Ahmad Tasnim

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Ahmad Tasnim
Birth name Ahmad Tasnim
Nickname(s) Commander Ahmad
Born 1935 (75 or 76 years old)
Jalandhar District, East Punjab, British Indian Empire
Allegiance  Pakistan
Service/branch Naval Jack of Pakistan.svg Pakistan Navy
Seal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1954-1994
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Vice Admiral
Service number PN No. 609
Unit Submarine Service Branch (SSB)
Commands held US-O9 insignia.svg Vice Admiral
PNS Hangor
Pakistan Fleet (COMPAK)
Pakistan Naval War College
Chairman Karachi Shipyard
Karachi Port Trust
Karachi Naval Dockyard
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Operation Dwarka
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Operation Falcon
Submarine Intelligence Operations
Awards Tamgha-e-Basalat
Hilal-e-Imtiaz (military)

Vice Admiral Ahmad Tasnim, HI(M), SJ (Bar), SBt, is a now-retired three-star naval officer who is most famous as the Commander of the PNS Hangor[1] when it sunk the INS Khukri at 20:00 hrs on 8 December 1971 during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, off the coast of Diu, Gujarat, India.[2] (This was the first submarine kill since World War II, and the only one until a Royal Navy nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror sank an Argentine cruiser General Belgrano during the Falklands War.) He is also only officer in Pakistan Navy to have been awarded Sitara-e-Jurat (SJ) and Bar.[3]

Naval career[edit]

Ahmad was commissioned in Pakistan Navy as Midshipman in 1954. He is one of the Pakistani military officers who volunteered to participate in Vietnam War with the United States Navy. Before him, Air Chief Marshal (General) Abbas Khattak participated in the conflict with the United States Air Force. He was later sent to trained at the Daphné class submarine in France after the war. He was the senior officer at the PNS Hangor (S131)' crew and, as Lieutenant Commander, he activity participated in the war. After the war, he was conferred with Sitara-e-Basalat in 1965.

In 1969, he was promoted to the rank Commander, and was made Commander Officer of the PNS Hangor (S131). In the night of November 22, 1971, PNS Hangor was deployed under the command of Commander Ahmad Tasnim. In the night of 2 and 3 December 1971, the PNS Hangor, while lying in wait off Bombay, detected a large formation of ships from the Indian Navy Western fleet that included cruiser INS Mysore (1939). Sensing impending war in the West-Pakistan, Indian Naval armada was sailing out of Bombay Harbour, and passed incredibly close to Hangor. Since the PNS Hangoor's Commander had not received any clearance to engage in the battle, he did not engage the fleet. On December 3, 1971, the Indian Navy received electronic transmission from PNS Hangor to Karachi Naval Operations Base (known as COMKAR). The Indian Navy dispatched two anti-submarine warfare frigate, INS Khukri (1958) and the " INS Kirpan" of 14 Squadron of the Western Naval Command.[4]

On 9 December 1971, 19:00 hours, Commander Ahmad of PNS Hangor received confirmation of the INS Kurki and INS Kirpan's coordinates from then-Lieutenant Fasih Bokhari and then-Lieutenant A.U. Khan. Commander Tasnim first diverted the submarine's position and managed to forecast the target ships movement. He then succeeded in taking up a tactically advantageous position on the path of the patrolling frigates by 1900 hours. At 1957 hours, the submarine fired a down the throat shot with a homing torpedo at the northerly ship from a depth of 40 meters.[5] Under the command of Commander Tasnim, PNS Hangor fired two homing torpedoes on a sonar approach, one of which missed Kirpan at 19:57 hrs. The second torpedo directed at Khukri struck under its magazine at 20:00, and the ship sank within two minutes.[6]

The first torpedo was tracked but no explosion was heard. The second torpedo was therefore fired immediately on the incoming southerly ship and this was followed by a tremendous explosion. The torpedo had found its mark. The other enemy frigate came straight for the submarine when a third torpedo was fired. A distant explosion was heard subsequently and the submarine turned west towards deeper waters for evasion.

Post War career[edit]

Commander Ahmad Tasnim was made a national hero after his actions. In 1972, he was conferred with Sitara-e-Jurat, Hilal-i-Imtiaz(Military), and Sitara-e-Basalat (for the second time). He is also the only naval officer in Pakistan Navy to have been awarded Sitara-e-Jurat (SJ) and Bar. ("Bar" refers to a second award of the same honour). Following his promotion, he was elevated as Captain in the Navy.

After the war, he was elevated to Commodore and became a commander of Pakistan's naval fleet. In 1984, he was promoted to Rear Admiral and commanded the Pakistan Fleet (COMPAK); followed by another assignment as Commandant of Pakistan Naval War College. In 1990, he became chairman of Karachi Shipyard. The same year, he was promoted to Vice Admiral, where he also had served as the Board of Governors of Cadet College Petaro where he stayed there until 1991.[7] In 1992, he became chairman of Karachi Port Trust until 1994.[8] The same year, he took retirement from Pakistan Navy, and now currently resides in Islamabad.


  1. ^ The Daily Mail - The decommissioning of the Daphne Class Submarines
  2. ^ Sinking of Khukri
  3. ^ "Bar" refers to a second award of the same honour
  4. ^ Khan, Commander (retired) Muhammad Azam (December 17, 2006). "Naval battles revisited". Dawn Newspapers. Commander Muhammad Azam Khan and Hameed Haroon. Retrieved 2010.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  5. ^ "SINKING OF KHUKRI". Pakistan Navy. 
  6. ^ "KARACHI: Submarine Hangor on display in museum". December 11, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Board of Governors". Cadet College Petaro. adet College Petaro. 
  8. ^ "Chaimen of KPT". Karachi Port Trust. Karachi Port Trust.