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Pakistan observes martyrdom anniversary of Rashid Minhas, Nishan-i-Haider

KARACHI: Today marks the 48th death anniversary of national hero, Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas Shaheed (Nishan-i-Haider).

This brave son of Pakistan was born on 17 February 1951 in Karachi. He belonged to famous Minhas clan of Rajputs.

His childhood fascination with aircrafts and aviation led him to what he truly was destined for. Minhas embraced his true passion after school and earned a degree in military history and aviation history from the University of Karachi.

He was commissioned as a pilot in the Pakistan Air Force in 1971.

Minhas was taxiing toward the runway when a Bengali instructor pilot, Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman, signaled 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

Awarded with Pakistan’s top military honor Nishan-E- Haider, Minhas became the youngest man in history and the only member of the Pakistan Air Force to be honored with this award for his valiant feat.

Titled a national hero the Pakistan Air Force base at Kamra was renamed PAF Base, Minhas, often called Minhas-Kamra.

 

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