Tribute paid to Rashid Minhas on Pakistan Air Force Day

Initially published in Geo News on September 7, 2018

KARACHI: A ceremony to commemorate the martyrdom of Rashid Minhas was held today, as the country celebrates Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Day.

The day is being celebrated across the country to pay homage to the martyred pilots who lost their lives during the 1965 war.

At the ceremony, a smartly turned out contingent of PAF presented a salute to the pilot.

Air Vice Marshal Ahsan Rafique and Minhas’s brother Anjum Minhas laid floral wreaths at the grave and offered fateha.

Speaking at the ceremony, Air Vice Marshal Rafique said, the air force has proved its mettle in every battle.

On August 20, 1971, Rashid an under-training pilot, was taxying T-33 Jet trainer for take-off, when a Bengali pilot instructor, Flight Lieutenant Mataur Rahman, forced his way into the rear cockpit.

In mid-air, Rahman knocked Minhas out, seized control of the aircraft and headed towards India.

With just 40 miles of Pakistan territory remaining, Rashid regained consciousness and tried to regain control of his aircraft.

Failing to do so, he did the only thing within his control to prevent the aircraft from being taken to India.

He forced the plane to crash just 32 miles from the Indian border, deliberately sacrificing his life for the honour of Pakistan.

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.

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