The Pride of Pakistan is a humble attempt to pay tributes to the prodigal sons and daughters of Pakistan who brought honor to the country. Here we also aim at introducing these long forgotten heroes to our new generation.
Shukriya Khanum: First Woman Pilot
In the West and thanks to some religious bigots, Pakistan is thought to be a country of extremists where the caveman mentality prevails. The rightful place of women is thought to be the kitchen–where they spend a large part of their lives, barefoot and pregnant.
Contrary to this belief, women are quite liberated now and enjoyed freedom back in 1947 when Pakistan was born. Women have played an active role in the creation of Pakistan as well. On the 12th July, 1959, Shukriya Khanum wrote history when she was awarded the commercial pilot license (CPL) and thus became the first woman pilot of Pakistan.
Although she did not serve the PIA as a pilot, she was a ground instructor in the national carrier’s Flying Academy where she taught the future pilots the CPL ground subjects. It is not clear whether Ms. Shukriya Khanum actually flew a plane or not or maneuvered a plane as a part of the training.
Women Pilots of PIA:
In 1990, two female pilots joined PIA; they were Ms. Ayesha Rabia and Ms. Maliha Sami. Ms. Sami recorded her name in history when she became the first female ever to fly a Fokker plane from Karachi to Gawadar via Panjgur and Turbat.
On 25th January, 2006, Pakistani women pilots made history when a full female crew flew a Fokker plane from Islamabad to Multan via Lahore. Ms. Ayesha Rabia was the pilot and she was assisted by co-pilot Sadia Aziz.
Besides flying in the capacity of commercial pilots, women have also made inroads in the all men field when four women pilots joined the Pakistan Air Force as trainee fighter pilots. Saba Khan, Marium Hilal, Nadia Gul and Saira Batool graduated as fighter pilots after rigorous training.