Air Commodore M. Zafar Masud – A Pioneer of the Pakistan Air Force

Air Commodore M. Zafar Masud – A Pioneer of the Pakistan Air Force has recently been published (ISBN: 978-0982611067) and released in the United States of America. In this book, author Nasim Yousaf (grandson of Allama Mashriqi) tells the story of Air Commodore Masud – a decorated Pakistani fighter pilot, who sacrificed his promising career in an effort to save Pakistan. Masud resigned from the Air Force based on a principled stand against the use of military force in East Pakistan.

Air Commodore Masud was the son of the late Zakia Sultana (Allama Mashriqi’s niece). During the 1965 war with India, Air Commodore Masud was the Base Commander of the Sargodha Base (now PAF Base Mushaf). He and the pilots under his command at Sargodha Base fought the war with extraordinary courage. As a result of his valiant and heroic performance, Air Commodore Masud received the prestigious honors of Hilal-i-Jurat (1965) and Sitara-i-Basalat (1971). The Daily Times (October 08, 2003, Lahore) wrote that Air Commodore Masud “was one of three recipients of the Hilal-e-Jurat from the Pakistan Air Force for services during the 1965 war…”

Air Commodore Masud passed away in Karachi (Pakistan) on October 07, 2003 and was laid to rest in the Karachi Military Graveyard next to his beloved wife, Elizabeth. His burial included a Guard of Honor from the Pakistan Air Force. As a tribute to the departed soul, Retired Air Chief Marshal Jamal A. Khan wrote a stellar article in the daily Dawn (Oct 13, 2003) newspaper (Karachi) entitled “Mitty Masud folds his wings.”

Book Description (from the Back Cover):

“The late Air Commodore M. Zafar Masud helped to mould the Pakistan Air Force into an effective fighting machine. Pakistan will remember him as one who made a great contribution towards the development of the Pakistan Air Force…” – Air Marshal (Retd.) Asghar Khan

“An exceptional fighter pilot… Masud…was widely respected and regarded as a probable future air force chief.”

– Air Chief Marshal (Retd.) Jamal A. Khan


Air Commodore Mohammad Zafar Masud is among the pioneers of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). At the time of the partition of India in 1947, he was already an air force pilot and became the youngest founding member of the newly born Royal Pakistan Air Force (later Pakistan Air Force). In the PAF, he was affectionately known as “Mitty Masud” and is remembered as a top-rated fighter pilot and “the most brilliant planner and professional commander ever produced by PAF” (Retired Air Marshal Inam-ul-Haq Khan). Masud was also posted to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and held the positions of Air Officer Commanding and Unified Commander of Eastern Military High Command at a time when Pakistan was confronted with great political turmoil in its East wing.

Air Commodore Masud’s contributions to the Air Force were well renowned. He led a formation of Sabre jets that set a world record in aviation. As part of building the PAF, Masud also founded the Fighter Leaders’ School (now known as the Combat Commanders’ School). This institution has earned a reputation as the ‘Top Gun’ base of the Pakistan Air Force. He also authored The Story of the Pakistan Air Force – A Saga of Courage and Honour, which provided an account of the PAF from 1947-1988. A hero of the 1965 war, Masud was awarded the second highest military honor in Pakistan, the Hilal-e-Jurat. Many pilots under Masud’s command also received honors.

This book tells the captivating story of Air Commodore Masud’s career, elucidates on the circumstances that prevailed in East Pakistan before its breakup from West Pakistan, and sheds light on how the Pakistani leadership’s handling of the grave situation in the East wing led to Air Commodore Masud’s resignation.

About the Author:

Scholar and Historian Nasim Yousaf has conducted extensive research since 1996, primarily focused on Allama Mashriqi and Dr. Akhter Hameed Khan. His works have been published in prestigious academic and peer-reviewed journals in the United States of America. Thus far he has published 33 works, which include 14 books and 19 digital versions of rare and historical documents.

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