He remains the youngest officer to receive the Nishan-e-Haider award
The 48th martyrdom anniversary of Nishan-e-Haider recipient Rashid Minhas is being observed today.
Born on February 17 1951, he remains the youngest officer to have received the Nishan-e-Haider award and was the first recipient of the highest honour of gallantry for the Pakistan Air Force.
After his death, Minhas was honoured as a national hero. Minhas was taxiing toward the runway when a Bengali instructor pilot, Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman, signalled him to stop and then climbed into the instructor’s seat. The jet took off and turned toward India.
Minhas radioed PAF Base Masroor with the message that he was being hijacked. The air controller requested that he resend his message, and he confirmed the hijacking. Later investigation showed that Rahman intended to defect to India to join his compatriots in the Bangladesh Liberation War, along with the jet trainer.
However, Minhas did the only thing within his control and forced that plane to crash just 32 miles from the Indian border, deliberately sacrificing his life for the honour of Pakistan.
Minhas spent his early childhood in Lahore. Later, the family shifted to Rawalpindi.
In his memory, the Pakistan Air Force base at Kamra was renamed PAF Base Minhas, often called Minhas-Kamra.