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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 June 2006, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
Bangladesh 'war hero' goes home
Flight Lieutenant M Matiur Rahman <i>(Photo from Bangladesh army website) </i>
Rahman was given the highest Bangladeshi gallantry award
A Bangladeshi war hero has been buried in the capital, Dhaka - 35 years after the country's war of independence.

The remains of Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman were returned on Saturday from Pakistan and received by the prime minister with full military honours.

Thousands gathered to pay respects to Flt Lt Rahman as he was buried in a cemetery reserved for freedom fighters.

He was killed while trying to fly away with a Pakistan air force jet just before Bangladesh's independence.

His actions won him the highest award for gallantry in Bangladesh - the Bir Sreshtha (Greatest of Heroes) medal.

Pakistan agreed to return his remains as a "goodwill gesture" in April.


Flt Lt Rahman died in August 1971 - four months before Bangladesh won its independence from Pakistan - while attempting to fly a Pakistani fighter jet from Karachi to Dhaka.

He and his co-pilot were killed when their aircraft crashed shortly before leaving what is now Pakistani airspace.

Flt Lt Rahman was later buried in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

Pakistan always maintained that his Pakistani trained co-pilot, Rashid Minhas, prevented what it calls a "hijacking" by forcing the plane to crash.

He, in turn, was immediately decorated with Pakistan's highest gallantry award, the Nishan-e-Haider, while Flt Lt Rahman was declared a traitor.

The Pakistani authorities agreed to hand over his remains following a request by the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, Khaleda Zia, during a recent visit to Islamabad.

An official delegation from Dhaka visited Pakistan this week to complete the formalities for the body to be returned.

His family members say they are very happy that Flt Lt Rahman's remains have finally come home.

The remains were taken to National Parade Square in the capital where a special prayer took place on Sunday morning.

Bangladesh - formerly known as East Pakistan - says that hundreds of thousands of people died in the struggle for independence.

Bengali hero's remains given back
20 Apr 06 |  South Asia
Timeline: Bangladesh
20 Apr 06 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Bangladesh
11 Apr 06 |  Country profiles
Independence day revives dark memory
26 Mar 06 |  South Asia

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