About Rashid Minhas
Place of Birth
Place of Death
Pakistan Air Force.
Rashid Minhas or Rashid Minhas Shaheed Nishan-e-Haider, (Urdu: راشد منہاس) (February 17, 1951–August 20, 1971) was a Pilot Officer in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
Minhas was born in Karachi. Having joined the air force, he was commissioned in 1971; on August 20 of that year, he was getting ready to take off in a T-33 trainer in Karachi when a Bengali Instructor pilot, Matiur Rahman, gained his way into the back of the plane. He has been reported to have been watching Minhas closely for many weeks for his being new, young and inexperienced.In mid-air, Rahman knocked Minhas out by hitting his wrists and head with a blunt object, with the intention of defecting to India alongwith the plane.
In mid-flight Minhas regained consciousness, and quickly became aware of the circumstances after contacting his control tower. Minhas was told of the situation and ordered to save the plane being taken to India at any cost. He was escorting a deserting PAF pilot and was quickly approaching the Indian border. The recovered Minhas made an attempt to regain control of the plane. However, Minhas couldn't regain controls given that Minhas was badly wounded besides Matiur being a much more sesoned pilot, managed to override Minhas attempts to control the flight. In the ensuing battle between the two pilots, Minhas tired his best to regain control of the plane and stop it being taken to India. With Indian border just a few minutes away, Minhas had little choice. Then came the decisive moment when Minhas had to choose either the prestige of his organisation and country or his life, Minhas chose the former and crashed the plane in order to prevent Rahman from entering Indian territory. The crash site of the T-33 was later found 40 km from the Indian border.
Minhas was posthumously awarded Pakistan's top military honour, the Nishan-E-Haider, and became the youngest man and the only member of the Pakistan Air Force to win the award. He also became a national hero. The Pakistan Air Force base at Kamra has been renamed in his honour. Matiur is viewed as a hero and given similar respect in Bangladesh. He was decorated with Bangladesh's highest award, the Bir Sreshtho and the Bangladesh Air Force base in Jessore is named after him.