Former chairman of civil aviation authority Bangladesh (CAAB), Group Captain (Retd) Saiful Azam breathed his last at the intensive care unit (ICU) of Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Dhaka at 1pm on Sunday.
The matter of his death was confirmed by a press release issued by CAAB.
Chairman of CAAB, Air Vice Marshal Md. Mofidur Rahman along with other officials of CAAB expressed their grief over Saiful Azam's death and conveyed their condolences to his family.
Group Captain (Retd.) Saiful Azam served as the Chairman of CAAB from 1972 to 1974 and from 1986 to 1986.
Master of the sky
In 2009, Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper Dawn published an article titled- "Tribute: Masters of the sky", where stories of heroism of some Pakistan Air Force personnel were described. Saiful Azam was also featured in the article. His part reads as below-
Flight Lieutenant Saiful Azam had the unique distinction of having kills against air forces of two different countries. As a young Flying Officer, Saiful Azam shot down an Indian Air Force Gnat during the 1965 War which earned him a Sitara-i-Jurat.
After the 1965 war, on the request of some Arab countries, some PAF pilots were deputed to the air forces of Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Egypt. During the 1967 Arab-Israel war, these pilots participated in defensive combat operations.
Saiful Azam, on deputation to the joint command of the Royal Jordanian Air force and the Iraqi Air Force, became the first Pakistani pilot to score against the Israeli Air Force. He shot down a Vatour Bomber, a super Mystere, and a Mirage IIIC in only two missions. To date, he remains the highest shooter of Israeli aircrafts.
He received various gallantry awards from both Jordan and Iraq for his extraordinary skill and courage. He retired as a Group Captain from Bangladesh Air Force. In 2001, he was honoured by the United States Air Force (USAF) and enjoys the status of being one of the 22 'Living Eagles' of the world.