Rashid Minhas remembered on 48th martyrdom anniversary

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The nation is remembering Nishan-i-Haider receipt Rashid Minhas on his 48th martyrdom anniversary today.

Rashid Minhas is the youngest officer to have been conferred the Nishan-e-Haider award and was the first to have received the highest honour of gallantry for the Pakistan Air Force.

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. It was learnt that Rahman intended to defect to India to join his compatriots in the Bangladesh Liberation War, along with the jet trainer.

Minhas attempt to regain control and forced that plane to crash just 32 miles from the Indian border, deliberately sacrificing his life for the honour of Pakistan.

Rashid was still receiving training on the day of incident.

In his memory, the Pakistan Air Force base at Kamra was renamed PAF Base Minhas, often called Minhas-Kamra.

Minhas was born on February 17 1951.