Remembering Air Chief Marshal Mushaf Ali Mir Shaheed - 16th CAS, PAF - Part 1/2
Air Chief Marshal Mushaf Ali Mir (Shaheed), NI(M)
Air Chief Marshal Mushaf Ali Mir (March 5, 1947 - February 20, 2003) was 16th Chief of Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force from November 20, 2000 until his death on February 20, 2003 when the PAF Fokker F-27 he was traveling in, crashed near Kohat, Pakistan. He was succeeded by ACM Kaleem Saadat. Mushaf Ali Mir was born in Lahore, and was one of nine children of a middle class Kashmiri family of Shia Muslim origin. His father, Farzand Ali Mir, was a calligrapher who died when Mushaf was young. He went to Government Wattan Islamia High School, Lahore. Mir was commissioned in the PAF on January 22, 1967 in 43rd GD(P) Course. He was a graduate of Flying Instructors School (FIS), and Combat Commanders School (CCS). He did his staff college course, PAF Staff College (now PAF Air War College), Faisal and his NDC course from National Defence College, Islamabad. Mushaf's key command appointments include Officer Commanding, CCS Mirage Squadron; Officer Commanding, No. 33 Wing Minhas; Base Commander, PAF Base Sargodha (now called Mushaf Airbase); and Air Officer Commanding, Southern Air Command. His staff appointments include: Director Operations, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Plans) at the Air Headquarters, Chief Project Director of Project Falcon (F-16) and Green Project Flash (Mirage 2000-5). His final assignment before promotion to CAS was Chairman of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Board at Kamra. ACM Mushaf Mir superseded five senior Air Marshals to become the Chief of Air Staff. Those air marshals were, Muhammad Farooq Qari, Vice Chief of Air Staff; Zahid Anis, DCAS (Operations); Qazi Javed Ahmed, DCAS (Personnel); Pervez Iqbal Mirza, AOC Southern Air Command; and Riazuddin Shaikh, DCAS (Administration), all of whom sought premature retirement. He was promoted by General Pervez Musharraf to become the 16th Chief of Air Staff on November 20, 2000. During his tenure as Air chief, the PAF's F-6 aircraft were retired from service. Some of them were given to the Bangladesh Air Force. On February 20, 2003, the Pakistani Air Chief died along with his wife Bilquis Mir and all other 15 officers, when their Fokker F-27 crashed during a routine flight to Kohat Airbase. The casualties included other high ranking officials of the Air Force including two Principal Staff Officers; Air Vice Marshal Abdul Razzaq, DCAS (Training) and Air Vice Marshal Saleem Nawaz, DCAS (Administration) and all of Air Chief's personal staff officers including Air Commodore Syed Javaid Sabir, Secretary to CAS, Air Commodore Rizwanullah Khan, PSO to CAS and Group Captain Aftab Cheema, APSO to CAS, Wing Commander Syed Tabassam Abbas, ADC to CAS. The casualties also included the pilots Squadron Leader Mumtaz Kiani, Squadron Leader Ahmed Yousaf, and Squadron Leader Abdul Rab; and the staff Senior Technician Khan Muhammad, Senior Technician Ghazanfar Ali, Corporal Technician Muhammad Ashraf, Corporal Technician Fayyaz, Corporal Technician Khush Kadam Shah and Corporal Technician Amjad Pervez. The official cause of crash was given to be pilot error amid bad weather conditions. According to investigative journalist Gerald Posner, the death of Mushaf Ali Mir was not an accident but an act of sabotage. The author claims in his book Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11, that Osama bin Laden struck a deal with Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) through Mushaf Ali Mir in 1996 to get protection, arms and supplies for al-Qaeda. The meeting was blessed by the Saudi's through Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, the then intelligence chief. However, after the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001, and reversal of Pakistani and Saudi stances favoring Taliban and al-Qaeda, the three Saudi princes associated with the deals died within days and seven months after that Mushaf Ali Mir's plane crashed near the Pakistan-Afghan border. Prince Turki bin Faisal, on the other hand was removed as intelligence chief and sent as Ambassador to United Kingdom during the same time. However, no evidence has been bought forward to conclusively proof Posner's account of events.