A national hero of Pakistan, youngest receiver of Pakistan’s highest valour award ‘Nishan-e-Haider’, PAF Pilot Officer, Rashid Minhas’ 46th martyrdom anniversary is being observed on Sunday.
After joining the air force, Minhas was commissioned on March 13, 1971, in the 51st GD(P) Course. He began training to become a pilot.
On August 20 of that year, he was getting ready to take off for his second solo flight in a T-33 jet trainer in Karachi.
Minhas was taxiing toward the runway on a routine training flight when a Bengali instructor pilot, Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman, forced him to stop and seized the control of the jet. The aircraft then took off and turned toward India.
Pilot Officer received a message from PAF Base Masroor that he was being hijacked after which he tried to regain control of the plane but failed to do so.
Rashid managed to regain control of his aircraft and crashed it some 32 miles from the Indian border, near Thatta without caring his life. The incident martyred Pakistani valiant officer and killed the instructor.
Rashid was posthumously awarded Pakistan’s top military honour, the Nishan-e-Haider, announced by then president General Yahya Khan.
He became the youngest man and the only member of the Pakistan Air Force to win the award.