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ن‍شان حیدر
Awarded by the President of Pakistan in the name of the Government of Pakistan
Type Pakistan military medal with service ribbon
Eligibility Military personnel only
Awarded for Acts of greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger, and bravery of the highest order, or devotion to the country in the presence of the enemy on land, at sea or in the air.[1]
Status Currently awarded
Post-nominals NH
Established 16 March 1957 [2] (applied retrospectively from 14 August 1947)
First awarded 16 March 1957 – Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, Captain Muhammad Sarwar, Pakistan army
Last awarded 15 July 1999 – Kargil War, Havildar Lalak Jan, Pakistan army
Total awarded 10
Next (higher) None
Equivalent Hilal-e-Kashmir
Next (lower) Hilal-i-Jur'at

Nishan-e-Haider (Urdu: ن‍شان حیدر‎) (abbreviated as "NH") is Pakistan's highest military gallantry award. "Nishan-e-Haider" literally means "Mark of the Lion" in the Urdu language. The word "Haider" is also the epithet of Hazrat Ali.

The Nishan-e-Haider can only be awarded to members of the Pakistan Armed Forces for the highest acts of extraordinary bravery in face of the enemy in air, land or sea. Although some consider it equivalent of the British Victoria Cross and the United States Medal of Honor, it is unique in that it has so far been awarded only posthumously. Its exclusivity can be gauged by the fact that, since Pakistan's independence in 1947, there have been only ten recipients.


The Nishan-e-Haider was established by the Government of Pakistan and Named after Hazrat Ali on 16 March 1957, in the year when Pakistan became a republic. However, it was applied retrospectively from the date of Pakistan's independence on 14 August 1947. The Nishan-e-Haider is Pakistan's highest award and takes precedence over all military and civil awards. Of the ten Nishan-e-Haider recipients till date, nine have been from the Pakistan Army and one from the Pakistan Air Force.


The Nishan-e-Haider can be awarded to all ranks of the Pakistan Armed Forces for sacrificing their lives in acts of extraordinary courage in face of the enemy. As a matter of practice and precedent, it has only been awarded in circumstances where it has been established that a member of the Pakistan Armed Forces acted with extraordinary bravery and courage in face of the enemy notwithstanding the realization of a high risk to his life and, consequentially, sacrificed his life in the act.[3]


The Nishan-e-Haider is manufactured by the Pakistan Mint on order of the Ministry of Defence, Government of Pakistan. It is forged from captured enemy equipment and consists of 88% copper, 10% tin and 2% zinc.


Only ten Nishan-e-Haider medals have been awarded since Pakistan's independence on 14 August 1947, Nine to members of the Pakistan Army and one to a member of the Pakistan Air Force. Below is the list of Nishan-e-Haider recipients.

S. No. Name Unit and service Rank Conflict Date of Martyrdom
1 Raja Muhammad Sarwar Shaheed 2/1 Punjab Regiment, Pakistan Army Captain 1948 Indo-Pak War 27 July 1948
2 Tufail Mohammad Shaheed Punjab Regiment, Pakistan Army Major 1958 Indo-Pak Border Skirmish 7 August 1958
3 Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed 17 Punjab Regiment, Pakistan Army Major 1965 Indo-Pak War 10 September 1965
4 Rashid Minhas Shaheed No. 2 Fighter Conversion Unit, Pakistan Air Force Pilot Officer Bangladesh Liberation War 1971 20 August 1971
5 Rana Shabbir Sharif Shaheed 6 Frontier Force Regiment, Pakistan Army Major Bangladesh Liberation War 1971 6 December 1971
6 Raja Muhammad Hussain Janjua Shaheed 20 Lancers (Armoured Corps), Pakistan Army Sawar Bangladesh Liberation War 1971 10 December 1971
7 Muhammad Akram Shaheed 4 Frontier Force Regiment, Pakistan Army Major Bangladesh Liberation War 1971 5 December 1971
8 Muhammad Mahfuz Shaheed 15 Punjab Regiment, Pakistan Army Lance Naik 1971 Indo-Pak War 17 December 1971
9 Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed Sindh Regiment/12 Northern Light Infantry, Pakistan Army Captain 1999 Indo-Pak Kargil Conflict 7 July 1999
10 Lalak Jan Shaheed 12 Northern Light Infantry, Pakistan Army Havildar 1999 Indo-Pak Kargil Conflict 7 July 1999

∗ On 14 March 1949, the Defence Council of Azad Jammu and Kashmir adorned Naik Saif Ali Janjua Shaheed with Hilal-e-Kashmir (posthumous) and on 30 November 1995, the Government of Pakistan initiated the gazette notification to declare his Hilal-e-Kashmir equivalent to Nishan-e-Haider. However, according to legal opinion in Pakistan, this is an ex post facto declaration of equivalence and, therefore, not really the award of a Nishan-e-Haider per se [4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ "Honours and Awards". Pakistan Army. Retrieved 6 June 2009. 
  4. ^ Pakistan Legal Journal, Vol 2, No 89, Summer 1997, pp. 112-114

External links[edit]