ISLAMABAD - Nishan-e-Haider, literally meaning “Mark of the Lion” is Pakistan’s highest military gallantry award. The supreme military award bestow to those only who while displaying a great gallantry, heroism and zeal lay their lives for their motherland.
The prestigious reward was given the name ‘Nishan-e-Haider’ (The Badge of Haider) in 1957 in reference with the epithet ‘Haider’ of the bravest among bravest and the fountain of valor and the courage Hazrat Ali A.S. who is also known as Asadullah - ‘The Lion of Allah’ and Yadullah - ‘The Hand of Allah’.
The Nishan-e-Haider can only be awarded to members of the Pakistan Armed Forces for the highest acts of extraordinary gallantry against the enemy in air, land or sea.
Nishan-e-Haider is forged from captured enemy equipment and consists of 88% copper, 10% tin and 2% zinc. Studded with the five cornered star and garland with the green ribbon, the supreme award of Pakistan is the ultimate desire of brave men of the Pak armed forces.
Its exclusivity can be gauged by the fact that, since Pakistan s independence in 1947, Pakistan s highest award that takes precedence over all military and civil awards, he has been awarded to the ten recipients to date; nine have been from the Army and one from the Air Force.
*Captain Raja Muhammad Sarwar*
Date of martyrdom: 27 July 1948 Battle: Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 Regiment: 2/1 Punjab Regiment
In July 1948 with war in Kashmir with India, Captain 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. On 27th July 1948, he volunteered to cut the enemy’s barbed wire barrier to pave way for the move forward of his follow up comrades. However, while doing so he received a direct burst of enemy’s heavy machine gun fire, and embraced shahadat at the spot.
*Major Tufail Mohammad*
Date of martyrdom: 7 August 1958 Battle: Indo-Pak Border skirmish 1958 Regiment: 16th Punjab Regiment Border Guards East Pakistan Rifles
During 1958, with border skirmishes with India in East Pakistan, Major Tufail Muhammad was commanding a company of the East Pakistan Rifles near the town of Lakshmipur. The company encircled an illegal Indian post, which was erected by the Indians in violation of the internationally recognized boundary between the two countries. During the enemy action, Major Tufail was mortally wounded, but did not stop fighting even at close quarters. In the hand-to-hand encounter that followed, Major Tufail continued to lead his troops till the Indians were driven out, leaving four dead and three prisoners. However, Major Tufail himself succumbed to his wounds and embraced Shahadat on the 7th August 1958.
*Major Raja Aziz Bhatti*
Date of martyrdom: 10 September 1965 Battle: Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 Regiment: 17 Punjab Regiment
During the 1965 Indo-Pak war, he was commanding a company in general area Burki of the Lahore Sector. Major Bhatti’s defences on the famous BRB (Banmban Wali Ravian Bedian) Link Canal was subjected to heavy Indian repeated attacks coupled with incessant artillery and tank fire for five days and nights. But Major Bhatti and his men stood like a rock. On 10 September 1965, while he was directing the artillery fire, he was hit by an enemy tank shell and embraced Shahadat.
*Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas*
Date of martyrdom: 20 August 1971 Battle: Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 Regiment: No. 2 Fighter Conversion Unit
On 20 August 1971, while he was taxiing his aircraft towards to runway, a Bengali dissident Instructor Pilot (IP) forced his way into the rear cockpit of the two-seat jet trainer and in the process hurt Rashid Minhas. The IP seized control of the aircraft and headed toward India. When Minhas regained consciousness, he realized that the absconding pilot was heading towards India, so he tried to regain control of the plane. But being injured, he was not able to take power on the controls, so he forced the aircraft to crash some thirty two miles short of the border. By losaing his own life, he not only saved the aircraft from getting in to the hands of the Indians, but also jeopardized the malafide intentions of his IP. First PAF officer to recieve Nishan-e-Haider.
