Nishan-e-Haider is the Highest Military Award of Pakistan. Its literal meanings are “Emblem of the Lion” in Urdu. The word Haider is the Byname of Hazrat Ali who is known as the “Lion Of God”. The Nishan-e-Haider can only be awarded to members of the Pakistan Armed Forces for the highest acts of extraordinary bravery in the face of the enemy in air, land, or sea. Its importance can be known from the fact that it only has been awarded 11 times since Pakistan’s Independence. Here is the List of People who have been awarded Nishan-e-Haider till Date.
Recipients of Nishan-e-Haider
1. Naik Saif Ali Janjua: Hilal-e-Kashmir
- Date of Birth: 25th April 1922
- Date of Death: 26 October 1948
- Post/Regiment: Naik, 5 Azad Kashmir Regiment, Pakistan Army
Intro to War: He fought in the Kashmir sector during the 1948 War and was killed during the siege of Bhudha Khanna.
General Overview: Haidri Force with the support of Sardar Fateh Muhammad Karailvi. He set personal examples of bravery and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy at Bhudha Khanna. He defended his` post bravely with just a handful of men.
2. Captain Raja Muhammad Sarwar
- Date of Birth: 25th April 1922
- Date of Death: 26 October 1948
- Post/Regiment: Naik,5 Azad Kashmir Regiment, Pakistan Army
Intro to War: He participated in the fight of Kashmir as the signal officer. In the battle of Tilpatra, he displayed great bravery and killed around 40 enemies, was martyred from a shot of a machine gun.
General Overview: He briefly served in Berma and was awarded the Berma Star by British administrations in Delhi, India. Lt. Sarwar is known to be a man with no non-sense and was a devout Muslim.
3. Major Tufail Mohammad
- Date of Birth: 22 June 1914
- Date of Death: 7 August 1958
- Post/Regiment: Major, 16th Punjab Regiment Border Guards East Pakistan Rifles, Pakistan Army
Intro to War: He launched an attack on Indian infiltrated troops and set an example of bravery and leadership. In spite of being seriously injured, he continued to lead his troops in the heat of battle. Enemy troops were successfully evicted, and area was recaptured
General Overview: He was brave, courageous, and a patriot who set an example of courage, bravery, leadership and determination and made his name written in golden words on the pages of History.
4. Major Raja Aziz Bhatti
- Date of Birth:6 August1928
- Date of Death: 10 September 1965
- Post/Regiment: Major, 17 Punjab Regiment, Pakistan Army
Intro to War: On 6 September 1965, as a Company Commander in the Burki area of the Lahore sector, Major Raja Aziz Bhatti chose to stay with his forward platoon, facing armor division attack under incessant artillery shelling for 5 continuous days.
General Overview: Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed is the first recipient of Sword of Honour and Norman Medal from the 1st PMA Long Course. An outstanding officer throughout his military career who set an example of courage and bravery.
5. Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas
- Date of Birth: 17 February 1951
- Date of Death: 20 August 1971
- Post/Regiment: Pilot Officer, No. 2 Fighter Conversion Unit, Pakistan Air Force
Intro to War: Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas was to takeoff on a routine training flight when his Instructor Pilot forced him from the rear cockpit, seized control of the aircraft, and took off. To prevent the plane from going towards the opposite side of the border, He damaged the controls and forced the aircraft to crash thirty-two miles short of the border.
General Overview: He was also the youngest person and the shortest-serving officer to have received this award. After his death, Minhas was honored as a national hero. In his memory the Pakistan Air Force base at Kamra was renamed PAF Base Minhas, often called Minhas-Kamra
6. Major Muhammad Akram
- Date of Birth: 4 April 1938
- Date of Death: 5 December 1971
- Post/Regiment: Major, 4 Frontier Force Regiment, Pakistan Army
Intro to War: Major Muhammad Akram was commanding a company in the forward area of Hilli district, East Pakistan during 1971. He destroyed three tanks of the enemy and was martyred.
General Overview: Major Akram participated in the 1965 Indo-Pak September War as a Captain where he led several successful military operations against the Indian Army. In the Battle of Hilli, his leadership, bravery, and skillful strategizing kept enemies at bay for five days and nights.
7. Major Shabbir Sharif
- Date of Birth: 28 April 1943
- Date of Death: 6 December 1971
- Post/Regiment: Major, 6 Frontier Force Regiment, Pakistan Army
Intro to War: In 1971 War he captured the high ground near Sulemanki Headworks, killed forty-three Indian soldiers, and destroyed 4 tanks.
General Overview: He is the only person ever who received both the Sitara-e-Jurat and Nishan-e-Haider for his bravery. He is the nephew of another Nishan-e-Haider holder Major Aziz Bhatti and elder brother of Ex-Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Shareef.
8. Sowar Muhammad Hussain Janjua
- Date of Birth: 18 June 1949
- Date of Death: 10 December 1971
- Post/Regiment: Sowar, 20 Lancers (Armoured Corps), Pakistan Army
Intro to War: During the 1971 war, Sowar Muhammad Hussain took an active part in every battle with the unit. He directed the accurate fire of recoilless rifles, resulting in the destruction of sixteen enemy tanks.
General Overview: He was the first soldier from Armoured Corps to be awarded Nishan E Haider and was the epitome of courage and bravery. After his death, his village Dhok Pir Bakhsh was renamed as Dhok Muhammad Hussain Janjua to commemorate his sacrifice
9. Lance Naik Muhammad Mahfuz
- Date of Birth: 25 October 1944
- Date of Death: 17 December 1971
- Post/Regiment: Lance Naik, 15 Punjab Regiment, Pakistan Army
Intro to War: During the 1971 war, Lance Naik Muhammad Mahfuz participated in the famous Pul Kunjry operation and captured the area.
General Overview: He set an example of courage by stepping in the army bunker despite his machine gun being destroyed. Such was the level of his bravery that he was praised by enemy commander himself as he handed over his dead body after cease fire.
10. Captain Karnal Sher Khan
- Date of Birth: 1 January 1970
- Date of Death: 5 July 1999
- Post/Regiment: Captain, 27 Sindh Regiment/12 Northern Light Infantry, Pakistan Army
Intro to War: During the Kargil war, he defended 5 posts at the height of 17,000 feet. He conducted many raids at the enemy camps and inflicted heavy losses.
General Overview: Captain Karnal Sher Khan emerged as the symbol of mettle and courage during the Kargil conflict at the Line of Control. He set up personal examples of bravery and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy.
11. Hawaldar Lalak Jan
- Date of Birth: April 1967
- Date of Death: 7 July 1999
- Post/Regiment: Hawaldar, 12 Northern Light Infantry, Pakistan Army
Intro to War: During the Kargil War, Hawaldar Lalak Jan of the fought from the forefront to thwart heavy Indian attacks. Hawaldar Lalak Jan repulsed back many aggressive attempts by the enemy and imposed heavy losses on them.
General Overview: He was awarded Nishan-e-Haider, due to his extraordinary gallantry, courage, bravery, determination, and passion during the Kargil War. He was the first person from the Northern Areas to be awarded Nishan-e-Haider.