Rashid Minhas Shaheed who was a Pilot Officer of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) was born on 17th February 1951. He is regarded as the only PAF officer who received the highest Pakistani military award “Nishan e Haider” for his valor in 1971. He also served as a youngest and short service officer in the Pakistani Defense Forces Aerial Warfare Service.
Before creation of Pakistan the family of Rashid Minhas Shaheed was settled in Gurdaspur. After partition they migrated to Pakistanand resided near Sialkot. Rashid Minhas Shaheed enjoyed his early childhood in historic city of Lahore. Later he educated from St Mary’s Cambridge School Rawalpindi. Rashid Minhas Shaheed had aptitude for aviation. He was so much passionate that he used to accumulated variety of jet and aircraft models. After completing his Matriculation at the age of 17 he attended St Patrick’s High School, Karachi and afterwards enrolled in Karachi University where he studied disciplines related to military and aviation.
On 13th March 1971 Rashid Minhas Shaheed was commissioned for the 51st GD (P) Course of PAF. Within six months he was ready to take off in a T-33 trainer in Karachi. But his instructor Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman was an undercover agent who was working for Indians. It is said by official sources that the instructor was eyeing closely on Rashid Minhas Shaheed for many days to target him as Rashid was new, young and inexperienced. During a training flight Rahman knocked Rashid Minhas Shaheed out leaving him unconscious in order to hijack plane and land in Indian Airbase to join his Indian fellowmen, provide them with Pakistani Air force secrets along with the plane.
During mid-flight Rashid Minhas Shaheed regained consciousness, and realized the intentions of his instructor. He was left up with no choice except to turn joystick downward and let the plane crash. During this struggle he not only fought with Matiur Rahman inside cockpit but also desperately communicated with the control tower of PAF Masroor Base to let them know about reality. At last Rashid Minhas Shaheed managed to do which was the need of that hour. He directed the plane downward to end both his and traitor instructor’s life through crash. Thus Rashid Minhas Shaheed prevented the plane from reaching inside Indian Territory as crash site of the T-33 was later found 40 km away from Indian border insidePakistan.
He was awarded with Nishan e Haider. To pay homage to him Pakistan Air Force also renamed its PAF Kaamra base to Rashid Minhas Shaheed’s name.