Name: Muniruddin Ahmed
Pak No: 5030
Father’s Name: Khalifa Rashiduddin Ahmed
Date of Birth: 27 Sep 1927
Place of Birth: Gurdaspur, India
GD(P) Course: 26 GD (P)
Date of Commission: 22 Dec 1955
Date of Shahadat: 11 Sep 1965
Gallantry Award: Sitara-e-Jurat (SJ)
Early Life/Career: Gurdaspur born Munir was the youngest among the five brothers of Dr Rashiduddin Ahmed, a distinguished agriculturist of Rabwa, Jhang. His maternal grandfather Mirza Gul Muhammad was a renowned landowner of Amritsar. Munir received early education from Amritsar and at the time of Independence, he along with his family migrated to Rabwa. After passing his matriculation exams in first division, Munir joined PAF College, Risalpur in 1949 and graduated on 22 Dec 1955 with 26 GD (P) Course. After graduation, he was posted to elite No 14 Sqn and became the top-notch fighter pilot in a very short time. He also did Advanced Fighter Course on F-86 aircraft from USA and Jet Transition Course from Germany. On his return, he was posted to No 11 Sqn where he stayed for a year. He also had short stints of one year each in No 19 and No 5 Sqns of PAF.
A brilliant and dashing pilot, Munir was a man of endearing personality and popular figure (nicknamed Pha Munir) throughout the PAF. Always full of jokes and an extremely good shot, the heavy-built Munir had a slight stammer. Flying came naturally to Munir and for him life without flying was no life at all. He found his true metier only in the air and his whole life seemed to thrive on the excitement of flying and combat. The enviable list of his achievements was long. Munir was the proud member of PAF ‘Falcons’ aerobatic team and on 2 Feb 1958 this team made a world record in the history of aviation. On this red-letter day, for the first time a formation of 16 Sabre fighters under their renowned leader Wg Cdr Zafar Masud performed a loop during an air display at Masroor. Munir was also a proud member of the famous ‘Sabres Nine’ aerobatics team, which continued to mesmerise the audience during early 60s.
Munir was happy and contented to stay as a Sqn Ldr in an operational Sqn throughout his career and never cared to appear in any promotion examination, which would have led him to a higher appointment with no flying duties. At times, his colleagues would tease him by saying that he was going to be posted to a staff job at Air Headquarters. This was enough to upset him and he would start pestering his superiors not to post him away from the flying job.
Participation during 1965 War: Sqn Ldr Munir was posted at Sargodha as the Wing Ops Officer during the 1965 War. He never liked his desk job which was without action and always pleaded his Commander, Wg Cdr Anwar Shamim, to detail him for operational flying missions. From Sep 4-11, he took part in ten operational missions, which included close support especially in Chamb sector, destroying a number of tanks and armoured vehicles. He participated in combat missions nearly every day until he made the supreme sacrifice on Sep 11. For the first few days of the war, he did not get an opportunity to engage the enemy in aerial combat and was desperate to get a chance. His wish was fulfilled the day before his last mission, when he shot down an IAF Gnat fighter in a clash about 20 miles southeast of Ferozepur.
Brief Description of Shahadat: On 11 Sep 1965, Sqn Ldr Muniruddin Ahmed volunteered for the dangerous strike mission to destroy formidable Amritsar Radar station. Earlier attempts to destroy it (in which Munir was also the participant) proved to be futile as the target was well- camouflaged. Intelligence reports suggested that it was located in the centre of thickly populated Amritsar city and a battery of heavy ack-ack guns guarded it. The PAF leadership wanted to destroy the target at all costs so that air superiority could be achieved in the battle area. Munir considered the destruction of the Amritsar radar as personal challenge and being the Wing Ops Officer devised various tactics to neutralise this threat.
