Matiur Rahman (military pilot)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Matiur Rahman

Native name
মতিউর রহমান
Born(1941-10-29)29 October 1941
Narsingdi, Bengal, British India (now Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Died20 August 1971(1971-08-20) (aged 29)
Thatta, Sindh, Pakistan
Allegiance Pakistan (until March 1971)
 Bangladesh (from March 1971)
Service/branch Pakistan Air Force
(1963 – March 1971)
 Bangladesh Air Force
(March 1971 – 20 August 1971)
Years of service1963–1971 (his death)
Rank Flight Lieutenant
Service numberPAK-4367
UnitNo. 2 Squadron
Awards Bir Sreshtho
Spouse(s)Milly Rahman[1]

Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman BS (29 October 1941 – 20 August 1971) was a Bengali officer of the Pakistan Air Force from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) 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 West Pakistan and join the Bangladesh Liberation War in then East Pakistan by hijacking a Lockheed T-33 aircraft being flown by a 20-year-old newly commissioned 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 Minhas soon realized his intentions and fought against him through the mechanically linked controls. Minhas then released the canopy, and since he was not properly strapped in, Rahman was sucked out of the cockpit. Minhas then tried to recover the plane but it crashed since it was flying too low, killing him as well. For his support to the state of Bangladesh, Rahman was decorated by Bangladesh with the Bir Sreshtho award.[2]

Early life[edit]

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.

During the Bangladesh Liberation War[edit]

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.[3][better source needed] 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 Raipur 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 defense force with 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.


Rahman was an instructor pilot at PAF Base Masroor in 1971.[4] He was planning to defect to Bangladesh 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 jet trainer. Rahman saw Minhas about to take off and asked to join him, he jumped into the instructor seat.[5] He attempted to hijack the T-33 in midair from Karachi, Pakistan to India to join the liberation movement. Minhas sent a message to the 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 in Pakistan.[6]

Yawar A. Mazhar, a writer for Pakistan Military Consortium, relayed in 2004 that he spoke to retired PAF Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry about Minhas and that he learned more details not generally known to the public. According to Mazhar, Chaudhry led the immediate task of investigating the wreckage and writing the accident report. Chaudhry told Mazhar that he found the jet had hit the ground nose first, instantly killing Minhas in the front seat. Rahman's body, however, was not in the jet and the canopy was missing. Chaudhry searched the area and saw Rahman's body some distance behind the jet, the body found with severe abrasions from hitting the sand at a low angle and a high speed. Chaudhry thought that Minhas probably jettisoned the canopy at low altitude causing Rahman to be thrown from the cockpit because he was not strapped in. Chaudhry felt that the jet was too close to the ground at that time, too far out of control for Minhas to be able to prevent the crash. Minhas received the Nishan-e-Haider award, equivalent to the Bir Shrestho award in Pakistan for his actions in stopping the aircraft.[7]

Grave transfer[edit]

Rahman's grave in Dhaka

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'.[8] He was buried at the Martyred Intellectuals Graveyard, in Mirpur, Dhaka, with full military honours.[9] 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.[10]


  • Bangladesh Air Force Base Matiur Rahman at Jessore.[1]
  • Bangladesh Air Force also gives out a trophy for best performance in the flying training.[11]
  • Birshreshto Matiur Rahman trophy (a.k.a. Golden Pen award) 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.

Personal life and legacy[edit]

Rahman was married to Milly Rahman. Together they had a daughter, Mahim Matiur Khandaker.[12]

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 is also a Bengali film named "Ostistte Amar Desh" based on Matiur's life, directed by "Khiljir Hayat Khan". His wife "Mili Rahman" was the co-writer of this film and also acted in it.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Manik, Julfikar Ali. "Year ends with a milestone for women". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Bangladesh 'war hero' goes home". BBC News. 25 June 2006. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  3. ^ Quddus, Farhan. "Tribute to a father". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  4. ^ "August 20 marks the death anniversary of Rashid Minhas". The Nation. 20 August 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  5. ^ "42nd Martyrdom Anniversary Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas Shaheed [Nishan-e-Hyder.] – SFP News". Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Rashid Minhas 39th death anniversary observed today". AAJ News. APP. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Rashid Minhas Story".
  8. ^ Abbas, Zaffar (20 April 2006). "Bengali hero's remains given back". BBC News. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  9. ^ "Matiur's remains received in state honour". The Daily Star. 25 June 2006.
  10. ^ Rahman, Ashiqur. "Elegy for a Bir Sreshtha". The Daily Star. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  11. ^ "President parade held at BAF Academy". The Independent. Dhaka. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  12. ^ Ashiqur Rahman (24 March 2005). "Elegy for a Bir Sreshtha". The Daily Star. Retrieved 31 August 2023.