In the memory of an unsung Pakistani Christian war veteran’ gallant pageant

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On June 30, 2011 a national symbol of ardent courageousness Air Commodore Nazir Latif, was laid to rest in the capital. Today marks the fifth death anniversary of Air Commodore Nazir Latif SJ SBT. Commonly known as Bill Latif- a war veteran will always be known for his gallant pageant during the 1965 and 1971 wars.

Pakistani Christian war heroes

“He was a true example – that day a man of matchless potential bid this world good bye silently- the one who had left; was a national hero. The media, scholars, military analysts in addition to the Pakistani Christians had turned a blind eye towards the loss of this luminary war hero,” said Air Commodore (Retd) Sajjad Haidar S.J.

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Nazir Latif was born on October 23, 1927 in Lahore. Since childhood, he had a fervent passion to become a fighter pilot. In 1949 he joined Royal Pakistan Air Force as a commissioned officer. Nazir Latif spent next few years at Royal Air Force College, Greenwell acquiring training and was passed out in 1950.

He was a part of Pakistan Air Force Falcon Aero-tech Team, which made a world record in the history of aviation on February 2, 1958. As soon as war broke between Pakistan and neighboring India, the flying prodigy was called to serve in Peshawar.

On September 8, 1965, he was ordered to bomb Ambala Air base- one of the most secured airbases of India. He took on the daunting mission while leading a formation of two B-57 bomber planes and dared to wage into the air territory of the enemy. Caught in the midst of unrelenting retaliative bombing, he was successful in accomplishing what he had come for. He conducted efficacious bombing missions at Adam Pur, Pathan kot, Sri Nagar, Jodhpur and Agra air bases during the 1965 war. His courage and valiance during the war was greatly acknowledged by the government, Nazir Latif was honored with Sitara-e-Jurat, a national award.

In 1971 war, he again put up a fine show of implausible air blitz; by thwarting Indian Army’ advance towards Hyderabad. He commendably annihilated several tanks, trucks and trains carrying ammunition for the enemy. In recognition of his peerless services he was honored with Tamgha-e-Basalat. This war veteran’ unrivaled career ended in 1972 when he retired from Pakistan Air Force.