Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Muhammad Anwar Shamim, A Veteran of 1965 And 1971 Wars
Air Chief Marshal Muhammad Anwar Shamim was born on 1st October, 1931, in an educated family from Haripur (Hazara). He became a member of the then functional University Air Squadron, to begin his childhood dream career of a fighter pilot in Pakistan Air Force. He joined RPAF in 1950 and on completion of his pilot training at the Royal Australian Air Force, he was granted commission in March, 1954.
His major appointments during the active service included, Officer Commanding No 11 Sqn and No 33 Fighter Wing. Former Air Chief commanded three PAF Bases, Sakesar, Korangi Creek and Masroor. At Air Headquarters, he served as ACAS (Ops), ACM (Retd) Anwar Shamim also served Royal Jordanian Air Force as Air Advisor to His Majesty King Hussain Bin Talal (1968-1970) and played key role in reforming the Jordanian Air Force after 1967 Arab-Israel war.
He actively participated in 1965 and 1971 wars. His leadership during war missions was aggressive and served as an excellent example for his juniors. On his act of outstanding bravery and heroism, he was awarded with Sitara-i-Jurrat (gallantry award) during the 1965 war. On 23 July, 1978 at the age of 47, he became Chief of the Air Staff and retired on 5th March 1985 after serving almost seven years.
Air Chief Marshal Muhammad Anwar Shamim was a well decorated officer. Among his decorations are Sitara-i-Imtiaz (M), Hilal-i-Imtiaz (M), Nishan-i- Imtiaz (M) and Sitara-i-Jurrat. He has also authored a book “Cutting Edge PAF” which illustrates his experiences in PAF.
He revolutionized PAF by starting a series of annual exercises code-named “Jet stream”, in 1978, for achieving operational excellence. These exercises were to progressively increase emphasis on joint services liaison at all levels, not only to ensure more effective support to Pak Army and Pak Navy in any future conflict, but also for other two services to understand and appreciate exactly what PAF could and couldn’t do. The aim of exercise was to determine combat effectiveness of the PAF in general and to test and evaluate various concepts of operations in particular. He consolidated the Air Force by achieving optimum combat-readiness compatible with maximum flight safety. In his 7 years of tenure as CAS, a total of 7 Jet Stream Exercises were held.
In 1979, six Air Defence wings were established to ward off the aerial threat to Pak Air Space. There was a qualitative improvement in system as six high powered TPS-43 radars were inducted and full automation of all the radars was also undertaken. In 1979, 32 Mirages were inducted in PAF, equipped with anti-shipping missiles. 20 FT-5 trainer aircraft were also acquired to improve upon the quality of flying training. Durandal runway penetration bombs were also included in the PAF inventory.
Three regional operational commands were constituted to achieve the aim of defending the motherland against any aggression in a befitting manner.
His most prominent contribution was the induction of F-16s in PAF On 14th January 1983, six F-16s landed at Sargodha in the evening. It appeared that not only the PAF but the whole nation got a boost. After the acquisition of F-16s, PAF involvement in Afghan war became fruitful. However, PAF was disallowed to fly in hot pursuit missions. He also purchased Chinese A-5 aircraft to enhance our ground support capability. He was a firm believer of Inter Services cooperation and earnestly thought that the three services should act in harmony to overcome any odds.
A Radar maintenance centre was setup at Kamra, to overhaul the radar systems and automation equipment held at the inventory of PAF.He established The institute of Air safety to promote flight safety in the PAF by training selected personnel as flight safety experts who would evolve, enforce and manage operational preparedness and safe flying. Kamra Air base was also made operational to counter any aggression from the western front.
As far as welfare of the PAF personnel is concerned he made tremendous contributions in this aspect as well. He was the pioneer of Shaheen Foundation, established for the rehabilitation of retired PAF personnel. Pakistan Air Force Women Association (PAFWA) was also given priority for the betterment of the wives of PAF low paid personel. Mujahida academies were instituted at Rawalpindi and Peshawar with a unique vision of skill development in the female students. The educational scholarship for the needy and talented students were also started for the children of PAF serving, retired and deceased personnel.
The real satisfaction he had was the professional standing of the Pakistan Air Force. Whether it is the threat to our nuclear assets or to our vital installation or some madcap venture like the hysterical talk of surgical strikes, the PAF has neutralised all such postures with the nonchalance that the situation deserved. The foundations of this capability were laid in his time as the Chief. He was ably assisted by his compatriots both in the service as well as sister services and those in the government. They functioned as a team and made PAF strong. There was a strong feeling of camaraderie in which individuals did not matter. The sole objective was the triumph of PAF. Today, Allah be praised, this service is fully capable of hitting any would-be aggressor and giving a telling reply to those who harbour nefarious designs.