Rashid Minhas remembered on 49th martyrdom anniversary

By: News Desk
Published: 11:48 AM, 20 Aug, 2020
Rashid Minhas remembered on 49th martyrdom anniversary
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Pakistan and its valiant Armed Forces on Thursday paid glowing tribute to the youngest Nishan-e-Haider recipient Rashid Minhas, an under-training pilot who sacrificed his life on August 20, 1971, to save his country.

In a post on twitter, the ISPR Director-General said “Today we remember the supreme sacrifice of Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas Shaheed (Nishan-e -Haider) in the line of duty. Pilot officer Rashid Minhas lived up to great traditions of Pakistan Air Force serving the motherland.”

On August 20, 1971, Rashid Minhas got ready to take off for his solo flight in a T-33 jet trainer. He started his engines and completed the checks. 

As Minhas was taxiing towards the runway, his instructor pilot, came on the taxiway and signalled him to stop. Thinking that his instructor might want to give some last-minute instructions, Minhas stopped the aircraft. 

The instructor forced his way into the rear cockpit and seized controls of the aircraft; the jet took off and turned towards India. Soon the radio at Masroor Control Tower became alive and Minhas informed that he was being hijacked. The air controller requested him to resend his message and confirm that it was a hijacking.

The events that followed later were the tale of great courage and patriotism. In the air, Minhas struggled physically to wrest control; each man tried to overpower the other through technically linked flight controls.

The instructor wanted him to fly to India; however, the determined Rashid Minhas was not ready for it. The ferocious struggle continued for minutes and as the aircraft neared the Indian border, Rashid Minhas knew what he was supposed to do. He knew that the honour of his country was far greater than his life. 

Some 32 miles (51km) from the Indian border, Rashid Minhas deliberately put the aircraft nose down and that made the jet to crash near Thatta.

Rashid Minhas was posthumously awarded Pakistan's top military honour, the Nishan-e-Haider. He became the youngest man and the only member of the Pakistan Air Force to win the award.

Profile:

Born: February 17, 1951, Karachi

Martyred: August 20, 1971, Thatta

Buried: August 21, 1971, Army Graveyard, Karachi

Years of Service  1969–1971

Rank: Pilot Officer 

Awards: Nishan-e-Haider

Age: 20 years old

Military Career:  

a)      1968: Joined the Pakistan Air Force Academy 

b)      March 1971:  Minhas was commissioned in the 51st GD(P) Course

c)       20th Aug 1971:  Embraced Martyrdom

d)      Youngest officer to receive the Nishan-e-Haider award