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Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas or Rashid Minhas Shaheed, (February 17, 1951 – August 20, 1971) was a Pilot Officer in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Minhas, a newly commissioned officer at the time of his shahadat, is the only PAF officer to receive the highest valour award, the Nishan-e-Haider. He is also the youngest person and the shortest-serving officer to have received this award. He is remembered for his death in 1971 in a jet trainer crash while struggling to regain the controls from a defecting pilot: Matiur Rahman.

Nishan-e-Haider or Nishan-e-Hyder translated as "Emblem of Haider, where Haider is the epithet of Hazrat Ali and means Lion" is the highest military decoration given by Pakistan (it is the equivalent to the Victoria Cross and the Medal of Honor under the British Honours System and the United States Honors System respectively). It is awarded to military personnel, regardless of rank, for extraordinary bravery in combat.The award is considered to be the highest military award and has only been awarded to those who have sacrificed their life for the country. Its exclusivity may be gauged by the fact that since it was established only 11 awards have been made, along with one equivalent award. To date all awards have been made posthumously. Of the 11 recipients, 10 have been from the Pakistan Army, one has been from the Pakistan Air Force and no one from Pakistan Navy yet.


Location: Salt Lake City, USA      

 

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