Changing Faces of Pakistan Air Force (PAF): Interfaith and Female Pilots

DESPARDES — A minority Hindu youth in a first, has made it to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) as a general duty pilot (GDP pilot).

Last year, Kainat Junaid become the first woman to have been selected for fighter pilot training in PAF.

Hailing from the impoverished Tharparkar region of Sindh, Rahul Dev is the first from his community to achieve the coveted position in the PAF.

PAF started inducting women in 2006 in a great comeback reflective of its 60s and 70s society, until the region got bogged down by Afghan war of the 80s and terrorism during 2001 thru 2016.

Some of the recent female inductees in PAF are:

Kainat, who hails from Lower Dir in Khyber PAkhtunkhwa (HP) province, not only secured the top position in PAF’s test for GDP, but has also become Pakistan’s first female fighter pilot to serve the country alongside her father.

Her father Squadron Leader Ahmed Junaid had told media upon Kainat’s selection, “I am so proud of my daughter… she is inspired by Marium Mukhtar, the first female pilot of Pakistan Air Force who sacrificed her life in the line of duty and embraced martyrdom.”

Saba Khan, Nadia Gul, Mariam Khalil, and Saira Batool: The strong squad of four ladies belong to the first ever batch of female pilots. They were among the 36 aviation cadets who received their wings after 3 and a half years of intensive training, entering into an all-male bastion of PAF.

Ayesha Farooq, 27, took part in the mission Zarb-e-Azab and bombed Taliban hideouts in North Waziristan. The selfless hero of the nation (whose call name is Fahrenheit) is a role model for millions of Pakistani girls today.

Sharista Baig is the first proud GD fighter pilot hailing from Gilgit-Baltistan.