On August 20, 1971 Minhas was getting ready to take-off in a T-33 trainer in Karachi when a Bengali pilot, Matiur Rahman forced his way into the back of the plane. The Pakistani account says that Rahman knocked out Minhas with some blunt object and tried to defect to India in order to join the liberation movement for Bangladesh.
Minhas came to and realize that the plane was headed for India. He crashed the plane just thirty miles from the border of India. For his act he was awarded the Nishan-E-Haider, becoming the youngest man to win the award, and the only member of the Pakistan Air Force to win it.
With this award he has become a national hero. The Pakistan Air Force base at Kamra has been renamed in his honor.
The treatment given to Minhas is especially interesting when noticing the treatment given to Rahman in Bangladesh. Essentially both men have been given the status of heroes in their nation and yet each side ignores the other.