The Nishan-e-Haider is the highest military award in Pakistan, given posthumously to only 10 people in the country’s history. Hazrat Ali (RA) was named ‘Haider’ by his mother, a name that means ‘lion’. The Nishan-e-Haider, thus, gets its name from this moniker and is the ‘mark of the lion’. The award was established on March 16, 1957.
The Nishan-e-Haider is given to soldiers who perform acts of great heroism in circumstances of extreme danger, or to those who demonstrate bravery of the highest order or devotion to the country in the presence of the enemy. On September 10, 1965, Major Raja Aziz Bhatti was awarded the Nishan-e-Haider for his valour as a company commander in the Burki area of the Lahore sector during the 1965 war, which marks its 50th anniversary this year. The Nishan-e-Haider was last conferred in 1999 to Havildar Lalak Jan. Twenty-year-old pilot Rashid Minhas is the youngest recipient of the award to date.
The Nishan-e-Haider medal (pictured) is manufactured by Pakistan Mint on orders by the Ministry of Defense and is forged using metal from the captured equipment of the enemy.
Credits: Hurmat Majid
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2015