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K.V. Prasad, The Hindu / NEW DELHI, August 11, 2011.
In an unusual heart-warming gesture, some five-decades after Pakistan Air Force shot down a civilian aircraft in Gujarat, the pilot sent a note of condolence to the daughter of the Indian pilot killed in the incident, and on Wednesday he received a response.
Connecting across the border courtesy e-mail, Qais Hussain, a Flying Officer during the 1965 India-Pakistan conflict, sent a quiet note after tracing Farida Singh, daughter of Jahangir ‘Jangoo' Engineer, who was flying a State government plane, about the circumstances under which he brought it down.
“I have received an excellent response from Ms. Farida Singh. If I took one step, she has taken two, but I respect her privacy and would share the contents of her response only after receiving her consent,” the 70-year-old Mr. Hussain told The Hindu over telephone from Islamabad on Wednesday.
The story by well-known journalist Beena Sarwar appeared on Tuesday on a Pakistan website http://www.thenews.com.pk and was picked up by some Indian newspapers.
A resident of Lahore, Mr. Hussain said he wrote an email to Ms. Singh on August 5 with the note of condolence as well as details of the incident. He also thanked the people through whom he was able to reach her and convey what happened 46 years ago.
In his email, the former Pakistan Air Force Officer stated that he shot the Beechcraft aircraft that was being flown by her father — one of three famous Engineer brothers in the Indian Air Force — after it showed up on the Pakistan radars, having drifted by many miles and going up and down over the border area of Rann of Kutch for quite some time.
Having read accounts in the Indian media, which, he said, were not accurate, Mr. Hussain said he followed the orders of his controller and had a sense of achievement after completing the mission.
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