Our departure from Al Ain was exhausting, but my father and I started to calm down once we set our sights on the tranquil waters of the Persian Gulf. The Omani air traffic controllers handed us off to the Pakistani controllers who requested that we advise them of our ETA and also let them know when we were 50 miles out. I could see the anticipation that had started to build in my father upon first glimpse of the Pakistani coastline. The last time he had been in Pakistan was in 1984, and he was clearly excited about going back. As the controllers started vectoring us around and giving us a lower altitude, I pushed the thoughts about seeing friends and family out of my head, and cleared my mind to focus on landing the plane.
After an uneventful landing, a car was waiting for us that took us to where all of our friends, family and TCF school children were waiting. It was a truly amazing sight, and the faces of the children of TCF made it all worth it. What a welcome! A special thank you also goes out to IBAAS organizers Dr Wali Mughni and Prof Shamshad who had put this all together and made it possible for us. Our handling agents in Karachi Executive Air International's Saad Zaki and Urooj have been fantastic and efficient. The students of IBAAS and TCF accorded my father and me a welcome that we cannot forget!
According to plan, the next day we attended an iftaar/dinner with the Sargodhians' Old Boys Association, Karachi Chapter. We had an excellent time talking with the seniors and juniors from our time at the great and esteemed institution that PAF College was. During this event we also raised funds for TCF, and helped spread the word about this fantastic organization.
Unfortunately, while all of this was going on, we were informed that our clearance to land at PAF Base Sargodha had been changed and we would be landing at an alternative field because the base could not provide night time security to the plane. My father was extremely upset about this as flying into Sargodha to visit our esteemed school was deliberately planned as a once in a lifetime opportunity that we were both looking forward to. We departed the next morning for Islamabad with heavy hearts...
After leaving Karachi, we climbed to 11,000 and followed the departure procedure for our Northerly route. We carried a little extra fuel for this trip, just in case we encountered head winds, which we did. We landed at Chaklala airport around 4 hours later. The Margalla Hills loomed large in the background and gave a kind of a surreal look to our arrival. After another smooth landing, I shut down the engines just in time to see the students of TCF giving us yet another warm welcome; it was a most heartwarming sight. We got off the plane and met TCF students, friends, and family for a brief photo session that was enjoyed by all. I have found it very easy to connect and relate to the children of TCF. Meeting them has been quite an enriching experience and makes me even more motivated to raise money and awareness for the organisation.