Sisters in Arms The Pride and Soul of Pakistan Army

Thousands of females are serving in the Pakistan Armed Forces. Standing resilient, these women have broken stereotypes by standing shoulder to shoulder with their male colleagues to ensure the safety of their nation. Pakistani women have proved yet again that they are not only brave but will withstand any threat against their motherland. Pakistan is the only Muslim country to have female officers in its military, serving in all ranks up to the rank of Major General.

In 1948, Lady Begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan, one of the leading female figures of the time, founded the All Pakistan Women's Association (APWA) to help Pakistani women and empower them in all spheres of life. The development of APWA aimed to provide Pakistan Military with medical and logistical care, which paved way for the first female batch in the Army Medical Corps. Later in 1949, she established Pakistan Army Women National Guard that conducted combat courses. She became the first GOC with the rank of an honorary Brigadier. In 2006, Pakistan’s first batch of female fighter pilots joined the combat mission command of the Pakistan Air Force. Flying Officer Marium Mukhtiar became the first female pilot to embrace Shahadat in a routine exercise in 2015. Major General Nigar Johar (Brigadier at the time), in 2015, became the first female officer to serve on a command assignment and in 2017 she became the third female Major General of Pakistan Army. 
Pakistan Military is home to numerous inspiring stories of ‘Sisters in Arms,’ who have shown dedication and made their nation proud. Captain Aroosa Saeed shares her motivation for joining service, “The inspiration to join Pakistan Army came from within. It was an inner call of the conscious to be different among similarly placed females. For me Army is not a profession or occupation, Army is a way of life and a state of mind. This service takes along the dormant qualities like courage, competence, comradeship, discipline, and patriotism. Soldiers are the pride of a nation because they sacrifice their today for future of the country. This is what made me join Pakistan Army and to serve my nation.
I thank my parents who supported my decision to persue a career in Pakistan Armed Forces.”

Captain Mobashra Anees also shares similar sentiments, “My destiny was charted out by Allah. I was placed by the Almighty among those in uniform and ended up to accomplish my ultimate passion and desire to become a Lady Officer. So all my motivations came from the Lady Officers that were serving in the military before me. I have worked with them as a civilian officer at ISPR for five years. The respect, honor and satisfaction, which one realizes after serving the nation in uniform is unmatched. The profession brings out latent qualities like bravery, heroism, comradeship, discipline, patriotism, and the list continues as different aspirants have different inspirations. For me Army is not a Job, it is a Way of Life.”

Major Shumaila says, “Pakistan Army is one of Pakistan’s most respected organizations. To be a part of such an institution is dream come true, especially for women. It is the most secure institution where a woman can serve with dignity and pride. I was inspired by Alpha, Bravo, Charlie to join the military. It was my dream to put on the graceful uniform and be a part of Pakistan Army. Allah gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream. I was inducted in the first Lady Cadet course in 2007. Since then this prestigious institution has become a part of who I am and serving my nation with best of my capabilities is what I aim for, today and in the future.”

Major Sobia Amir recalls, “Initially It was my father and brother (who is serving in Pakistan Air Force) who pushed me to join Pakistan Army. Today, I thank them that they did so. I believe that Pakistan Army is the best institution, which allows Lady Officers like myself to excel. Army promotes discipline and that is why it is a useful career choice for women specially in Pakistan. Pursuing a career as a Lady Officer has been a real joy and if I am ever given another chance to choose a career path I would not think twice before joining Pakistan Army.”

Captain Saaila Zainab shares, “Receiving Instructions Letter in Nov 2018, felt like a dream come true. The time I proved myself as 'different' in every possible way and make my mother proud. The charm and appeal of military aside, my actual motivation lays in my mother’s relentless efforts and struggles of her life. Bing a single parent she has always been an inspiration that played a vital role in all endeavors of my life. I can proudly say that my mother is the source of all my motivation, encouragement and inspiration in my life generally and to join Pakistan Armed Forces specifically.”

Major Dr. Amna Malik says, “I desired to become an Army lady doctor for as long as I can remember. Belonging to an army family, my father and brothers are my motivation to join Pakistan Army. It has always been my humble desire to serve humanity that ultimately drove my decision to join the prestigious and the best institute — Army Medical College. This sense of calling was reinforced early to me as a medical cadet when I first had the opportunity to care for and emotionally connect with patients. I think of my mentors over those years who not only taught me to become a disciplined Lady Officer but also enlightened me the art and skills to be a good doctor. For me rendering medical services for ill and injured men and women is amongst the most humbling yet rewarding experiences of my life. For this I feel extremely honored and immensely privileged to be affiliated with Pakistan Army Medical Corps.”

Opportunities for women in Pakistan to serve in uniform is no longer a dream but a growing reality. Today, Pakistan Army has ensured that Lady officers are provided with opportunities for technical training in a variety of fields as well. Women like Major General Shahida Malik, Major General Shahida Badsha, Major General Nigar Johar Khan and Major General Shehla Baqai are beacons of encouragement not just for women in Pakistan Military but also for those who want to join the military. HH

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