Pakistans first ever female fighter Pilot

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Cii Radio| Sabera Sheik Essop| 18 October 2016| 16 Muharram 1438

Ayesha Farooq, Pakistan’s first ever female fighter pilot, is ready for combat. The 26-year-old from Punjab province’s historic city of Bahawalpur is one of only 19 women to become a pilot in the Pakistan Air Force in the last decade, and is the first of five other female fighter pilots to qualify for battle. Here, Farooq, who wears a green headscarf underneath her helmet, climbs aboard a Chinese-made F-7PG fighter jet at Mushaf base in Sargodha, north Pakistan.

As attitudes towards women change in Pakistan, more and more women like Ayesha Farooq have joined Pakistan’s defense forces. Here, Farooq sits in the cockpit of her fighter jet at the Mushaf base in Sargodha, north Pakistan on June 6, 2013.

Ayesha Farooq is just one of the guys as she walks with her colleagues at the military air base. “I don’t feel any different,” she said in an interview with Reuters, about being the only woman on the job. “We do the same activities, the same precision bombing.”

Here, Ayesha Farooq attends a briefing with colleagues. “More and more ladies are joining now,” said Nasim Abbas, Wing Commander of Squadron 20, made up of 25 pilots, including Farooq, who fly Chinese-made F-7PG fighter jets. “It’s seen as less of a taboo. There’s been a shift in the nation’s, the society’s, way of thinking.”

Farooq told her widowed and uneducated mother seven years ago that she wanted to join the air force. Today, she is the country’s only female fighter pilot.

“In our society most girls don’t even think about doing such things as flying an aircraft,” Ayesha Farooq, who watches a jet about to take off, said. However, more women are becoming aware of their rights and signing up with the air force

Thumbs up for female fighter pilots! Farooq, 26, dons her fighter helmet and is prepared to take flight at the Mushaf base in Sargodha, north Pakistan.

While Farooq may be the only female fighter pilot in Pakistan, the country now has 316 women in the air force compared to around 100 five years ago. “In Pakistan, it’s very important to defend our front lines because of terrorism and it’s very important for everyone to be part of it,” said avionics engineer Anam Hassan, 24, a fellow female in the Pakistani Air Force.

Shoppers who see Ayesha Farooq in the supermarket donning traditional garb and a headscarf might never know that she is Pakistan’s only female fighter pilot.

Source : nydailynews