Tariq Mehmood

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Tariq Mehmood
Birth name Tariq Mehmood
Nickname(s)

Man of Steel

TM Tiger
Born (1938-10-08)8 October 1938
Multan, State of British Punjab, British Indian Empire
Died 29 May 1989(1989-05-29) (aged 50)
Rahwali near Gujranwala, Punjab province
Allegiance  Pakistan
Service/branch  Pakistan Army
Years of service 1960–1989
Rank OF-6 Pakistan Army.svg Brigadier-General
Unit 50th Airborne Division, PA
Special Service Group
Commands held 3rd Commando Powinda Battalion
Shaheen Company, 1st commando battalion
Special Service Group
50th Airborne Division
Battles/wars Operation PANAM
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Operation Gibraltar
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
East Pakistan Air Operations, 1971
Sichen Operations of 1984
Soviet War in Afghanistan
Battle for Hill 3234
Awards Sitara-e-Jurat (1965)
Sitara-e-Jurat (1971)
Sitara-e-Bisalat (1973)
Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Military) (2003) Hilal E Shujaat. 1990.

Hilal E Shujaat. 1990. (Award after his death)

Brigadier Tariq Mehmood Shaheed, most popularly known as Brigadier TM and now TM Shaheed, (8 Oct 1938 – 29 May 1989), SJ (Bar), SBt, SI(M) was an officer of Pakistan Army. He was serving as the Commander of Special Service Group, when he died in an accident in 1989 due to malfunctioning of his parachute during a free fall display at Rahwali, near Gujranwala. Mehmood was one of the most decorated Army officers who served with SSG in two wars and various special operations.

Early life and education[edit]

Mehmood was born on 8 October 1938 at Multan. His father was a professor at Government College, Asghar Mall Rawalpindi. After completing his intermediate education from Gordon Christian College, Rawalpindi[1] in 1956, he went to Lahore and graduated from Government College in 1959. He was also a member of Government College cricket team captained by Javed Burki. After graduation he went to Peshawar to study Law at University of Peshawar, but he also got selected for Pakistan Army at the same time. He made a choice to serve his country and joined Pakistan Military Academy as a cadet in 1960. He graduated from PMA in 1963 with a double B.Sc. in Military science and War studies. He also attended Command and Staff College, Quetta, and completed his Staff Course in 1969.[2]

Military career[edit]

Mahmood was commissioned in 2nd Battalion of The Baloch Regiment in 1960, on passing out from PMA in 1963.[3] The same year, he was inducted in 51st Paratrooper Division, Airborne Corps, and from there, he was selected for the Special Service Group (SSG). After completing the Special Training of SSG he was posted to the 1st Commando Battalion(Yaldram)(Shaheen Company).

1965 Indo-Pakistani War[edit]

In 1965, SSG was preparing for covert Operations in Kashmir, meanwhile Mehmood was selected for an advance course with U.S. Army Special Forces, but he opted himself for covert operations instead of leaving for United States to attend the advance course. He was awarded Sitara-e-Juraat (SJ) for his acts of bravery during Indo-Pak war of 1965. Tariq Mahmood was promoted to the rank of Major in 1970 and was stationed in Peshawar. Mehmood was posted as the commandant Parachute Training School.

1971 Bangladesh Liberation War[edit]

In 1971, Mehmood volunteered to go East Pakistan to participate in the Bangladesh-Pakistani War of 1971. In this conflict, Mehmood was sent to Shahjalal International Airport (Dhaka Airport) to lead an operation against insurgents. The airport was heavily guarded by the insurgents and it was considered a no-fly zone. Mehmood commanded the Shaheen Company, 1st commando battalion and his company saw heavy fighting in the Airport. After 34 hours, the Shaheen Company gained control of the airport and its surrounding areas.[4] Both sides have had suffered heavy casualties and the Airport was nearly destroyed in the battle.

1984 Siachen War[edit]

In 1979, he was promoted to Colonel, and in 1982, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier. Mehmood, now a one-star general, was made commandant of the Special Service Group. In 1984, Mehmood commanded the Special Service Group at Siachen Conflict. SSG launched an aggressive and quick operation against Indian Army. Mehmood secured a narrow victory in 1984 which is no where close to reality, since the territory was lost when the Indian Army launched a successful military operation, Operation Meghdoot, to recover the glacier.

Other operations[edit]

Throughout the 1980s, the SSG and ISI were closely collaborating with the U.S. Special Forces and Special Activities Division in order to lead the secret operation known as Operation Cyclone. Mehmood was also a commanding officer of the fierce Battle for Hill 3234 in January 1988, although the Soviet Airborne troops managed to hold their position. On 5 September 1986, Pan Am Flight 73 was hijacked in Karachi, Sindh. Mehmood quickly came to Karachi where he led the planning of the operation to free the Airline from terrorists. He came to public prominence when he had led the successful Operation PANAM to liberate the airline from terrorists. The hijackers opened fire on SSG team, killing and injuring the passengers but soon all the hijackers were arrested and many lives were saved. In the later 1987–88, he led operations against criminals in Sindh.[5]

Death and legacy[edit]

Mehmood was killed on 29 May 1989 when he was leading a team of SSG paratroopers for a free-fall at Pakistan Army Aviation School, Rahwali, Gujranwala. The jump was part of Army Aviation’s Passing Out parade.[6][7] The incident happened during a demonstration jump from an Army's Mi-17 helicopter when Mehmood's main and reserve parachute failed to open.[citation needed] According to the investigations, his first parachute did not open and the ropes were badly entangled. Mehmood attempted to cut the ropes with his dagger, and tried to open the backup parachute. Unintentionally, he had released both back up and main parachutes, and he descended at very high speed.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]