In the afternoon of the fateful day, Munir attended the briefing in which motive for the attack, location of the target, weather hazards and enemy defences were thoroughly discussed with the help of charts and maps. The TOT (Time On Target) was given and the pilots, carrying their parachutes and helmets, moved out of the operations room and headed towards the revetments where their Sabre fighter-bombers were parked. They clambered into the cockpits and checked the controls and instruments meticulously. At the predetermined time, the engines came alive and the aircraft started rolling towards the beginning of the runway. At the beginning of the long asphalt stretch, the four Sabres got lined up with their engines humming with their graceful lines belying the destructive power stored in them. Only their gaping mouths looked sinister. Suddenly with a deafening roar, the engines came to life and the first two Sabres, with Wg Cdr Shamim and Sqn Ldr Munir as his wing man, bounded down the runway. Just short of the end of the runway, heavily loaded fighter-bombers lifted their graceful bodies and cut upward into the blue haze of the September sky. A few seconds later, the other two, with Flt Lt Imtiaz Ahmed Bhatti and Flt Lt Cecil Chaudhry in their cockpits, joined up and the four set course for the target. Another ten minutes and they were nearing the enemy territory. Down below through the haze and dust-laden atmosphere, they could see the might of the two belligerent armies engaged in a struggle of life and death. With eyes scanning the skies for enemy interceptors, they roared on into the hostile land. Sitting tense and alert in their cockpits, they were flying very low and the dust and haze had reduced the visibility to the minimum.
As the four fighters drew near the city of Amritsar, they beheld, despite poor visibility, the glistening beauty of the domes of the Golden Temple. Suddenly, the enemy guns opened up.First, it was spasmodic but as the target came closer the intensity of flak increased. All types of guns, light and heavy, seemed to be firing at them and the air was filled with tracers and orange balls of shells but the four fighters, undaunted, ploughed on towards their target. Munir, who was flying as deputy leader, made last- minute adjustments for the final run-in. The leader pulled for the attack, other followed. As Munir dived and delivered the lethal blow from his guns, all the enemy gunners seemed to focus their artillery on him. Munir’s aircraft shuddered as a barrage of shells burst nearby; single-mindedly, he moved on through the web of fire.
As he pulled up after the attack, an enemy ack-ack shell hit Munir’s Sabre. “I am hit,” he told the leader in a cool and calm voice; and then the R/T went silent. Shamim tried to contact him repeatedly but there was no response. He looked around but Munir was nowhere to be seen. A great pilot, a jubilant officer and a proud son of the soil was gone. Initially, he was declared missing in action as his dead body was not found. Hectic efforts were made later by PAF but bore no fruitful results. He was posthumously awarded SJ by the Government of Pakistan.
Citation of Gallantry Award: Sqn Ldr Munir Ahmed was awarded SJ posthumously for “displaying courage and determination in the face of heavy odds and beyond the call of duty.” The citation reads, “During the war, a high-powered, heavily-defended radar station in Amritsar was eventually rendered infective after several determined missions by PAF fighters. In all these missions, Sqn Ldr Munir Ahmed unhesitatingly volunteered to fly and without regard for his personal safety exposed himself within the firing zone of enemy guns for long periods in attempts to locate and destroy the targets. In the final successful attack on Sep 11, he made the supreme sacrifice when his aircraft was fatally hit by the heavy concentration of ack-ack guns. Before his last sortie, Sqn Ldr Munir flew eight combat missions by persistently appealing to his colleagues to temporarily relieve him of his ground duties as Wing Operations Officer. In one of these missions, on his own initiative, he led his formation into Indian territory to seek out enemy fighters and shot down an IAF Gnat on Sep 10.”
Family Details: Munir married Shahida Begum on 22 Oct 1958. The couple were blessed with a daughter Zehra Munir. Mrs Muniruddin died in Jan 1992. Zehra married Syed Zulfiqar Haider, an officer in WAPDA, and is blessed with four children. Her son Danyal, the proud grandson of Sqn Ldr Munir (Shaheed), is a young boy pursuing his primary education at Lahore.