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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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  1. 20th August, During the Indo-Pak war of 1971. Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas was a Pilot in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Minhas, a newly commissioned officer of 1971 is the only PAF officer to receive the highest valour award, the Nishan-e-Haider (Mark Of The Lion). He is also the youngest person and the shortest-serving officer to have received this award only at the age of 20. "Having joined 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, in the hour before noon, he was getting ready to take off in a T-33 jet trainer in Karachi, Pakistan. His second solo flight in that type of aircraft. 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. The air controller requested that he resend his message, and he confirmed the hijacking. Later investigation showed that Matiur Rahman intended to defect to India to join his compatriots in the Bangladesh Liberation War, along with the jet trainer. In the air, Minhas struggled physically to wrest control from Matiur Rahman; each man tried to overpower the other through the mechanically linked flight controls. Some 32 miles (51 km) from the Indian border, the jet crashed near Thatta. Both men were killed. 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. Similarly, Rahman was honoured by Bangladesh with their highest military award, the Bir Sreshtho. Minhas's Pakistan military citation for the Nishan-E-Haider states that he "forced the aircraft to crash" in order to prevent Matiur Rahman from taking the jet to India." "After his death, Minhas was honoured as a national hero. In his memory the Pakistan Air Force base at Kamra was renamed PAF Base Minhas, often called Minhas-Kamra. In Karachi he was honoured by the naming of a main road, Rashid Minhas Road". Rashid Minhas (Martyred), 17 February 1951 - 20 August 1971. T-33 Jet trainers of the PAF Matiur Rahman, the Defecting pilot, (He was Rashid's flying Instructor) Rashid Minhas was Identified by his watch and his ID.
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