Air Chief Marshal Shamim went down with the sunset yesterday leaving the world a bit sadder for his loss. Pinky to his comrades, when he arrived back from training in Australia he was posted to the first and only jet-fighter squadron. The fighter jets were British contraptions called ‘Attacker’ but notoriously known as the ‘flying coffin’. Shamim was lobster pink in complexion when he arrived on the first day in the squadron, and swiftly was bequeathed the ‘Nom du plume Pinky’. An ever smiling and warm natured fighter pilot became quickly popular with the ‘fire can jockeys ‘(No.11 Squadron rebel raiser pilots).

His assent was smooth as he never stepped on anyone’s toes, unlike me. He held several key appointments throughout his career till he reached the summit and stayed there for seven long years. My personal memories of him are as an officer and a gentleman. He was always protective of me and had no qualms even as the Air Chief to utter complementary words to me in the professional context and for what I stood for. Very few men who reach the top have the propensity to appreciate rather than to suffer insecurity. Shamim had that incredible quality and exhibited it graciously. Farewell my friend, you will find some great souls up there to welcome you, and may your soul rest in eternal peace, Amen.


Lahore, January 7.