Nishan-e-Haider is the highest military award of Pakistan awarded to those military men who have shown exceptional acts of bravery during a battle or when the integrity of the country was in jeopardy.
It is conferred posthumously and so far only 11 brave men have received it. Out of these ten; ten are from Pakistan Army and one is from the Air Force. Nishan-e-Haider is made from the gun metal surrendered by the enemy.
The first recipient of this highest military order was Captain Muhammad Sarwar Shaheed who laid down his life defending the country in the Kashmir war of 1948. Major Muhammad Tufail Shaheed was also awarded the Nishan-e-Haider for his heroism though not in a battlefield.
He attacked an illegally setup post at night along with his men; though fatally wounded; he continued to command his men and succeeded in driving out the enemy. Aziz Bhatti was another brave major of the Pakistan Army who embraced martyrdom during the 1965 war while resisting every move of the enemy. He was awarded Nishan-e-Haider for his exceptional valor.
Major Muhammad Akram Shaheed received Nishan-e-Haider for his courage and bravery during the 1971 war with India. He bravely commanded his men till his death. Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas is the only recipient of Nishan-e-Haider who belongs to the Air Force. During a test flight, his plane was hijacked by his Bengali instructor.
Rashid Minhas on realizing his intentions informed the control tower and interfered with the control of the planes causing it to crash. Major Shabbir Sharif Shaheed was one of the bravest majors of the Pakistan Army. His acts of valor and military acumen earned him the highest military award even the enemy acknowledged his bravery calling him “a fine soldier”.
Sawar Muhammad Hussain Shaheed was a jawan (foot soldier) in the Pakistan Army who was awarded Nishan-e-Haider for his extraordinary acts of bravery during the 1971 war. He destroyed sixteen enemy tanks before coming under direct fire of enemy’s machine guns.
Lance Naik Muhammad Mahfuz Shaheed was another recipient who was awarded Nishan-e-Haider for his heroics in the battle of 1971 between India and Pakistan. He entered the enemy bunker and destroyed it.
Nishan-e-Haider was conferred on Captain Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed for his courageous deeds during the 1999 Kargil War. Even the Indian Army acknowledged his bravery and it is said that this award was given on the recommendation of the Indian Army.
Havaldar Lalak Jan Shaheed embraced martyrdom in the line of duty during the 1999 Kargil War. He requested the authorities to deploy him on the front position from where he bravely thwarted the enemy advances. He was the last recipient of this prestigious award.