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Archive for category Pakistan Security and Defence: Enemy & Threats (Internal & External)

Distortion of History: BSNs Observe Black Day By Sajjad Shaukat

 Distortion of History: BSNs Observe Black Day

   By Sajjad Shaukat

In order to pollute the minds of the patriot people of the Baluchistan province against the federation of Pakistan, every year Baloch Sub-Nationalists (BSNs) observe March 27 as a black day on alleged annexation of Kalat state with Pakistan in 1948.

During this very day, shutter down strikes in small and far-flung areas of Balochistan and demonstrations of small attendance by exiled BSNs take place. As these hostile elements, while following the foreign agenda of the anti-Pakistan countries distort the historical facts; the Baloch must need to know the actual perspective about the accession of Kalat state with Pakistan.

No doubt, Baloch leaders and people of Balochistan played a vital role in the creation of Pakistan and ultimately succeeded under the leadership and guidance of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in achieving Pakistan as an independent state. In fact, Balochistan is an integral part of Pakistan with a history of supporting Resolution of Pakistan-1940, which envisaged the creation of a separate homeland for Muslim majority areas of the Sub-continent, as the Baloch had strongly opposed the plan of the united India.

Unfortunately, there are still been certain dissident elements which not only opposed the idea of Two Nation Theory-the fundamental ideological base for the creation of Pakistan but also left no stone unturned in polluting the minds of the innocent Baloch by distorting the history of Balochistan’s accession to Pakistan. In reality, before the independence of Pakistan, the territories which are now consolidated into the province of Balochistan did not constitute a settled province. Apart from Quetta District that was administrated under civil law, the rest of the territory was under Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR). The then government of British India constituted a special body of tribal elders known as “SHAHI JIRGA” for consultation by Assistant Governor General (AGG) on local issues relating to British Balochistan. On June 29, 1947, “SHAHI JIRGA” of the British Balochistan as the representative body of AGG along with elected members of Quetta Municipal Body unanimously passed a resolution of forming part of Pakistan. The State of Kalat had customary overlordship in the princely states of Kharan, Makran, and Lasbela. As these three states decided to join Pakistan in March 1948, the Khan of Kalat (Kok) also acceded with Pakistan on March 27, 1948. The brother of Kok Shehzada Abdul Karim of Kakat having mustered 130 tribesmen started the insurgency in 1948 which never took off the ground and the matter was brought under control.

Regretfully, Baloch Sub Nationalists (BSNs) distort the history of the accession of Kalat with Pakistan and give reference of the so-called insurgency of 1948 by the brother of Kok, whereas the document of the accession of State of Kalat with Pakistan was signed by Kok himself as the legitimate ruler of State of Kalat.

Notably, as a result of the general elections 2013, the government led by the nationalist leader Chief Minister Balochistan Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch was established in Balochistan, while on December 7, 2013; local bodies elections were largely held in a peaceful manner in the province. However, these elections proved that majority of the Baloch are loyal to the federation and do not favour separation of the Balochistan, as they have rejected the case of separatists, being projected by anti-Pakistan powers.

Even a Gallup survey of the UK official body, DFID, conducted on July 20, 212, had disclosed that the vast majority of the Baloch people oppose the idea of an independent Balochistan. This survey has also proved that some external entities have been conducting acts of sabotage in the province by backing the minority groups.

As regards the deteriorating situation in Balochistan and the missing persons, everyone knows that Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Baloch Salvation Front (BSF) and their affiliated outfits, including another group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have been fighting for secession of the province gets logistic support from American CIA, Indian RAW, and Israeli Mossad. In the past few years, these militants kidnapped and killed many innocent people and the security personnel in the province. They also massacred many persons through suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings and sectarian violence. Therefore, they are responsible for dumped bodies and extrajudicial killings in the province. On a number of occasions, these insurgent groups claimed responsibility for their subversive acts. A majority of the disappeared individuals are also in the detention centers (Farrari Camps) which are being run by foreign-assisted Baloch feudal lords (Sardars) who want to continue old system of feudalism in the province so as to maintain their status, prestige, and influence at the cost of people of the province.

It is mentionable that India, US, and Israel have been internationalizing the Balochistan issue in accordance with their secret goals. In this respect, in connivance with the Baloch separatist leaders who have taken refuge in Switzerland, Sweden, US and London, these foreign elements use media, various NGOs and human rights organizations for false propaganda against Pakistan’s security agencies in relation to extrajudicial killings, mutilated bodies, and the missing persons.

