“I’m sorry I shot your father down”

Forty six years after shooting down an Indian civil aircraft under orders during the 1965 war, Pakistani Air Force pilot Qais Hussain writes a condolence letter to the daughter of the pilot he shot down.  Beena Sarwar in The News.

Nearly half-a-century after shooting down an Indian civil aircraft under orders during the 1965 war with India, a Pakistan Air Force pilot has sent a condolence message to the daughter of the pilot of the aircraft he downed.

Qais Hussain, a rookie Flying Officer during the 1965 war, made this moving and humane gesture via an e-mail, expressing his condolences and providing details of the circumstances under which he shot down the Indian aircraft.

The e-mail is addressed to Farida Singh, daughter of the Indian Air Force pilot Jahangir “Jangoo” Engineer, one of the three famous Engineer brothers in the Indian Air Force.

The e-mail, with the subject line “Condolence”, dated Fri, Aug 5, 2011, is copied to Naushad Patel and Jagan Pillarisetti, the Indian contacts who helped Mr Hussain to reach out to the bereaved family, something he had wanted to do for some time. Mr Hussain forwarded the e-mail to a group e-mail for Pakistan Air Force colleagues, saying, “Most of you would recall that I had shot down an Indian civil aircraft after being scrambled from Mauripur in 1965 War”. Referring to an April 2011 article by Air Cdre. Kaiser Tufail (“The Gujarat Beechcraft Incident – 1965 War”, http://bit.ly/qhltr65 ), which gives details of the incident, he says that it was Naveed Riaz, the Lahore-based businessman and aviation enthusiast who helped him get in touch with the Indian contacts through whom he then managed to reach Jahangir Engineer’s daughter.

“I had decided to write a note of condolence, which I was able to do today and it is attached in full here below for your information,” he writes to his PAF colleagues, copied to Naveed Riaz. more

Read more in The Indian Express here.

And Farida Singh’s reply to Qais Hussain is up  on Beena Sarwar’s blog:

Dear Mr. Hussain,

Firstly, thank you for your condolences on the passing away of my brother Noshir.

I am somewhat overwhelmed at receiving this letter, even though I was expecting it as Jagan Pillarisetti had been in touch with me recently on this. more


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