the outer fringes of the Punjab's Soan valley lies a 4,992
ft peak called Sakesar which used to be the summer
headquarters for the deputy commissioners of three districts
- CampbelIpur (now Attock), Mianwali and Sargodha. In view
of Sakesar's ideal location and height, the PAF selected it
in the late-50s as the site for a high powered radar which
would provide air defence cover for the northeastern part of
the western wing. In 1960, a radar installation was
commissioned at Sakesar for its role as a master GC1
station. The base comprised a sector operations centre SOC
and a ground controlled interception element. In 1961, it
was formally opened as a PAF station and Wing Commander
Amanullah Khan was appointed as its first station commander.
During the 1965 war, Sakesar played a vital role in the
battle for air superiority which was fought mainly from
Sakesar's SOC, under the personal supervision of Air
Commodore Masroor Hosain, the AOC Air Defence. The base was
at that time commanded by Wing Commander M Zakria Butt. The
GC1 controllers who distinguished themselves during the
decisive air defence battles were Squadron Leader Anwar
Ahmed Khan, Flight Lieutenant S Waheed Nabi, Flight
Lieutenant Farooq H Khan and Flight Lieutenant Ejaz A Khan.
In the 1971 war too Sakesar was called upon to fulfil its
assigned role. This time the base was commanded by Group
Captain N Rehmat Khan, who was also Sector Commander North.
PAF Sakesar was able to make important contribution to the
air operations of that war despite being attacked by the IAF
several times. Its men rose magnificently to the challenge
and repaired the damaged equipment in record time to keep
the base fully operational.
In 1972, certain organizational changes and the consequent
modernization of the air defence system affected the status
of Sakesar. In 1975, the Air Defence School was shifted from
Korangi Creek to the base. Sakesar has become much greener
over the years with dedicated plantation and gardening
efforts. The accommodation situation is considerably better
too and despite the extensive construction of modern
technical facilities the air base retains the appearance of
a hill station. The weather is mild throughout the year,
although only once in recent memory the base was covered by
3 feet of snow in 1972!