Matiur Rahman (military pilot)

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Matiur Rahman
Matiur Rahman
Native name মতিউর রহমান
Born (1941-10-29)29 October 1941
Dhaka, Bengal Presidency, British India (now Bangladesh)
Died 20 August 1971(1971-08-20) (aged 29)
Thatta, West Pakistan
Allegiance Pakistan (till March 1971) Bangladesh (after 1971)
Service/branch Pakistan Air Force
Years of service 1963–71 (his death)
Rank Flight Lieutenant
Unit No. 2 Squadron
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 Bangladesh Liberation War
Awards Bir Sreshtho
Spouse(s) Milly Rahman[1]

Matiur Rahman (October 29, 1941 – August 20, 1971) was a flight lieutenant in the Pakistan Air Force and a national hero of Bangladesh.

He attempted, in order to escape from Pakistan and join the Bangladesh Liberation War, to hijack a T-33 aircraft (code named "Blue Bird"[2]) being flown by Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas. He nearly reached the Indian border, but the aircraft crashed because Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas prevented the hijacking and forced plane to crash. For his supreme sacrifice for his nation and support to the state of Bangladesh, Rahman was decorated by Bangladesh with the Bir Sreshtho award, which is the highest honour given in the country.[3]


Matiur Rahman was born on 29 October 1941 in Old Dhaka Aga Sadek Road 109 in his ancestral houses "Mobarok Lodge". His father was Maulvi Abdus Samad and his mother was Syeda Khatun mobarakunnesa. Among nine brothers and two sisters, Rahman was the sixth.

His family was a solvent and middle class educated family. Matiur Rahman was very good in sport and other co-curricular activities. He developed a very good team spirit and comradeship from the very school life. He completed his primary education at Dhaka Collegiate School. After that he was admitted into PAF Public School, Sargodha in West Pakistan and there he completed his twelfth class course with distinction marks. In 1963, after completing his twelfth class course, he joined in the Pakistan Air Force Academy.[2] On 22 June, Matiur Rahman was commissioned as a General Duty Pilot and was posted at Risalpur in West Pakistan. After that he successfully completed the Jet Conversion Course in Karachi. He was appointed as a Jet Pilot in Peshawar due to his bright result in the Jet Conversion Course.[2]

He was working as a 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.[4] 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 genocide 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 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 in PAF Base Masroor in 1971.[5] He was planning to return to Bangladesh to join the Bangladesh Liberation War with a plane. On 20 August 1971, Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas was scheduled to fly with a training plane, T-33. Rahman saw Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas about to take off and so he asked to join him.[6] He attempted to hijack in midair the T-33 trainer from Karachi, Pakistan to India in order to join the Liberation movement of Bangladesh. He knocked out Rashid to that purpose.[7]

After taking the control of the plane, Rahman was flying it below the usual altitude to deceive the radar. Pakistan's version of events is that his trainee pilot, Rashid Minhas, forced the plane to crash rather than allow the hijacking to succeed.[3] In another version, Minhas struggled physically to wrest control from Rahman; each man tried to overpower the other through the mechanically linked flight controls. Some 32 miles (51 km) from the Indian border, the jet crashed near Thatta. Both men were killed.[8] Rahman's body was found near the crash site. Rahman's widow, Milly, and his two daughters were imprisoned for a month by Pakistan Air Force, and were released on September 29, 1971.[9][10]

Grave transfer

Matiur Rahman's grave

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'.[11] He was buried at the Martyred Intellectuals Graveyard, in Mirpur, Dhaka, with full military honours.[9] His original burial in a nondescript 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.[12]

Rahman with Waleed Ehsanul Karim and Momtaz (later became Bangladeshi air chief)


The Bangladesh Air Force's Air Base at Jessore is also named after him.[1] The air force also gives out a trophy named after him for best performance in the flying training.[13]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Manik, Julfikar Ali. "Year ends with a milestone for women". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 18 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Bangladesh 'war hero' goes home". BBC News. 25 June 2006. Retrieved 18 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Quddus, Farhan. "Tribute to a father". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "August 20 marks the death anniversary of Rashid Minhas". The Nation. 20 August 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "42nd Martyrdom Anniversary Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas Shaheed [Nishan-e-Hyder.] - SFP News". Retrieved 3 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. APP. "Rashid Minhas 39th death anniversary observed today". Aaj News. AAJ NEWS. Retrieved 3 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "PAF Shaheeds". PAF History. Pakistan Air Force. Retrieved 2012-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Matiur's remains received in state honour". Daily Star. June 25, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Rahman, Milly, Bir Shreshtho Matiur Smarak Grantho, Agami Prokashoni, Dhaka, 2005. pages 70–73.
  11. Abbas, Zaffar (20 April 2006). "Bengali hero's remains given back". BBC News. Retrieved 18 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Rahman, Ashiqur. "The Daily Star Web EditionVol. 5 Num 293". The Daily Star. Retrieved 3 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "President parade held at BAF Academy". The Independent. Dhaka. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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