Nishan-e-Haider (lit. 'Mark of the Lion') (Urdu: نشان حیدر‎ abbreviated as NH), is the highest military gallantry award of Pakistan.[3][4] Nishan-e-Haider literally means "Emblem of the Lion" in the Urdu language.[5] The word "Haider" is also the epithet of Hazrat Ali, who is referred to as the 'Lion of God', a valiant warrior and leader.[6]

نشان حیدر
Awarded by State emblem of Pakistan.svg Government of Pakistan
CountryPakistan Islamic Republic of Pakistan
EligibilityMilitary personnel only
Awarded forActs of greatest heroism in circumstances of extreme danger,in the presence of the enemy on land, at sea or in the air.[1]
RibbonNishan Haider Ribbon.gif
Established16 March 1957 [2] (applied retrospectively from 1948 onwards)
First awarded16 March 1957 – Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, Captain Muhammad Sarwar, Pakistan army
Last awarded15 July 1999 – Kargil War, Havildar Lalak Jan, Pakistan army
Total awarded11 (1 Hilal-e-Kashmir)
Next (higher)None
Next (lower)Hilal-i-Jur'at

The Nishan-e-Haider can only be awarded to members of the Pakistan Armed Forces for the highest acts of extraordinary bravery in the face of the enemy in air, land or sea. Its exclusivity can be gauged by the fact that, since Pakistan's independence in 1947, it has been awarded only 11 times (now eleven, due to Hilal-e-Kashmir declared as Nishan-e-Haider).


The Nishan-e-Haider was established by the Government of Pakistan and named after Hazrat Ali on 14 August 1947,[citation needed] the year that Pakistan became a republic. It was applied retrospectively from the date of Pakistan's independence on 14 August 1947. It is Pakistan's highest award and takes precedence over all military and civil awards. Of the ten Nishan-e-Haider recipients to date, nine have been from the Army and one from the Air Force.

Although some consider it equivalent to the British Victoria Cross and the United States Medal of Honor, it is unique in that it has so far been awarded only posthumously.


The Nishan-e-Haider can be awarded to all ranks of the Armed Forces for showing feats of extraordinary courage in confronting the enemy. As a matter of practice and precedent, it has only been awarded where it has been established that the recipient acted despite high risks and was killed in the act.[7][8]


The Nishan-e-Haider is manufactured by Pakistan Mint on order of the Ministry of Defence. It is forged from captured enemy equipment and consists of 88% copper, 10% Gold and 2% zinc.


Name of the recipient Regiment Rank Battle Date of martyrdom
1 Saif Ali Janjua Hilal-e-Kashmir 5 Azad Kashmir Regiment, Pakistan Army Naik Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 26 October 1948
2 Raja Muhammad Sarwar 2/1 Punjab Regiment, Pakistan Army Captain Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 27 July 1948
3 Tufail Mohammad 16th Punjab Regiment Border Guards East Pakistan Rifles, Pakistan Army Major Indo-Pak Border skirmish 1958 7 August 1958
4 Raja Aziz Bhatti 17 Punjab Regiment, Pakistan Army Major Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 10 September 1965
5 Rashid Minhas No. 2 Fighter Conversion Unit, Pakistan Air Force Pilot Officer Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 20 August 1971
6 Muhammad Akram 4 Frontier Force Regiment, Pakistan Army Major Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 5 December 1971
7 Shabbir Sharif 6 Frontier Force Regiment, Pakistan Army Major Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 6 December 1971
8 Muhammad Hussain Janjua 20 Lancers (Armoured Corps), Pakistan Army Sowar Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 10 December 1971
9 Muhammad Mahfuz 15 Punjab Regiment, Pakistan Army Lance naik Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 17 December 1971
10 Karnal Sher Khan 27 Sindh Regiment/12 Northern Light Infantry, Pakistan Army Captain Kargil War 5 July 1999
11 Lalak Jan


  1. ^ "Honours and Awards". Archived from the original on 4 May 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  2. ^ "ODM of Pakistan: Order of the Lion".
  3. ^ "First 'Nishan-e-Haider' recipient Sawar Shaheed remembered - Lahore". The News International. 11 December 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  4. ^ "How an Indian officer helped an enemy captain win Pakistan's highest gallantry award". ThePrint. 24 July 2019. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Nishan e Haider: Detailed account of 10 heroes of Pakistan". Times of Islamabad. 7 September 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  6. ^ "ʿAlī | Muslim caliph". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Honours and Awards". Pakistan Army. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  8. ^ "Nishan e Haider holders of Pakistan Army ~ PAKISTAN DEFENCE BLOG". Retrieved 24 August 2015.

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