Legendary PAF fighter pilot Group Captain (r) Saiful Azam has passed away in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Sunday morning, according to officials and media reports.
The 80-year-old retired group captain breathed his last at his residence.
He had been suffering from various old-age complications for a long time, reports local newspaper Jugantor.
Bangladeshi army’s mouthpiece Inter-Service Public Relations Directorate also confirmed the death news.
“We came to know about his death but we have not published it on our official web page as he is a retired official,” ISPR Director Lt. Col. Abdullah Ibn Zaid said.
According to APP, Azam was born in then East Bengal’s Pabna District in 1941. At the age of 18, he left home to enlist in PAF and was commissioned as a Pakistani fighter pilot in 1960.
During the 1965 war, Azam served in No. 17 Squadron at PAF’s Sargodha base. Apart from inflicting heavy damage to Indian forces in 12 ground-attack missions, he also downed an Indian Air Force aircraft.
He was awarded Sitara-i-Jura’at his heroics in the 1965 war against India.
According to available records, Azam is the unique air force figure in the history of Bangladesh who took part in wars as a fighter pilot of three different countries — Jordan, Iraq, and Pakistan.
He is the only fighter pilot who downed four Israeli aircraft during the 1967 Arab-Israel war, which is also a world record.
He was also awarded him as one of the world’s 22 “Living Eagles” for his outstanding war skills and courage by the United States government.
In 1971, after Bangladesh’s cessation, the veteran fighter joined the Bangladesh Air Force.
Azam, also a former lawmaker from Bangladesh’s mid-northern Pabna-3 constituency, was regarded as a legendary figure by Bangladeshi people due to his untouched records as a fighter pilot.
After retiring from the military in 1981, he developed a career in the civil service and later became a politician.