In each moment, we find surprising developments about what women around the world can accomplish, but it’s especially surprising to find such achievements in Pakistan, where some girls are consistently denied their right to education. Is this change because of an urgent need for women in this field, or about facing a greater risk that requires the support of every potential recruit in the country?
Ayesha Farooq was born on August 24, 1987 in the city of Bahawalpur. Today, she is Pakistan’s only female fighter pilot. A remarkable achievement, Flight Lieutenant Ayesha Farooq is the first of six female fighter pilots to pass the final exams to qualify for battle. Her childhood was the biggest factor in her becoming a fighter pilot. There had never been any doubt that she would one day pilot a jet, she says.
Her father, a doctor, died when she was only three years old—an experience that had steeled her to overcome challenges as she grew up in Bahawalpur. “I was always the man of my family,” she said. “In my early childhood I developed some protective skills toward my younger sister and my mother. I was a young soldier.”
Ayesha definitely does not feel any difference among her male colleagues. “It’s not a job that people here associate with ladies, so as well as doing a job for my country, I’m changing the thoughts of people,” she said. “It’s a big responsibility but one I enjoy.” Her fellow pilots treat her as an equal, often forgetting who they are flying alongside.
She had trained herself well, physically and psychologically, so that she can do the work required of a fighter pilot. Ayesha is not worried about being alone in a jet during battle. “When I get orders I will go and fight. I want to prove myself, to show that I’m doing something for my country.” Every day, Farooq receives dozens of telephone calls from girls hoping to follow in her footsteps. Surely, it’s a great model to see in Pakistan, where there are some girls still struggling to get their education.
This article is written by Samer Tarek.