Nishan e Haider
Nishan-e-Haider (abbreviated as “NH”) is Pakistan’s highest military gallantry award. “Nishan-e-Haider” literally means “Emblem of the Lion” in the Urdu language. The word “Haider” is also the epithet of Ali, who is referred to as the ‘Lion of God’, a valiant warrior and leader.
The Nishan-e-Haider can only be awarded to members of the Pakistan Armed Forces for the highest acts of extraordinary bravery in the face of the enemy in air, land or sea. Its exclusivity can be gauged by the fact that, since Pakistan’s independence in 1947, it has been awarded only ten times (now eleven, due to Hilal-e-Kashmir being equal to Nishan-e-Haider).
The Nishan-e-Haider was established by the Government of Pakistan and named after Ali ibn Abi Talib on 16 March 1957, the year that Pakistan became a republic. It was applied retrospectively from the date of Pakistan’s independence on 14 August 1947. It is Pakistan’s highest award and takes precedence over all military and civil awards. Of the ten Nishan-e-Haider recipients to date, nine have been from the Army and one from the Air Force.
Although some consider it equivalent to the British Victoria Cross and the United States Medal of Honor, it is unique in that it has so far been awarded only posthumously.
The Nishan-e-Haider can be awarded to all ranks of the Armed Forces for showing feats of extraordinary courage in confronting the enemy. As a matter of practice and precedent, it has only been awarded where it has been established that the recipient acted despite high risks and was killed in the act.
The Nishan-e-Haider is manufactured by Pakistan Mint on order of the Ministry of Defence. It is forged from captured enemy equipment and consists of 88% copper, 10% tin and 2% zinc.
Our Heros (Recipients)
Naik Saif Ali Janjua, Azad Kashmir Regiment (Was awarded Hilal-e-Kashmir – an equivalent to Nishan-i-Haider) Date of Shahadat : 26th April 1948
He was born on 25 April 1922 in Khandbaz Tehsil Nakial (Azad Jammu & Kashmir). He was enlisted in the Royal Corps of Engineers in British Indian Army on 18 March 1941. After completing his service in the British Indian Army in 1947, he came back to his native town and started establishing Haidri Force with the support of Sardar Fateh Muhammad Karailvi. On 1st Janaury 1948, Haidri Force was raised as “Sher-e-Riasti Battalion” under the command of Lt. Col. Muhammad Sher Khan. Due to his unflinching devotion and undaunted courage, on the recognition of his dedication and commitment to the cause, he was accoladed with the rank of Naik and was made platoon commander. He set personal examples of gallantry and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy at Bhudha Khanna where his platoon was given the responsibility to defend Budha Khanna where he faced never-ending frontal and crossfire from machine guns. He defended the post with chivalry, which he established with his few jawans and repulsed many aggressive ventures by the enemy and imposed colossal losses on them. The enemy used every mean to capture the post with two companies attack and heavy Arty bombardment but with unwavering determination and passion for Martyrdom bought the enemies on their knees. Despite facing all odds, he led his jawans while setting personal example of bravery and valour and remained steadfast and unmoved on the post. During the course of action, despite being hit on his chest by Arty fire, he retained his position and frustrated the Indian assault. Due to severe injuries he embraced Martyrdom on 26 October 1948. On 14th March 1949, the Defence Council of Azad Jammu & Kashmir adorned him with Hilal-e-Kashmir (posthumous) and on 30th November 1995 Government of Pakistan initiated the gazette notification to declare his Hilal-e-Kashmir equilent to Nishan-e Haider.
Captain Mohammad Sarwar, Punjab Regiment Date of Shahadat : 27th July 1948
He was born in 1910 in Village Sanghori, District Rawalpindi. He was commissioned into the Punjab Regiment, in 1944. During the Kashmir Operations soon after the birth of Pakistan, as a Company Commander in the 2nd Battalion of the Punjab Regiment, Captain Muhammad Sarwar launched an attack causing heavy casualties against a strongly fortified enemy position in the Uri Sector under heavy machine-gun, grenade and mortar fire. But on 27 July 1948, as he moved forward with six of his men to cut their way through a barbed wire barrier, he got martyrdom when his chest was hit by a burst of automatic fire.
Major Tufail Mohammad, Punjab Regiment Date of Shahadat : 7th August 1958
He was born in 1914 in Hoshiarpur. He was commissioned into the 16th Punjab Regiment in 1943. In August 1958, Major Tufail Muhammad, a Company Commander in the East Pakistan Rifles, and his patrol encircled an Indian post in the Lakshmirpur area. And, though mortally wounded in the hand-to-hand encounter that followed, Major Tufail Muhammad continued to lead his troops till the Indians were driven out, leaving four dead and three prisoners. He embraced martyrdom the same day i.e, 7 August 1958.
Major Raja Aziz Bhatti, Punjab Regiment Date of Shahadat : 12th September 1965
He was born in 1928 in Hong Kong. He was commissioned into the Punjab Regiment, in 1950. On 6 September 1965, as a Company Commander in the Burki area of the Lahore sector, Major Raja Aziz Bhatti chose to stay with his forward platoon under incessant artillery and tank attacks for five days and nights in the defence of the strategic BRB Canal. Throughout, undaunted by constant fire from enemy small arms, tanks and artillery, he organized the defence of the canal, directing his men to answer the fire until he was hit by an enemy tank shell and embraced martyrdom on 10 September 1965.
Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas, Pakistan Air Force Date of Shahadat : 20th August 1971
He was born on 17 February 1951. He was commissioned as a pilot in the Pakistan Air Force in 1971. Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas was taxiing for take off on a routine training flight when an Instructor Pilot forced his way into the rear cockpit, seized control of the aircraft and took off. When Rashid Minhas realised that the absconding pilot was heading towards India, he tried to regain control of the plane but was unable to do so. Knowing that it meant certain death, he damaged the controls and forced the aircraft to crash thirty-two miles short of the border on 20 August 1971
Major Shabbir Sharif Frontier Force Regiment Date of Shahadat : 7th December 1971
He was born on 28 April 1943 in Kunjah, Gujrat District. He was commissioned into the Frontier Force Regiment on 19 April 1964. Major Shabbir Sharif, as commander of a company of 6 Frontier Force Regiment, was ordered in December 1971 to capture high ground near Sulemanki Headworks defended by more than a company of the Assam Regiment supported by a squadron of tanks. In a well organized superhuman action, for the next three days and nights after crossing a minefield and massive obstacles and killing forty-three soldiers and destroying four tanks, Major Shabbir Sharif and his men held two enemy battalions at bay. But after he took over an anti-tank gun from his gunner in an attack he embraced martyrdom by a direct hit in the afternoon of 6 December 1971.
Sowar Mohammad Hussain, Armoured Corps Date of Shahadat : 10th December 1971
He was born on 18 June 1949 in Dhok Pir Bakhsh (now Dhok Muhammad Husain Janjua). He was enlisted as a driver on 3 September 1966. Although only a driver in the 20th Lancers, when war broke out in 1971 Sowar Muhammad Hussain took an active part in every battle in which his unit was engaged unmindful of any danger, no mater how grave. When he spotted the enemy close to a minefield near the village of Harar Khurd in December 1971, on his own initiative he directed accurate fire at the enemy resulting in the destruction of sixteen enemy tanks. But while directing fire from recoilless rifles, he was hit in the chest by a burst of machine-gun fire and embraced martyrdom on 10 December 1971.
Major Mohammad Akram, Frontier Force Regiment Date of Shahadat : 15th December 1971
He was born on 4 April 1938 in Dingha, Gujrat District. He was commissioned in the Frontier Force Regiment on 13 October 1963. Major Muhammad Akram and a company of 4 Frontier Force Regiment, which he commanded in the forward area in Hilli district, in East Pakistan in 1971, came under incessant air, artillery and armour attacks. But for an entire fortnight, despite enemy superiority in both numbers and fire power, he and his men repulsed every attack, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Major Muhammad Akram embraced martyrdom during this epic battle on 5 December 1971
Lance Naik Mohammad Mahfuz, Punjab Regiment Date of Shahadat : 17th December 1971
He was born on 25 October 1944 in Pind Malikan (now Mahfuzabad), Rawalpindi district. He was enlisted in the Army on 25 October 1962. Serving in ‘A’ Company of 15 Punjab Regiment when war broke out in 1971, Lance Naik Muhammad Mahfuz was deployed on the Wagha-Attari Sector where his company was pinned down by unceasing frontal and crossfire from automatic weapons. Although his machine gun was destroyed by an enemy shell, Muhammad Mahfuz advanced towards an enemy bunker whose automatic fire had inflicted heavy casualties. Even though wounded in both legs by shell splinters, when he reached the bunker he stood up and pounced on the enemy, in the encounter he was hit with a bayonet. Although unarmed, he got hold of the enemy and did another bayonet strangling with him. Due to serious injuries he embraced martyrdom on the night of 17 December 1971.
Captain Karnal Sher Khan, Sind Regiment Date of Shahadat : 7th July 1999
He was born on 1 January 1970. He was commissioned in the Army on 14 October 1994. Captain Karnal Sher Khan emerged as the symbol of mettle and courage during the Kargil conflict on the Line of Control. He set personal examples of bravery and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy. He defended the five strategic posts, which he established with his jawans at the height of 17,000 feet at Gultary, and repulsed many Indian attacks. After many abortive attempts, the Indians on 5 July 1999 ringed the posts of Captain Karnal Sher Khan with the help of two battalions and unleashed heavy mortar fire and managed to capture some part of one of his posts. Despite facing all odds, he led a counter-attack and re-captured the lost parts of his post. But during the course, he was hit by the machine-gun fire and embraced ‘SHAHADAT’ at the same post.
Havildar Lalak Jan, Northern Light Infantry Date of Shahadat : 7th July 1999
He was born on 1 Apr 1967. He was enlisted in the Army on 10 December 1984. He was serving in Northern Light Infantry Regiment when skirmishes broke out in Kargil in 1999. Havildar Lalak Jan of the Northern Light Infantry Regiment fought from the forefront to thwart heavy Indian attacks. He volunteered himself to be deployed on the front positions located at the jagged peak in May 1999. Havildar Lalak Jan repulsed back many aggressive ventures by the enemy and imposed colossal losses on them. On 7 July 1999, Havildar Lalak Jan sustained serious injuries as enemies pounded the area with heavy mortar shells. But despite being injured, he retained his position and frustrated the Indian assault. Due to severe injuries he embraced martyrdom.
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