LAHORE: The 48th martyrdom anniversary of pilot officer Rashid Minhas is being observed today.
Minhas was awarded Pakistan’s top military honour, the Nishan-e-Haider posthumously, and became the youngest man and the only member of the Pakistan Air Force to win the award.
Minhas was born on 17th February 1951 in Karachi, he spent his early childhood in Lahore. Later, the family shifted to Rawalpindi. He joined the air force and was commissioned on 13th March 1971.
Minhas was knocked out by a Bengali traitor, Lieutenant Matiur Rahman, who signalled Rashid Minhas to stop and then climbed into the instructor’s seat. The jet took off and turned towards India. Minhas radioed PAF Base Masroor with the message that he was being hijacked.
He did the only thing within his control and forced that plane to crash just 32 miles from the Indian border, deliberately sacrificing his life for the honour of Pakistan.
Later investigation showed that Rahman intended to defect to India to join his compatriots in the Bangladesh Liberation War, along with the jet trainer.
In his memory, the Pakistan Air Force base at Kamra was renamed PAF Base Minhas. In Karachi, he was honoured by the naming of the main road, Rashid Minhas Road.