The tragic story of Pakistan Air Force Wing Commander Shahaz-ud-Din

Fallen soldiers evoke tremendous emotions, passion, and reverence within the military fraternity and civil society by large. World over, all professional militaries pay rich tributes keeping in line with the symbolic traditions and etiquettes, when it comes to the solemn occasion of handling the ‘fallen’ brothers. However, unfortunately, the Pakistan Army is a sole exception.

It is disastrous, that on many such occasions earlier Pakistan Army has literally washed their hands off and have shown no concern for the dead Pakistani soldiers fighting the adversaries in a foreign territory.

Indian Army burying disowned soldiers of Pakistan Army

Duplicity and hypocrisy of Pakistan Army exposed

Not very long ago in 1999, Pakistan media itself had described how some 500 bodies of Northern Light Infantry soldiers were disowned by General Pervez Musharraf and unceremoniously dumped in the middle of the night at the doorstep of their families to escape the public anger in Baltistan and Gilgit provinces.

The information fed to every Pakistani was that the Kargil war was fought by mujahideen and not by Pakistani Army regulars. 

However, when the secret conversation between General Pervez Musharaf and one of his Army Commanders in Pakistan was tapped and leaked to the international media, the Pakistani Army was left red-faced & exposed. There was a severe public backlash in Pakistan which forced them to finally accept the bodies of their dead soldiers.

Unfortunately, it was only eleven years later, that Pakistan Army officially acknowledged its role, named 453 soldiers and officers killed in the 1999 conflict. Captain Karnal Sher and Havildar Lalak Jan, who were both killed on 7 Jul 1999, were awarded Pakistan’s highest honor, the Nishan-e-Haider.

Thereafter, Mumbai attacks, Pathankot attacks, Uri attacks the list of so-called Pakistani freedom fighters (working under the aegis of ISI) disowned by Pakistan is endless. Pakistan has repeatedly disowned terror attack militants as “unverifiable bodies” despite compelling pieces of evidence which prove their nationality.  Under the garb of these non-state actors, the Pakistan Army has been nurturing terrorism and thereafter disowning their deeds & also their dead bodies. 

The tragic story of Pakistan Air Force Wing Commander Shahaz–ud-Din

It now appears that not much has changed in Pakistan over the years. Unfolding the events after Pulwama attack on 14 February, Pakistan has clearly been on a denial mode. Not only denial, but it has also been churning out fake news to satiate the domestic audience in order to stay relevant. Despite such inputs being trashed by credible sources Pakistan Army continues to carry out such propaganda against its own people.

First Post daily reported that, on 1 March, a family in Pakistan was in mourning – silent, blacked out from the public view, their sacrifice unacknowledged. Pakistan Air Force Wing Commander Shahaz-ud-Din, (of 19 Squadron, also known as the ‘Sher-Dils’) the F-16 pilot was shot down in a dogfight over the Nowshera sector, and was reportedly lynched by a mob in the Laam valley.

Remains of the downed F-16 Jet

Pakistani military spokesperson Major-General Asif Ghafoor had asserted, on the morning of 28 February, that two Indian jets had been shot down and two Indian pilots injured – one of whom was in Army custody, and the other in the hospital.

Later in the evening, Major-General Ghafoor took a U-turn and stated that only one Indian pilot was in Pakistan Army custody, without explaining his earlier comments. There was probably some miscommunication up the chain of command. It appears that the Pakistan Army is on a back foot for the use of F-16 for such misadventures and under the fear of the US has quietly drowned the sacrifice of one its finest pilot. 

On the other hand, an IAF who crossed the LoC fighting the adversary after downing an F-16plane became a captive but showed utmost bravery at the face of the enemy was not only acknowledged by the military but also brought back home safe. His valor was revered in unison by the entire country.

It is further reported that Shahaz-ud-Din’s father, Waseem-ud-Din, is also an Air Marshal in the Pakistan Air Force, and has flown F-16 and Mirages. Wonder how this man will face his son later, at least he should have come out in public and acknowledged his son’s sacrifice for the country. 

Pakistan Army is usually caught in a vicious circle of lying and denial. Had they made some gains on the political and strategic fronts during Kargil,  they might have even accepted the truth. But as the entire mission was a big failure, there was no choice but to deny it’s involvement.

Do they deserve this humiliation?

Pakistan’s media is under seize is a known fact. In order to hide their failure, false stories of valour of their soldiers and success stories are published in the media to stay relevant. Many such false claims are doing the rounds even now.


Continuous war propaganda by a military-controlled mullah, media, curriculum and political narrative that there are enemies around us who want to destroy Pakistan (and Islam) is self-destructing and suicidal. Pakistan is almost at the edge of catastrophic failure; civil-military divide, puppet democracy,  baffled military files & rank, social-ethnic keg, and a ripped economy. 

Self-proclaiming to be the finest army makes no sense when you are destroying your own country-countrymen first. Most importantly expending fine soldiers as a dispensable entity and thereafter depriving them of an honorable burial. 

07 Mar 19/Thursday                                  Written by Afsana