPk.”
Career Highlights: Air Cdre Dogar remained on various command and staff assignments during his career in PAF, which included OC Flying Wing Lahore in 1956, Deputy Director Plans at AHQ in 1957, Director Operations at PIA in 1960 and Officer Commanding Dacca Base from 1960-1963. He commanded PAF Base, Chaklala and Peshawar as well.
A Rare Honour: Perhaps Air Cdre Mukhtar Dogar was the only PAF officer who had flown such a large variety of aircraft during his long and illustrious service. He had flown an amazing mix of more than 35 fighter, transport, light communication and bomber aircraft. After rendering long and illustrious service for PAF spanning decades, Air Cdre Mukhtar Dogar retired from service in 1968.
Family Details: Air Cdre Dogar married Sultan Bibi and they were blessed with four children. Eldest daughter Basharat Begum was born on 12 Oct 1946. She is married and settled with her family. His son Shabbir born on 6 Jun 1949 joined PAF and later got retirement. He is now settled at Lahore. Nasim Dogar born on 29 Mar 1952 is married and presently settled at Faisalabad. Youngest Zulfiqar born on 18 Aug 1954 is settled in USA.
The Sad Demise: Air Cdre Dogar breathed his last on 5 Jun 2004 and was buried with full military honours at his native town in Faisalabad.