Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas Shaheed (NH )– Young Air Warrior
Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas Shaheed – Nishan e Haider (February 17, 1951 – August 20, 1971) was a pilot in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) during the 1971 Indo-Pak conflict. Rashid Minhas was born in the Minhas clan of Rajputs in Karachi on February 17, 1951. He spent his early childhood in Lahore and Rawalpindi. He had his early education from the famous Rawalpindi school St. Mary’s Cambridge School. He did his intermediate studies from St. Patrick’s High School in Karachi. He later joined Karachi University to study Aviation history and military history.
Later, Rashid Minhas joined Pakistan Air Force and was commissioned on March 31, 1971. He stood 3rd in his course and was awarded the prestigious ‘Sword of Honor’. After commissioning, Rashid Minhas was deployed at Karachi with the Pakistan Defence Force’s Lead Aerial Warfare branch. On August 20, 1971 when he was ready to take off his T-33 trainer plane, his Bengali instructor Flight Lietutant Matiur Rahman approached his plane and knocked out Minhas to steal the plane to India. Pilot Officer Rashid regained consciousness in midflight and released that his instructor plans to steal the plane to India. He informed PAF Masroor about the scenario. While his plane was 40 KMs away from India border, he crashed it to avoid being captured in India.
Rashid Minhas was posthumously awarded Nishan-e-Haider. He is the only person from Pakistan Air Force to receive this award. He is also the youngest person to receive this award. PAF base Masroor has been named after him. He always used to write in his diary, “We cannot live forever then why don’t we sacrifice ourselves on our dear homeland, yes it is an easy job”.
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