Nevertheless, during this very day, it is also of particular attention that since the government of the Balochistan province announced general pardon and protection to the Baloch militants as part of the reconciliation process, many militants and their leaders have surrendered their arms and decided to work for the development of Pakistan and the province.

Besides, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the successful military operation Zarb-e-Azb which has also been extended to Balochistan where peace has been restored. But, it is the misfortune that based in Afghanistan; external secret agencies such as CIA, RAW, and Mossad have, again, started subversive activities in Balochistan. As part of the double, game, these agencies are using the separatist elements and terrorist organizations like the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA also known as JuA), including other similar outfits in creating unrest in Balochistan, as recent terror attacks in the province has proved. Now, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project is their special target.

Taking cognizance of historical facts, the idea of observing Black Day must be denounced by all the segments of society, while the majority of the Baloch has already rejected the call for shutter down strike. But, these anti-Pakistan aims of the separatist elements also needs to be countered by our own historians, analysts and media persons by giving a true perspective of history and denouncing the hostile elements who distorting the facts in order to advance their vested interests.

These internal entities of Pakistan must point out that People of Balochistan, especially the youth are very loyal and patriotic Pakistanis who believe in unity and sovereignty of the country. They cannot be misled by elusive designs of greedy leaders who plan to observe March 27 as Black Day.

Particularly, media must proactively project the role of Baloch leaders in the creation of Pakistan and in defending the state of Pakistan. For the purpose, talk shows must be held giving a correct perspective of historical records by explaining the process of accession of State of Kalat with Pakistan and the internal rift between Kok and his brother.

Our own intellectuals must indicate that insurgency of 1948 which started by Shehzada Abdul Karim of Kakat never took off, because it was not supported by other realistic Baloch leaders, and it was based on misguided thoughts suggested by few Indian Congress leaders. The aim was to destabilize Pakistan by creating militancy in Balochistan.

Returning to our earlier discussion, last year, Baloch Sub Nationalists and Baloch Salvation Front called for a shutter down strike in Balochistan on March 27 to observe it as Black Day. Since it is the date of legal accession of State of Kalat with Pakistan, therefore, the strike call was based on negative contemplation and wicked designs to misguide the Baloch, especially the youth. In order to obtain the foreign agenda against Pakistan, these hostile elements who distort the history, want that every year, this Black Day should be observed.

 

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

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Naval Feet of 36 Nations Begin Naval Exercise “AMAN 2017” By Pakistan Army Channel

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KARACHI: Naval platforms of nine participating countries arrived here Thursday to participate in Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN 2017 organized by Pakistan Navy.

The exercise will be held from February 10-14.

Over 36 countries are participating in the exercise, which will help in enhancing interoperability with regional and extra-regional navies thereby acting as a bridge between the regions.

It will also project a positive image of Pakistan as a country contributing towards regional peace and stability, said a press released here Thursday.

Being held since 2007, AMAN 17 is 5the edition of this series of Multinational Exercises.

Upon arrival, the visiting ships were given a warm welcome by Senior Pakistan Navy Officials while catchy tunes of National Songs played by PN Band. Officials of the consulates of the respective countries also present in the reception.

Participation details; of different countries are as follows:

1. USA Navy has participated in AMAN 09, AMAN 11 with naval assets and Special Operation Forces during AMAN 07. This year, USA Navy is participating with 04 Naval ships namely USS AMELIA EARHART, USCGS MAUI, USCGSAQUIDNEK and USS TYPHOON.

2. Chinese (PLA) Navy has been an active participant in all AMAN exercises. It has participated in AMAN 07, AMAN 11 and AMAN 13 with naval assets whereas in AMAN 09 it participated with Special Operation Forces team. In AMAN 17, Chinese Navy is participating with 03 ships namely HARBIN DDG 112, HANDAN FFG 575 and DONGPHINGU AO 960 with Senior Capt. Bai Yaoping it’s Mission Commander.

3. Russian Navy is participating in this series of exercises for the very first time with 03 ships namely SEVEROMORSK, ALTAY Tugboat, and DUBNA tanker. Its Special Operations, Forces are also part of this exercise. The Russian contingent’s mission commander is Capt. Stanislav R VARIK.

