Matiur Rahman (military pilot)
|Born||Dhaka, Bengal Presidency, British India (now Bangladesh)|
|Died||20 August 1971|
Thatta, West Pakistan
|Allegiance||Pakistan (till March 1971) (Died in 1971) Bangladesh (from March 1971)|
|Service/||Pakistan Air Force|
|Years of service||1963–71 (his death)|
|Rank||Flight Lieutenant (c. 1967)|
|Unit||No. 2 Squadron|
|Battles/wars||Indo-Pakistan War of 1965|
Bangladesh Liberation War
Matiur Rahman (died 20 August 1971) was a flight lieutenant of Pakistan Air Force and a recipient of Bir Sreshtho, Bangladesh's highest military gallantry award for his actions during the Liberation War of Bangladesh.
He attempted to escape from Pakistan and join the Bangladesh Liberation War, to hijack a Lockheed T-33 aircraft being flown by a 21 year old Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas, who was conducting his second solo flight. Rahman stopped the aircraft on the runway, climbed into the cockpit and steered the aircraft toward the Indian border, but Rashid Minhas fought against him through the mechanically linked controls. Minhas then released the canopy, and since he was not properly strapped in, Rahman flew out of the cockpit. The jet was flying too low for Minhas to recover so it crashed, killing him. For his support to the state of Bangladesh, Rahman was decorated by Bangladesh with the Bir Sreshtho award.
Matiur Rahman completed his primary education at Dhaka Collegiate School. After that he was admitted into Pakistan Air Force School Sargodha in West Pakistan. On 15 August 1961, he joined the Pakistan Air Force Academy (then Pakistan Air Force College) at Risalpur. On 22 June 1963, Matiur Rahman was commissioned as a pilot officer from the 36th GD(P) Course and was posted at No. 2 Squadron of Mauripur Air Base (now Masroor) at Karachi in West Pakistan. After that he successfully completed the Jet Conversion Training on T-33 jet trainers in that base. He successfully passed the course with a mark of 75.66% and was earmarked for Fighter Conversion Training. Fighter Conversion Training took place in F-86 Sabre Jets, this course he passed with a mark of 81%. He was posted in Peshawar (in No.19 Squadron) due to his bright result in the Fighter Conversion Course.
His rank was Flying Officer during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. After the war, he went back to Sargodha to attend the Mig Conversion Course. He was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant in 1967.
During the Bangladesh Liberation War
Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman smuggled the family of Group Captain Taher Quddus on Royal Saudi Arabian C-130 transport plane bound for Riyadh during the liberation war of Bangladesh. Matiur Rahman and his family went to Dhaka for a two-month vacation at the end of January 1971. He was staying in the village of Ramanagar in Raypur during the military operation of 25 March 1971 conducted by the Pakistan army in the name of Operation Searchlight. Despite being a member of the PAF, Rahman opened a training camp in Vairab and started training Bengali people who were willing to join the Mukti Bahini. He formed a small defence force with the willing members and a few collected weapons. His camp was bombed by the PAF on 14 April 1971. But Rahman anticipated the attack beforehand and changed the place of his camp. Thus, his crew and he was saved from the bombing. Rahman returned to Dhaka on 23 April and then returned to Karachi on 9 May with his family.
Matiur Rahman was an instructor pilot at PAF Base Masroor in 1971. He was planning to defect to India with a plane to join the Bangladesh Liberation War. On 20 August 1971, Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas was scheduled to fly with a Lockheed T-33 training plane. Rahman saw Minhas about to take off and asked to join him, he jumped into the instructor seat. He attempted to hijack the T-33 in midair from Karachi, Pakistan to India to join the liberation movement. Minhas sent a message to control tower that he has been hijacked. Minhas wrestled with Rahman for control and crashed the plane in Pakistan's territory which caused the death of both pilots. The plane never crossed into India's airspace and crashed near the border but in Pakistan.
After over 30 years of negotiations, Rahman's body was finally returned to Bangladesh on 24 June 2006 for a ceremonial and highly symbolic reburial in 2006. Pakistani foreign ministry spokesperson Tasneem Aslam described it as a 'goodwill gesture'. He was buried at the Martyred Intellectuals Graveyard, in Mirpur, Dhaka, with full military honours. His original burial in a grave in fourth class employees graveyard in Pakistan and the hanging of his photo at the entrance of Mashrur Airbase identifying him as a Traitor had been a sore point between Bangladesh and Pakistan for decades.
There is a docudrama based on Matiur's life named Ognibolaka where Bangladeshi film actor Riaz has acted in the role of Matiur and television actress Tarin played the role of his wife Mili. There have a Bengali film named "Ostistte Amar Desh" based on Matiur's life, directed by "khiljir hayat khan". His wife "Mili Rahman" was co-writer of this film and also acted here.
The Bangladesh Air Force's Air Base at Jessore is also named after him. The air force also gives out a trophy named after him for best performance in the flying training. Birshreshto Matiur Rahman trophy (a.k.a. Golden Pen award), named after him, is also awarded for the best Individual Research Paper of Air Wing in Defence Services Command and Staff College. Dining halls in the Cadet Colleges of Bangladesh are also named after him.
- Manik, Julfikar Ali. "Year ends with a milestone for women". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
- "Bangladesh 'war hero' goes home". BBC News. 25 June 2006. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
- Quddus, Farhan. "Tribute to a father". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- "August 20 marks the death anniversary of Rashid Minhas". The Nation. 20 August 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- "42nd Martyrdom Anniversary Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas Shaheed [Nishan-e-Hyder.] – SFP News". www.shaheedfoundation.org. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
- APP. "Rashid Minhas 39th death anniversary observed today". Aaj News. AAJ NEWS. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
- Abbas, Zaffar (20 April 2006). "Bengali hero's remains given back". BBC News. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
- "Matiur's remains received in state honour". The Daily Star. 25 June 2006.
- Rahman, Ashiqur. "Elegy for a Bir Sreshtha". The Daily Star. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
- "President parade held at BAF Academy". The Independent. Dhaka. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
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