On 16 Dec 1971 the East Pakistan Army Garrison surrendered in Dacca. On the Western Front, the ceasefire would be at 2000 hrs on 17 December 1971.There was time to give another dramatic blow to Pakistan which would be bombing of Skardu runway deep in the Himalayas. One AN-12 leading Three Canberras on a daylight attack at about 1600 hrs on 17 Dec 1971 was the mission.
The AN-12 took off from Chandigarh with 18,000 pounds of 500 pounder bombs. It entered the Shyok valley at Thoise and remained below the mountain crest, turned North for Skardu along the Indus river. Wing Commander Vashisht, Captain of the AN-12, descended to 400 feet, opened cargo doors and ‘stitched the Skardu runway’ along the Center Line gifting the Pakistanis more than 30 craters. The AN-12 then skipped across the mountains and dipped into another valley where PAF fighters could never find it, and calmly flew back to Chandigarh.
The last spectacular airborne attack on Pakistan was made by none other than an AN-12 from 44 Squadron.
The painting probably is a fitting tribute to all the brave men of the fleet who undertook missions deep inside enemy territory in broad daylight without even a fighter escort and came out unscathed every time. That proves meticulous planning and execution of each mission and their professional execution.