Monday, September 29, 2014

Shaheed Bir Sreshto Matiur Rahman (February 21, 1945 in Dhaka - August 20, 1971)

Shaheed M. Matiur Rahman (February 21, 1945 in Dhaka - August 20, 1971) was a Flight Lieutenant in the Pakistan Air Force when the Liberation War broke out. His date of birth is sometimes mentioned as 29 November 1941.
Shaheed Bir Sreshto Matiur Rahman


For his attempt to defect from the Pakistan Air Force, he was decorated with the Bir Sreshtho award by Bangladesh which is the highest honor given. The Bangladesh Air Force's Air Base at Jessore is also named for him. This same base is home to the air force academy of Bangladesh.

He had received his primary education at Dhaka Collegiate School. Next he was admitted into PAF Public School, Sargodha in West Pakistan. After completing his twelfth class course there he entered Pakistan Air Force Academy. He was commissioned in June 1963 and was posted at Risalpur, West Pakistan. He successfully completed the Jet Conversion Course in Karachi before he was appointed a Jet Pilot in Peshawar.

On August 20, 1971 he attempted to steal a T-33 trainer from Karachi, Pakistan to India in order to defect from the Pakistan Air Force and join the liberation movement of Bangladesh. The T-33 aircraft was code-named 'Bluebird'. However, Matiur Rahman could not take the plane out of Pakistani territory, as reportedly, the other pilot Rashid Minhas in the plane forced it to crash. The plane crashed in Thatta, a place near the Indian border. His body, which was found near the crash site was reportedly buried at the graveyard of fourth class employees at Masroor Air Base, Pakistan.

After over 30 years of negotiations, his body was finally returned to Bangladesh for a ceremonial and highly symbolic reburial in 2006 (see below). His original burial in a nondescript grave in Pakistan had been a sore point between Bangladesh and Pakistan for decades.

Matiur's widow, Milly, and his two infant daughters were imprisoned for a month by Pakistan Air Force, and were released on September 29, 1971.

The remains of Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman were returned on June 24, 2006 from Pakistan to Bangladesh. He was buried at the Martyred Intellectuals Graveyard, in Mirpur, Dhaka, with full military honours.

The base of Bangladesh Air Force in Jessore has been named Matiur Rahman Air Base.

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