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Air Chief Marshal Muhammad Anwar Shamim, NI(M), SJ (born 1 October, 1931) was the Chief of Air Staff of Pakistan Air Force from July 1978 to March 1985. Air Chief Marshal Shamim was promoted to four star rank and assumed the command of the Pakistan Air Force on 22 July, 1978.

Early life

He hails from Haripurmarker (Hazara), and belongs to a family devoted to education. He received early education in his native town, proceeding to Government College Campbellpur (Attock), and subsequently joining Dyal Singh College, Lahore. He became a member of the then functional University Air Squadron," to begin his childhood dream career that "of a fighter pilot in the Pakistan Air Force.

He entered the Pakistan Air Force in the General Duties (Pilot) Branch on 14 March, 1952, and received his initial cadet training at PAF College. Risalpur. He was commissioned on 14 March, 1952 in 10th GD(P) Course; after successfully completing basic flying training course at Royal Australian Air Force College, Point Cook, (RAAFPC), for which he had been selected by merit.

War Service

Shamim actively participated in the 1965 and 1971 Wars. In the September, 65 War he was O.C. Flying Sargodha. For his leadership and personal" bravery, he was awarded Sitara-i-Jurat. The citation for the award reads:

"Wing Commander Muhammad Anwar Shamim in his capacity as Officer Commanding, fighter-bombers wing, made significant contribution to the high morale and aggressive attitude of the pilots who flew from this station. He efficiently managed the changing air defence and other requirements and ensured, while fully meeting these requirements, that the pilots got sufficient rest and other comforts to enable them to fly intelligently and confidently. During the operation, he led 14 air defence/escort missions and 5 ground attack missions. His leadership during these operational missions was aggressive and confident and served as a very good example for his pilots to follow . He accepted long hours of duty, including operational sorties at odd hours of the day, with enthusiasm. Wing Commander Muhammad Anwar Shamim was, therefore, awarded Sitara-i-Juraat. "

In the 1971 War, he was Sector Air Defence Commander (South).

Career

Air Chief Marshal Shamim has attended, among many other courses, the Jet Conversion Course in Australia, the Flying Instructors Course, and the Fighter Leader Course. A graduate of the PAF Staff College, he has also attended the National Defence College Course, and the International Defence Management Course in the United States.

Air Chief Marshal M. Anwar Shamim has held several command and staff appointments. He has commanded a No. 11 Squadron and No. 33 Wing. He has flown a variety of airplanes and was always current on all fighter aircraft in the PAF inventory. He has served as Officer Commanding of three Bases of PAF Masroor, Korangi Creek and Sakesar. His staff appointments at Air Headquarters include Wing Commander Tactical Operations and Deputy Director of Plans. For two years he served as Air Adviser to His Majesty King Hussein, for the Royal Jordanian Air Force. Before taking over as the Chief of Air Staff, he held the appointment of Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Operations) at Air Headquarters, Peshawar.

Other Awards

He has received the following awards — Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military), Hilal-e-Imtiaz Military), Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Military). His foreign decorations include: Al Istiqlal from Royal Jordanian Government and Legion of Merit from the United States of America. Air Chief Marshal Shamim is widely traveled and is a keen sportsman." He won several cups for Tennis, and Soccer as a young officer. "He likes Squash, and" he was very involved in the further development of the athletes and the game when he was "the President of Pakistan and Asian Squash Rackets Federations."

Legacy in the PAF

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Anwar Shamim was the second longest serving PAF chief since Asghar Khan in the 60s. He was CAS for nearly seven years. After President Zia-ul Haq insisted on his extension as Chief of Air Staff, he had to continue his duty. The next officer was as yet junior, and the President wanted him to oversee the full induction of the F-16 before he retired.. While there were several allegations of nepotism and improper conduct, But this has been fervently denied by his family

Air Chief Marshal Shamim is also legendary for inducting state-of-the-art F-16 fighter jets into the Pakistan Air Force. This accomplishment was one of the biggest achievements in the history of the Pakistan military. Under Shamim's leadership, the PAF became one of the most operationally efficient air forces in the world.

Criticism:

Anwar Shamim's tenure of 7 years as COAS is arguably the darkest period of Pakistan Air Force. During this time, several scandals emerged involving use of air force transport aircraft C-130s to fly narcotics at the behest of General Fazle Haq—the Governor of NWFP during Zia's reign. Anwar Shamim profited from this trafficking and ended up buying a ranch in the US. He was publicly humiliated when the Government of Canada rejected his credentials to be the Pakistani Ambassador to Canada. This was indeed a low point in Pakistan's history.

The Pakistan Air Force suffered tremendously during the seven years Shamim was COAS. The fact that PAF was lead by a sub par officer who delegated a lot of his professional decisions to personal feelings ruined many brilliant careers. Shamim's appointment in of itself ruined careers of many senior air marshals who were far superior officers.

Personal life

Air Chief Marshal M. Anwar Shamim was married in July 1958. His wife, Begum Tahira Shamim was an active social worker and President of Pakistan Air Force Women’s Association, with a professional dedication to welfare work, spanning over twenty-five years. She is a published poetess of four Urdu poetry books. He has three children: two daughters, who are attorneys; and a computer engineer son.

Post Retirement

Post retirement Shamim has been offered several ambassadorships, but has declined them, preferring to focus on family life.

Published Works

DAWN: Saturday March 12, 1988Afghanistan Problem: The End In Sight?....I

DAWN: Sunday March 13, 1988Afghanistan Problem: The End In Sight?....II

DAWN: March 27, 1988Implication’s of India’s Naval Build-Up.

DAWN: April 4, 1989Dilemma of the Bureaucracy.

DAWN : Saturday May 20, 1989What Does Agni Portend?

References

  1. PAF heroes - PakDef
  2. History of Pakistan Air Force from 1947-1982, First Edition, May 1982, by Syed Shabir Hussain and Squadron Leader M. Tariq Qureshi, p.220-222. PAF Press Masroor Karachi
  3. PAF s' Chief of Air Staffs
  4. Cecil Choudhary Interview
  5. S Iqbals Response at Chowk


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