Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas served as a military officer in Pakistan Air Force. He has the honour of being the only recipient of Nishan-e-Haider from PAF. Rashid Minhas was the youngest and the shortest-serving officer to receive the award. On a routine mission in August 1971, Pilot Officer tried to gain control of the aircraft from commanding officer Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman was trying to defect to India. PAF has always been superior in terms of piloting the aircraft. Even though the number of fighter planes Pakistan Air Force possess is low.
Early Life of Rashid Minhas
Born on February 17th 1951, Rashid Minhas spent his early childhood in the city he was born; Karachi. The family later migrated to Rawalpindi. Rashid Minhas acquired his early education of St Mary’s Cambridge School Rawalpindi. However, the family later shifted back to Karachi. Rashid Minhas was a bright student so his father wanted him to pursue the studies as an Engineer, just like him. Nevertheless, Rashid Minhas joined the PAF School in Lower Topa. This was in the year 1968. Furthermore, he completed his military training at the PAF Academy in 1969.
The Legacy of Rashid Minhas (Shaheed)
Being the sole recipient of Nishan-e-Haider from Pakistan Air Force, he is the pride of the Airforce. His selfless sacrifice made him show the world that Pakistan Air Force possesses the same gallantry as the Army. The act of valour made him one of the most esteemed Airmen across the World. His sacrifice was lauded by the Pakistani’s and was awarded the highest military award of Pakistan ‘Nishan-e-Haider’. The incident made him a National Hero and a famous PAF base was renamed from PAF Base Kamra to PAF Base Minhas.
In his home city ‘Karachi’, the main road was named after him and was honoured by the Pakistan Post in 2003. A stamp bearing his image was issued by the Pakistan Post and around five hundred thousand of them were printed. The Award of Rashid Minhas, exhibit the valour of Pakistani Air Force. Moreover, PAF is always ready to sacrifice at the time of need, similar to all the gallant army men.
Awards & Honors
- Nishan-e-Haider [Highest Military Award Pakistan]
The Award is considered to be the most prestigious award of Armed Forces of Pakistan. It is awarded only when the recipient acted despite great risks and was killed in the act. There are only 11 recipients of the Nishan-e-Haider, however, only one from Pakistan Air Force. Nishan-e-Haider is the sign of extraordinary valour. The award is named after the most courageous and victorious warrior of Islam `Hazrat Ali also named as Haider.
The Selfless Sacrifice
Rashid Minhas forced the jet to crash in order to prevent the defect of Matiur Rehman to India. Matiur Rehman climbed in the instructor’s seat while Rashid Minhas was taxiing towards the runway. Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rehman was a Bengali instructor who intended to defect to India. Both the pilots struggled to gain control of the jet through mechanically linked controls. This act resulted in the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.
“I WON’T LET THE PLANE TO GO IN THE HANDS OF THE EMEMY, PLEASE CATCH FRIENDS OF THE INSTRUCTOR WHO ARE BEHIND THE HIJACKING”PILOT OFFICER RASHID MINHAS – LAST WORDS
Henceforth, 51 Km from the Indian Border, Minhas piloted the jet to crash. He crashed the jet rather than allowing Rehman to take it to India. Rashid Minhas was posthumously awarded the highest military award of Pakistan. The Nishan-e-Haider also cites a similar citation, “Forced the aircraft to Crash”.
The Honor of Pakistan Air Force
From the famed Air Commodore – Muhammed Mahmood Alam, ‘Little Dragon’ to Rashid Minhas ‘Shaheed’. Pakistan Air Force has always been superior to its competitors. The acts of valour and gallantry in the skies, make Pakistani Air Force the best. With renowned achievements in their hall of fame, the February 27th befitting reply to India makes PAF one step ahead. The Operation Swift Retort and shooting down the Mig21, capturing Abhinandan of IAF as well. Pakistan Air Force has been superior in every term of valour and gallantry.
However, the Nishan-e-Haider of Pilot Officer – Minhas (Shaheed) can be seen as the most prestigious achievement of Pakistan Air Force. Rashid Minhas is proud of Pakistan Air Force. The award addressees publically the contribution of PAF in the service of defending the lands of Pakistan.