For the first time ever, 14 women from the Anti-Narcotics Force have become lady constables after undergoing a course that includes training on how to detect narcotics smuggling at airports. This will come in handy especially in the cases where women are involved.
The lady constables passed-out along with 28 other women, who were among the 433 cadets to complete the 42nd Aviation Security Course. The parade was held on Wednesday at the Aviation Security Force (ASF) Academy.
“The ASF is directly linked with the country’s economy,” said Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) managing director Nadeem Yousufzai at the passing-out parade. “If our airports are safe then our economy will grow.”
Yousufzai was present as chief guest along with ASF DG Azam Tiwana. They observed the passing-out parade as well as counter-terrorism by demonstrations performed the ASF sky marshals – which included how to combat a suicide bomber at a check post. The chief guest added that ASF troops who have been posted to difficult areas such as Skardu will receive free PIA tickets and Rs500,000 would be donated to their welfare trust.
After the parade, the ASF DG spoke to the media about terrorism threats at the airport. “After the attack at the naval base, we have increased our security,” he said. “I am fully aware and satisfied with my security strategy.” Tiwana added that since the area surrounding the airport is also under threat the ASF is coordinating with the police and rangers.
In total, 433 cadets were at the passing-out ceremony: 392 men and 42 women. The women were pumped with energy and the need to do something for the country.
Sobia Nizam, who hails from Multan is part of the first batch of women from the Anti-Narcotics Force. As the youngest member of her family, Nizam wanted to do something for the country. “I feel very enthusiastic about my new job. It has a very good system and I am glad my family can trust me,” she said.
Twenty-two-year-old Ramsha Manzoor who is a Cadet College Lahore graduate, is very excited about her new job. “I want to support my family,” she said. “I do not think that there will be any problems in my line of work. I plan to achieve all my goals at the ASF and complete my education.”
ASF security guard Iram Manzoor who is from Faisalabad claims that she joined the force because of the discipline. “I have three brothers who live abroad. Every time I went to pick or drop them off at the airport I wanted to join the ASF,” she said. “They told me it would be tough but I wanted to do it. I want to do something in life and not depend on my brothers.”
Her need to do something for the country was also a driving force to join the ASF. “This is a force and a lot of discipline is needed unlike in the police,” she said. Discussing her future with the ASF, she said that it would definitely affect her family life. “I am ready to sacrifice my future marriage and family for my ambitions,” she said.
Pre-medical graduate Sidra Razzak from Khanewal claims that she wanted to join the force after her father, a former assistant sub-instructor with the ASF, passed away. As the eldest child of the family, Razzak had to support her family as well. “There will be difficulties but I will survive because I have faith,” she said. “I plan to continue with my education as well. I am proud of the fact that now I can do something for the country.” Another graduate, Jawaria from Sahiwal, added that she joined the ASF because she wanted to become a soldier.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2011.