ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan Army has paid a heartfelt tribute to Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on the anniversary of his martyrdom. Rashid Minhas, who bravely sacrificed his life at the age of 20 during the 1971 war, is remembered as a symbol of patriotism, courage, and selflessness.
In recognition of his extraordinary bravery, Minhas was posthumously awarded the Nishan-e-Haider, the highest valor award. He remains the youngest Air Force officer to have received this prestigious honor.
The Armed Forces of Pakistan, along with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) and the Services Chiefs, paid a heartfelt tribute to Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas Shaheed, Nishan-e-Haider, on the anniversary of his martyrdom. The Pakistan Air Force also released a short documentary in honor of this valiant son of Pakistan.
According to the ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relations), Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas, the youngest recipient of the Nishan-e-Haider, embraced martyrdom at Goth Ahmed Shah, Sujawal, on August 20, 1971. He exemplified the noble traditions of the Pakistan Armed Forces by defending his homeland in the line of duty, the ISPR noted.
The military’s media wing emphasized, “Let’s remember these heroes who have laid down their lives in defense of our motherland. The nation is proud of its gallant sons.”
On August 20, 1971, while still in training as a pilot, Rashid Minhas was preparing a T-33 Jet trainer for take-off. However, a Bengali pilot instructor, Flight Lieutenant Mataur Rahman, entered the rear cockpit forcibly. Rahman incapacitated Minhas, seized control of the aircraft, and steered it towards India. Regaining consciousness, Rashid Minhas heroically redirected the plane to crash just 32 miles from the Indian border.
Unable to regain control, he made the ultimate sacrifice by deliberately crashing the aircraft to prevent it from being taken to India, upholding the honor of Pakistan. This young hero was laid to rest on August 21, 1971, with full military honors.