4. Japanese Navy is participating for the 4th time in this series of exercises with their 02 P3C Orian aircraft led by Commander Daigo Tsubokura.

5. Australian Navy is also participating for the 4th time in this exercise with naval assets.

This year .its ship HMAS ARUNTA is arriving to participate in the exercise led by Commander Cameron Steil, Ran.

6. Indonesian Navy is participating in this series of exercises for the 2nd time. It has earlier participated in AMAN 09. Indonesian Navy ship KRI SULTAN ISKANDARMUDA is led by Commander Rio Henry Muko Yumm as its Mission Commander.

7. Turkish Navy has participated in previous exercises with their Special Operation Forces teams. Turkish Navy is taking part in the exercise for the first time with Ships. Turkish ship TCG GELIBOLU is commanded by Commander Ali Tuna Baysal.

8. Sri Lankan Navy is participating for the 2nd time with its assets. Earlier, they have participated in AMAN 13. Sri Lankan Navy Ship SLS SAMUDRA is commanded by Capt. JP Premaratne.

9. Royal British Navy has participated previously in AMAN 07, AMAN 09 and AMAN 13.This is their 4th participation in this series of exercises. HMS DARING will join the exercise this year commanded by Commander M J C Hember Mam. The Mission Commander from Royal British Navy is AVM Ed Stringer.

During this exercise, participating units will rehearse various naval operations to enhance interoperability. The aim of this multinational ship’s exercise is to display united resolve against terrorism and crimes in the maritime domain.

Courtesy & Copyrights Acknowledgement

 

 

 

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China-Pakistan Energy Corridor By Brig (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

China-Pakistan Energy Corridor

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

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Establishment of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was first proposed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Pakistan in May 2013. Li stated, Our two sides should focus on carrying out priority projects in connectivity, energy development and power generation”. At that time, Pak-China bilateral trade had reached $12 billion. The proposed project of linking Kashgar in northwest China with Gwadar Port on southwestern Arabian Sea coastline in Baluchistan was approved on July 5, 2013 during the visit of PM Nawaz Sharif to Beijing, which included construction of 200 km long tunnel. In December 2013, China committed $6.5 billion for the construction of a major nuclear power project in Karachi. In May 2014, another agreement was signed to start Orange Line metro train project in Lahore worth $1.27 billion. In November 2014, the two countries signed 19 agreements related to CPEC. In addition, Chinese firms started work on six mega power projects in Gilgit-Baltistan such as Dassu, Phandar, Bashu, Harpo, Yalbo to tackle Pakistan’s energy crisis.  

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Originally scheduled to come on September 14-16 last year, China’s President Xi Jinping’s visit was postponed in the wake of prolonged anti-government protests in Islamabad and security concerns, and the government not wanting anything untoward happening. Postponement of the visit was seen by the government as a big setback since it entailed investment of $26 billion in Pakistan. Onus of postponement was squarely put on the shoulders of those indulging in futile dharna politics. This setback was not an ordinary one when seen in the backdrop of worst ever energy crisis, economy in shambles, state corporations in decay and all economic indicators in negative – thanks to the inglorious five-year rule of PPP led coalition. Cash-strapped Pakistan struggling to finance energy projects from western donors couldn’t afford a single day delay.

Operation Zarb-e-Azb which started in mid June 2014 in North Waziristan after the brazen terror attack on Jinnah airport in Karachi and peace talks having fallen apart was put in top gear after the gruesome tragedy in Peshawar Army Public School on December 16, 2014. Its scope was spread all over the country and cooperation with Afghanistan was greatly improved. Rangers-Police intelligence based targeted operation in Karachi was also speeded up and so was Frontier Corps-Police operation in Baluchistan. These efforts were backed by National Security Policy, Counter Terrorism Policy, Joint Intelligence Directorate to coordinate efforts of 33 intelligence agencies, formation of Counter Terrorism Force at federal and provincial levels, lifting of moratorium on hanging of convicts, setting up of military courts and focussed 20-point National Action Plan, all in a bid to eliminate the scourge of terrorism.

