Pakistan – Here we come….

Posted: July 4, 2014 in Adventure

Departure from Al Ain was a little less than inspiring, but Haris quickly got into the groove of things to aviate-navigate and communicate.  The waters of the Persian Gulf were calm as we climbed to 11,000 feet; we are now restricted to stay below 12,000 feet as we no longer have any oxygen left and I did not want to further complicate our life in Al Ain by asking for anything more than just the gasoline….  As we rounded out the Strait of Hormuz, the Arabian sea seemed more tumultuous and the wave action was producing a lot of foam that I initially mistook for boats but Haris, being young and with better eye sight, corrected me and informed me that the winds had kicked up causing wave action and foam formation.

The Omani air traffic controllers handed us off to the Pakistani controllers who requested that we advise them of our ETA and also let them know when we were 50 miles out.  The anticipation had now started to build quite a bit for me as I was anxious to see the Pakistani coastline.  I had left Pakistan in 1984 and have visited it often, but this time it was different.  We were arriving on our own and it meant a whole lot to me.  I felt a surge of emotion as I pointed out the outline of the coastline to Haris.  I don’t think Haris realized my true state of mind at that point and I did not want to encumber him with it either as he had to shoot an approach in to the Jinnah Airport at Karachi.  I wanted to look at everything that was passing beneath us to remember it for years to come….what a sight….. it felt like coming home !

The controllers then started vectoring us around and gave us a lower altitude to allow for a landing.  At 50 miles out, we had already informed the Karachi approach control of our ETA.  By the time Haris was established on the ILS approach, we could see the runway and he contacted the tower and made an uneventful landing.  A follow me car was waiting for us that took us to where all of our friends, family and TCF school children were waiting.  What a welcome, it was truly amazing and the children of TCF who were there made it all worth it.  A special thank you also goes out to IBAAS organizers Dr Wali Mughni and Prof Shamshad who had put this all together and made it possible for us.  Our handling agents in Karachi Executive Air International’s Saad Zaki and Urooj have been fantastic and efficient.  The students of IBAAS and TCF accorded Haris and I a welcome that I can not forget…..

According to plan, the next day we attended an iftaar with the Sargodhians’ Old Boys Association, Karachi Chapter.  We had a very good time talking with the seniors and juniors from our time at the great and esteemed institution that PAF College was.  We also raised funds for TCF during this event….

While all of this was going on, we were informed that our clearance to land at PAF Base Sargodha and been changed and we would be landing at an alternate field because the PAF can not provide night time security to the plane.  This is the most incredible, bordering on ridiculous, thing I have ever heard.  The PAF can not provide night time security INSIDE a base that is so secure that even birds can not over fly it.  The main charm for going to Sargodha for me was to fly into the PAF Base and visit our esteemed school and being that it was a once in a life time opportunity, this was a total waste !  Am I frustrated and upset about it ?  Yes, I truly am !  I had been telling Haris for six months how great the arrival and visit at Sargodha was going to be….. if there is one disappointment that will stand out more than anything else on this trip, it will be the trip to Sargodha !  And no, I will never get over it !  Sajid Habib bhai, the Principal of PAF College tried to convince me to look past this fiasco, but I can and will not !

The next morning we departed for Islamabad with a heavy heart……

  1. asad says:

    Welcome to Pakistan

  2. Jim Autrey says:


    It’s good to catch up on your exodus. Fantastic adventure so far. You and your son are learning so many things about yourselves and the world. Despite your setbacks, this has truly been a lifetime achievement.


  3. Faiyaz Syed says:

    Babar, No one can understand your emtions and feelings, but it is what it is. All we know your cause is great and your mission is historymaking (Baby Suleman is writing a history).

    Look forward to mission accomplish………… Go Hoosier

  4. Armghan says:

    we sargodhians fee proud at you bhai jan dont worry about anything Allah will help u and Hamza baig said.right sajid bhai is a good person…

  5. Tahir Sabir ( IBAAS ) says:

    Hats down to duo of Father & son of Capt Baber & Capt Haris, For their Amalgamation of multiple objectives into one objective of

  6. Azher Ali Choudhry says:

    Sorry to hear that. But I suppose you’re well received by the actual Sargodhians.

  7. naveed mukaram says:

    Mr Baber I can better understand your ‘s feeling, but it is very hard time for Pakistan home land security……?

    so don’t worry we all are proud of Harris.

    best regards

  8. Hamza Baig says:

    Babar bhai…very sad to listen that PAF base sargodha couldnot give you night security but Saji bhai is a good person i had been under his command in PAF college and passed out from college in this MAY…

  9. Faraz says:

    Your visit to Sargodha would have been legendary. Nevertheless we as a part of ‘sargodhian pedigree’ feel very proud at your feat. Keep it up sir

  10. Khawar says:

    Dear Babar Bhai,

    Had it been the Chief of Air Staff plane it would have landed safely :). As he is a special sargodhian i guess… But we the younger lot do appreciate Sajid Habib bhai’s words as he is an older sargodhian but much like us the young ones…… but i can understand how it feels like being so close to the college n not been able to visit it….i really feel sorry about it…

  11. Mebhoob Ahmad says:

    Hi Babar, Sorry to hear about your re-routing. I was hoping that you would make it to Sargodha as well, but at the end of the day it is a purely symbolic gesture. I am sure you will have plenty of fond memories of Pakistan from this trip otherwise. Looking forward to your safe return back home in Indiana.

  12. Humanyoun says:

    Pakistan Air Force cant provide night time security???? Absolutely Preposterous… They might be right as in recent past they completely failed to defend their bases from TTP either. They cannot provide the night time security to plane, very well, how can they assure us the security of our Air Space???? They are right as once there was an operation against OBL, The Pakistan Air Force was sleeping at that time too……….. So Babar Bhai, don’t worry, they might not be capable to provide the security to your plane at all what to talk of night time security….

  13. Sultan Sarfraz Khan says:

    Dear Babar Bhai,
    I am really sorry for the Sargodha event. I was expecting a huge welcome there by the Sargodhians (at least who are in service). This speaks of our hospitality culture that is being diminishing day by day. But plz dont give it a second thought and complete your mission. After all all set well mission is no mission.
    Sultan Sarfraz Khan

    • Chris Alam says:

      Sorry to hear of this Babar. Just move on…. our country has changed and things are not the way they were before. Gone is the pride, the honor and the glory of those old days.

      But you and Harris have done well and every Sargodhian is Proud of you!

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