“It is the cause, not the death, that makes the martyr.”

–Napoleon Bonaparte

6th September marks Defense day and the remembrance of martyrs across the nation. Amid the countless that sacrificed their lives, devoutly honored is the name of Rahid Minhas, who attained martyrdom in August 1971.

A military officer in the Pakistan Air Force, Minhas was born in Karachi in 1951 and fascinated with aviation and technology since childhood. He joined the Air Force Academy at the age of 17 and graduated in 1971. On August 20, 1971, during his routine training mission, crashed his jet trainer in order to prevent his Commanding Officer from defecting 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’. Minhas was the only PAF officer to receive the highest valour award, the Nishan-e-Haider. He was also the youngest person and the shortest-serving officer to have received this award.