Not the first-ever female paratroopers

Published: July 23, 2013

LAHORE: It was heartening to read the story about the Pakistan Army’s 24 lady paratroopers in your esteemed newspaper dated July 15. There is no doubt that this courageous act of our brave sisters in the army is a landmark achievement in this male-dominated society and it is highly commendable that the world has been shown a softer face of our country during these odd times.

However, the matter of concern for me in this story was the use of the phrase “First-ever female paratroopers of Pakistan”. As far as my memory works (and I also cross-checked it from the media archives available on the internet), Flight Lieutenant Bisma Naseem and Flight Lieutenant Fatima Khalil of the Pakistan Air Force have the honour of being the country’s first-ever female paratroopers, after they successfully completed their paratrooper training at the PAF Academy, Rislapur, on April 17, 2006, setting a record among air force female cadets in Asia. The event was widely covered by the media with great enthusiasm.

Being a close friend of Fatima, her distinction of being the first-ever female paratrooper of not only Pakistan, but also Asia, was a moment of great pride for me. It was also a moment of great pride for her family and for the nation at large. I feel elated to know the recent achievement of the daring paratroopers of the Pakistan Army, but a few technicalities must be taken care of while keeping an accurate record of the significant events happening in the country.

I request your newspaper, as well as other media outlets, to refresh the memory of their readers and keep the record straight regarding Pakistan’s first-ever female paratroopers.

Mona Malik

Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2013.

Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (7)

  • Azra BAno
    Jul 24, 2013 - 10:04AM

    Proud of ‘Pakistani Woman’
    The high time has reached that we must come out of our cocoons of thinking. The nation need to be proud of the fact that Pakistani woman has stepped out and are making their way through for the prosperity of the country and playing a role, instead of getting into a debate who came out first. Such rifts inside give way to the outsiders to take advantage of and play with our weaknesses.The daughters of nation, may be doctors, lawyers, politicians, media persons, human activists, lawyers, teachers, mountaineers, uniformed officers, running small cottage industries, entrepreneurs, etc, are to be a part of the battle our country is fighting in this High Tech era. We need not to be divided on small issues and must try to show unity in diversity.
    I am proud of any woman in my country what to say from Armed forces but across the country from all the profession who take responsibility to be the representative of half of the total population.
    United we fight – Stronger We Would be


  • Saadi
    Jul 24, 2013 - 1:32PM

    No doubt the two CADETS of Airforce did paratrooping and became d first paratroopers of paf…i admire them but did they undergo d rough and tough training under SSG? as these army batch of paratroopers did rigorous training under the SSG and in PTS ie PARA TRAINING SCHOOL…..according to me, the training criteria of paf paratroopers is quite different frm dat of lady officers of Pak Army….im also amused dat y people become against every achievement shown by women side…well they are the first batch of female paratroopers and will remain…coz they r trained under the supervision of the Pakistan’s best paratroopers i.e from SSG


  • Saadi Malick
    Jul 24, 2013 - 1:56PM

    Yeah we r proud of PAF officers…they set an example for all…but at this moment we should appraise the these lady officers of Pakistan Army and not to get into such discussions dat has no end…discussion of paf vs pak army


  • akash
    Jul 24, 2013 - 4:32PM

    Well tumbs up for PAF paratroopers. But it is a great achievenment at the end of army lady officers to creat such an oppurtunity for them selfs going against thousands of male officers and proving their metal. No dought they are the first ever femals to under go training at para school peshawar. So they should be appreciated.


  • Haneen Fatima
    Jul 24, 2013 - 11:53PM


    “Pakistan Army: First female
    paratroopers make history” The first
    group of female paratroopers completed
    their training on Sunday, the military
    announced, hailing it as a “landmark
    achievement.” A total of 24 lady
    officers of Pakistan Army successfully
    completed the course at Parachute
    Training School, Peshawar.”


    My dear Mona Malik, with ample respect want to share my feelings after going through your letter it was very disappointing for me. As you have not only misunderstood the news, but also now creating bad image of Armed Forces internationally. As you go through the news, it says “Pakistan Army: First female paratroopers make history.” It means they are talking about Pak Army, not Pakistan or Asia. I believe that this point can not be raised by any officers from PAF, because we are sister forces.

    Its Google era, you don’t have to use your memory, its very renown that Flight Lieutenant Bisma Naseem and Flight Lieutenant Fatima Khalil of the Pakistan Air Force have the honour of becoming first paratrooper in Pakistan, and PAF. We appreciate their success from heart and soul, as they have set an example.

    They are pride for us, and every female who is in Armed Forces or any organization working for Pak prosperous and is an attitudes towards women change.

    If she is Flight Lieutenant Ambreen Gul or Flight Lieutenant Ayesha Farooq PAF First Female Fighter Pilot, they are pride for complete nation and our Army and Navy too. Military feel proud seeing them in combat, R&D, Engg Branch or doing adventure courses like para motoring, or gliding and the laurels they are getting.

    But once Army doing it people like you rather appreciating creating quarrel among each other. Not Good… Pls stop comparing the Armed Forces with each other, it does not only give chance to other foreign forces but creating bad competition among each other. This courageous step of Pak Army female officer sets an example for their juniors in Pak Army.

    This is the beginning of equal participation of Pakistani men and women. The entire nation is proud of daughters of Pakistan, working in any field. Small step but a giant leap….

    Allah may pls save us. from evil forces and give sense of appreciation to all.


    Remember, together we stand, divided we fall.


    Long Live Pak, long live Pak Armed Forces.


  • Assad
    Jul 25, 2013 - 1:32AM

    Ms Mona Malik has point about the PAF ladies being first. The Para training provided to the PAF cadets is under the supervision of Special Service Wing (SSW) which is the equal of Pakistan Army and Navy’s respective Special Service Groups (SSG). All three of these are special forces and have highly trained and airborne capable troops and their para training courses are just as tough. However readers need to be mindful that the airborne course taken by non-SSW/SSG officers and men is different from that undertaken by the Special Service Commandos. The latter are put through a much more rigorous training regimen and have to do more day/night jumps to get their wings.

    However details aside, all of their accomplishments should be lauded. These ladies are the best of Pakistan and I hope that many more follow the trail that they have blazed!


  • Hania Fatima
    Jul 25, 2013 - 9:54AM


    Laurels to all of us, either Army, Paf, Navy or any lady working in any respective field. My point of concern is why are we going in this debate who is first or second. Just like our Lollywood.

    Pl reader and all who have this ambiguity, clear this thing we are what we are presenting.
    After reading letter of Mona Malik, we are showing this external forces that how narrow minded we are. As our Army never claimed to make their officers first or second.
    It’s quite clear from the news, that:

    Pakistan Army first female paratroopers make history.
    It means in Pak Army, not Pak or Asia.

    I just wish our women were not lacking behind in other fields as well. We feel proud to see Flt lt Ayesha Farooq or all fighter pilots, because its one Pakistan representation not Paf or Army. We are proud they do paragliding, para motoring same as Army female officer do.

    Stop giving chance to our evil forces to make fun about us.

    Anyhow, you people are very disappointing for others, as creating competition among SISTER FORCES. Pl relax and think big.

    Be proud Pakistani, rather think in isolation.


More in Letters