Brig Zaka Ullah Bhangoo

Brig Bhangoo

By Lt Col (R) Adil Akhtar

Editor’ Note: Lt Col Adil Akhtar is from Air Def. After the retirement, he has settled in Rawalpindi.
This article is about Brig Zaka Ullah Bhangoo, a legendary Aviator, who died in an air crash in Turkey on 13 May 2007.  Lt Col Adil was a POW in India with then Capt Bhangoo and this article is about the selfless conduct of Bhangoo in the POW Camp.
Brig Bhangoo’s parent unit was 23 FF. He was a true gem of a person who left a vacuum in every life he has touched. May Allah give him eternal peace, and keep his blessed memory alive, AameenRead more about Brig Bhangoo here………….

Related Page:
Terror in the Himalayas Article published in ‘Drama in real Life’ section of Reader’s Digest (July 1994) about heroic rescue operation in a helicopter by Brig Bhangoo during high floods in 1992.

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  1. Tipu Sultan says:

    I have never met him, nor I am linked with Armed Forces, but I feel that Brig Bhangoo was a great soldier. With very simple character and zeal, free from all kinds of discrimination, a great person who loved human beings without class, caste or creed.
    May Allah bless him and rest his soul in peace (Aameen).
    Regards to all,

  2. I met Brig Bhangoo in Mangla Officers’ Mess in 1997 for the first and last time and had a long informal chat with him over many cups of ice cream which was once a novelty of Mangla Mess. His plan for a world tour in a small plane was already drawn up and he told me about it. I would never forget this great Aviator. Rest in Peace, Brig Bhangoo.

    … and thank you Col Adil Akhtar for this detailed and interesting account of Brig Bhangoo.

  3. Lt Col (R) Sheikh Talat Mahmood says:

    Had the great privilege to serve under his able command when he was The Chief Pilot Askari Aviation, till shortly before he embarked upon his last fateful journey and died with his flying shoes on . Officers don’t come in his category any more.

  4. Capt (R) Tariq Noor, Engrs says:

    I had the privilege to know Brig Bhangoo during captivity in India. What an inspiration he was!! I left Army on my return and had been out of country for many years. I learnt about his death during one of my trips to Pakistan recently and was greatly saddened to know about his demise. He was a great officer and a wonderful person. I will not forget the time we shared in Indian POW camp. I salute you, Sir.

  5. Faisal Tirmizi, USA says:

    Yet another legendary figure of Army Aviation. My earliest memories of Brig Banghoo are of a young officer in Dhamial’s tea bar which was at the ground floor of ATC building. My father always spoke very highly of a man who was fearless. He died with his boots on. His feats in AJK and NA are legendary. My father Brig Tirmizi was the first CO of 5 Squadron.

  6. Wonderful article by Lt Col (R) Adil Akhtar. Pakistan has many heroes like Brig Bhangoo. Sadly most of these heroes go unsung. Brig Bhangoo is a role model for our soldiers in particular and all Pakistanis in general. It is imperative that we recognize our native heroes and name important infrastructure projects on our true heroes rather than politicians or our British colonial masters.

  7. Azam Gill, France says:

    Rest in Peace, Sir.

  8. May his soul be blessed. Amen.

    I am a Signals officer who was the Bde Signals officer in 1969-70 at Sialkot where Bangoo and his contemporaries were very caring and helpful. I shall cherish those memories.

  9. Jahanzeb Khan says:

    I knew the late Zaka Ullah Bhangoo very closely. We were in the same house and was a class fellow of Babur Masood who has correctly mentioned this. They were both junior to me and I cherish the memories of both, the one who is living and the one who is no longer among us. One thing both had in common and it was the pleasantness of their dispositions. I have met several of Zaka’s Army course mates and they all spoke of him as a great soldier and a gentleman. When I read of his death I was shocked. The fact is that he lived and died as a great soldier. May Allah bless him.

  10. Tanvir Afzal Bhangoo says:

    No doubt, Uncle Bhangoo was a great man!!

  11. Lt Col (R) Asad Mahmud (39 PMA) says:

    Little that I had known him, as class-fellow, Course-mate, Aviator, as person and human-being since 1960 onward, I have cherished every moment of his presence. Few have been obedient son, loving brother, relative, upright father, humble & God fearing person, commander with conviction of values, latent qualities of being upright. The so called V.I.P & V.V.I.P culture could not lure him. “He could not flow with time! Time flowed with Him”. People walk away from our lives easily…But they leave their memories with us forever…Lot can be said about him, but those who know him, know him more than me, duration of knowing him is not significant.

  12. Brig (r) Asif Sirhindi says:

    I remember Brig Bhangoo as a Senior Colleague, as an Instructor, as a friend. What a man he was, a daring flyer who gave his students the confidence, a friend who was always there when needed. I wish I could emulate his good qualities.
    We will always remember him as a legend……………………..

  13. Col (R) Sohail Qureshi, Avn/EME, USA says:

    What a man and what an Aviator!! He touched the lives of all who met him and left a impression of inner calmness that I have seldom come across. A professional to the core and he was respected by all who served with him and came across this giant in real life. He loved what he did and died doing it with his boots on.

    There will never be another Bhangoo again in Pakistan Army Aviation, he left the bench mark so high that it would be impossible to reach. God bless him, he made us all proud and what an honour to have served with him.

    “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

    “Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds –
    and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of –
    wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
    Hovering there I’ve chased the shouting wind along
    and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.
    “Up, up the long delirious burning blue
    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
    where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
    and, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
    the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    put out my hand and touched the face of God.”

  14. Brig Tariq Hussain Khan (Retd) Avn says:

    No doubt Brig Bhangoo was a brave and daring pilot who used to take lot of calculated risks in flying career. His life is full of brave actions. Alas! a great loss to Army Aviation, Pakistan Army and Pakistan. May Allah bless his soul and give strength to his family, juniors, colleagues and friends to bear his loss.

  15. Maj Talaat Khurshid (Retd), Avn says:

    What an interesting portrayal of a great Aviator. Knew him during my aviation tenure and also met him a number of times when he was in Askari Aviation.

  16. Tipu Sultan, Karachi says:

    Since I never met him, after going through the article of Lt Col Adil Akhter, gives me courage to say that no doubt Bhangoo was a brave person, free of all kinds of discrimination, and full of love and peace for all. May Allah bless him.

  17. Dr. Aisha Yasar says:

    He was a wonderful father, good teacher, a great friend and an angel for me. Lovely human being. No doubt a gem of a person. It was my life time experience to be a daughter for him. I feel so lucky and honored that I have spent splendid time with him and have great memories. Love him and miss him a lot, especially his phone calls, messages and news articles which he used to slide under my door. Wish my kids to follow the footsteps of their Dada.

    Editor: Aisha Yasar is daughter-in-law of Brig Bhangoo.

  18. Maj (R) Anjum Raffi, Avn says:

    No words can express my feelings of being proud to be Brig Bhangoo’s junior and colleague. He was a real specimen of Gentleman and Officer. He is alive in the heart of every soldier and Aviator.

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