Pakistani history is full of many unsung heros and amazing stories that are not as widely known or recognized as they deserve to be. While negative news, images and stories make up most space on all the media and reach out far and wide, many inspiring people and accounts go unnoticed. Today I want to introduce one such story to be proud of. This is the story of Alam Khan Brothers. Incidentally, all the nine Alam Khan brothers are Old Gallians.

Alam Khan Brothers refer to nine brothers born to Mehboob Alam Khan and Amir-un-Nisa Begum. Mehboob Alam Khan worked in the Survey of India at a supervisory position. What sets these brothers apart is that all nine joined defence forces, fought for Pakistan in 1965 and 1971 and earned huge respect. Two of the nine brothers embraced shahadat, one in 1967 while on duty and the other in 1971 during the war. Their mother Amir-un-Nisa was once asked how she felt about having all her sons in the forces and on war front at the same time. She said if she had more sons, she would have happily sent them to defend the motherland. There is no known example of any such family in Pakistan or abroad where a set of nine brothers joined the forces, fought for the country, earned recognition at state level with two embracing martyrdom.

Alam Khan brothers are:

  • Brig Zahir Alam Khan
  • Col Firoz Alam Khan
  • Sq Ldr Shuaib Alam Khan
  • Gen Shamim Alam Khan
  • Vice Admiral Shamoon Alam Khan
  • Wing Commander Aftab Alam Khan
  • Flight Officer Mushtaq Alam Khan
  • Capt Aijaz Alam Khan
  • Lt Gen Javed Alam Khan

Internationally acclaimed travel writer Salman Rashid writes:

“It has been said before, and it needs be repeated: the famous Alam Khan brothers of the defense services were a very special breed of men. Nine of them, all in the forces and all of them with brilliant careers as soldiers. There is one thing about these good men that one needs to stand back and regard – and not without a degree of awe: there is no one, absolutely no one anywhere in the world, who can bad-mouth any of the Alam Khan brothers. There is only admiration and respect for this merry bunch.”

Six of the nine brothers fought 1965 war with as two younger ones Aijaz Alam Khan and Javed Alam Khan had not joined the army till then and Eldest Zahir Alam Khan was out of country. In the war of 1971, eight of the nine brothers fought as one of them, Mushtaq Alam Khan had embraced shahadat in 1967 at the age of 23 while on duty. It is worthy to mention that Wing Cdr Aftab Alam Khan was awarded Sitara-e-Jurrat in 1965 war but he declined to accept saying what he had joined the airforce for and had only done his duty.

Gen Shamim Alam Khan served as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee before his retirement.

This album was made with support, guidance and assistance from Mrs. Sabuha Khan, wife of Sq Ldr Shuaib Alam Khan.

References & Works:

The Way It Was: Inside The Pakistan Army: Brig Zahir Alam Khan, Tamgha e Pakistan. Published 2007 by Natraj Pub.

Existing in Disaster: Brig Zahir Alam Khan, Tamgha e Pakistan. Published May 1st 2011 by America Star Books

Is Faith There? Brig Zahir Alam Khan, Tamgha e Pakistan. Published March 15th 2011 by America Star Books

Alam Khan Brothers in Pakistan Army – The Nation, September 11, 2015

9 Brothers Joined Defence Forces: Discussion in Defence Forums.