*Major Muhammad Akram*
Date of martyrdom: 5 December 1971 Battle: Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 Regiment: 4 Frontier Force Regiment
During 1971 Indo – Pak war, Major Akram was commanding a rifle company of the 4th FF Regiment in the forward localities of the Hilli district. The position held by Major Akram and his company was very vital and had blocked enemy’s route of advance. Therefore it came under continuous and heavy air, artillery and tank attacks. But for almost two weeks, despite enemy superiority in both numbers and fire power, Major Akram and his men remained entrenched and repulsed every attack, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. The Indians many a time asked him to surrender but Major Akram refused. Finally, overpowered and fatigued, Major Akram embraced Shahadat fighting at close quarter battle in the famous “Battle of Hilli”.
*Major Shabbir Sharif*
Date of martyrdom: 6 December 1971 Battle: Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 Regiment: 6 Frontier Force Regiment
In December 1971, Major Shabir’s 6 FF Regiment was ordered to capture high ground near Sulemanki Headwork defended by more than a company of the Indian Assam Regiment supported by a squadron of tanks. After crossing a minefield, massive obstacles, killing forty three soldiers and destroying four tanks, Major Sharif and his men held two enemy battalions at bay for days. However, on 6 december, the Indians mounted a fierce attack supported by tanks. Assessing the situation to be critical and not taking any chances with the enemy, Major Shabbir himself took over an anti-tank gun from his gunner and fired on the enemy tanks. While doing so, the enemy tank fired its main gun on Major Shabir’s location, killing him in the afternoon of 6th December.
*Muhammad Hussain Janjua*
Date of martyrdom: 10 December 1971 Battle: Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 Regiment: 20 Lancers (Armoured Corps)
Hussain was always eager to perform jobs that were not normally meant for drivers and was always in fore fronts to help the others. During the 1971 war, he spotted the enemy digging along a minefield near the village of Harar Khurd. Daring as he was, on his own initiative he called and directed accurate fire at the enemy resulting in the destruction of sixteen of their tanks. However, while he was still directing fire from a recoil-less rifles, he was hit in the chest by a burst of machine gun fire and embraced Shahadat on 10th December 1971.
*Lance Naik Muhammad Mahfuz*
Date of martyrdom: 17 December 1971 Battle: Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 Regiment: 15 Punjab Regiment
In 1971 Indo Pak war, he was serving in the ‘A’ Company and his unit was deployed on the Wagah-Attari Sector near Lahore. The enemy advancing elements pinned down his company positions by unceasing frontal and cross fire from automatic weapons. In the process, his machine gun was destroyed by an enemy shell, but it did not dishearten the spirited Lance Naik, who advanced bare handed 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, but was hit. Although unarmed and amidst the enemy, he got hold of one of the enemy and was strangling him when another bayoneted him to death during the night of 17th December 1971.
*Captain Karnal Sher Khan*
Date of martyrdom: 5 July 1999 Battle: Kargil War Regiment: 27 Sindh Regiment/12 Northern Light Infantry
Captain Karnal Sher Khan rose to the heights of glory when he 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 some 17,000 feet at Gultari, and repulsed many Indian attacks. After many abortive attempts, on July 5 1998, enemy’s two battalion ringed the post of Kernal Sher Khan with the help and unleashed heavy mortar firing and managed to capture some part of the post. Despite facing all odds, he lead a counter-attack and re- captured the lost parts. But during the course he was hit by the machine-gun fire and embraced Shahadat at the same post
*Havaldar Lalak Jan*
Date of martyrdom: 7 July 1999 Battle: Kargil War Regiment: 12 Northern Light Infantry
Although an appointment holder, whose task is to look after his men and provide administrative support, Havildar Lalak Jan volunteered himself to be deployed on the front positions located at the jagged peak in May 1999. Havildar Lalak Jan repulsed many aggressive ventures and imposed colossal losses on the enemy. On July 7, Havildar Lalak Jan sustained serious injuries as enemy pounded the area with heavy mortar fire. But despite being injured, he retained his position and frustrated the Indian assault. He, however, succumbed to his injuries at the same post he was defending.