Brilliant successes against terrorism and extremism, which raised the stature of Pak Army backed by air force very high among the international comity, helped in further enhancing the confidence of China’s leadership in Pakistan. Well aware of Indo-US encirclement plan and shifting of Ameica’s pivot to Asia-Pacific to contain China, the latter wanted an early opening into world market to become an unchallenged economic giant as well as the super power. Mindful of the under developemnt of its western province which is its soft belly and ongoing Uighur movement, China wants speedy modernisation of Xingjiang to bring it at par with eastern provinces. For the accomplishment of these dreams, China needs access to warm waters in Arabian Sea through Gwadar since this route is the shortest and the cheapest. This access was never granted to Russia. With this objective in view, President Xi Jinping undertook a visit to Islamabad and pleasantly surprised the Pakistanis by raising the level of investment from $ 26 billion to $ 45 Billion in Pakistan.

Pakistanis opened their hearts to welcome the worthy guest. During his two-day historic visit (April 20-21, 2015), President Xi signed 51 agreements/MoUs worth $28 billion, with $17 billion in pipeline spread over 15 years. His visit achieved the milestone of the groundbreaking of historic 3,000 km-long strategic China-Pakistan-Energy-Corridor (CPEC). It includes $ 18 billion worth energy projects such as coal, solar, hydroelectric power projects which will inject 10,400 MW electricity in the national grid by 2017/18, laying down fibre optic cable from Xingjiang to Rawalpindi, 1240 km long Karachi-Lahore motorway, metro and bus service in six major cities, up gradation of 1300 km long Karakorum Highway (first opened in 1978), oil/gas pipelines, commercial sea-lanes and host of other projects.

The CPEC project will include building new roads, a 1,800-km railway line and a network of oil pipelines to connect Kashgar in China’s western Xinjiang region to the seaport of Gwadar. It includes a string of energy projects, special economic zones, dry ports and other infrastructure. China is helping Pakistan in producing plutonium at Chinese built Khushab reactor and will also sell 8 submarines worth $5 billion, which will give a quantum jump to Pak Navy’s sea capability.

Gwadar, once a part of Oman before it was sold to Pakistan in 1958, is one of the least developed districts in Balochistan province. It sits strategically near the Persian Gulf and close to the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 per cent of the world’s oil passes. Work on Gwadar deep-seaport had started in 2002 with China’s investment. In 2013, management of the seaport which was in the sloppy hands of Singapore PSA International was handed over to China’s Port Holdings. It is planned to develop Gwadar into free trade zone with a modern airport on the model of Singapore or Hong Kong and a gateway to CPEC. Some analysts perceive Gwadar port turning into China’s naval base in the Indian Ocean, enabling Beijing to monitor Indian and American naval activities and thus frustrating their ambition to convert the ocean into exclusive Indian lake. Modernization of Pak Navy by China is seen as a step in that direction.

 

 

Energy-poor Pakistan certainly seems to have found a saviour in China, which has promised to stand by the country in its dark hour (parts of the country suffer power cuts for up to 18 hours a day). Jubilant President Mamnoon Hussain predicted that the economic corridor will be a “monument of the century” benefitting “billions of people” in the region. Analysts believe that the CPEC has the potential to radically alter the regional dynamics of trade, development and politics. They say the projects conceived under CPEC will ease Pakistan’s energy shortages and make a substantial difference in the long term with both generation and transmission covered. Some experts opine this initiative can bring greater cohesion in South Asia, one of the world’s least economically integrated regions. Adil Najam, Dean of the Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies, believes anything that binds the region together is “a good idea” since countries tend to focus on “zero-sum geostrategic posturing” rather than recognising the benefits of integration. MNA Ahsan Iqbal says “CPEC is a game changer for the entire region and will uplift the lives of about 3 billion people across China, Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East.

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While the CPEC may be ‘monumental’ for Pakistan, for China it is part of more ambitious plans to beef up the country’s global economic muscle. Chinese officials describe the corridor as the “flagship project” of a broader policy — “One Belt, One Road” — which seeks to physically connect China to its markets in Asia, Europe and beyond. This initiative includes the New Silk Road which will link China with Europe through Central Asia and the Maritime Silk Road to ensure a safe passage of China’s shipping through the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. China is not building the corridor as an act of charity for Pakistan. It will happily fund and build any structure that plays into this goal – whether we’re talking about roads or ports”,  says Michael Kugelman, a senior associate at the Washington DC based Woodrow Wilson Centre. Access to Indian Ocean via Gwadar will enable China’s naval warships and merchant ships to bypass Malacca Strait.    

 

 

 

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At the same time, the new silk roads are bound to intensify ongoing competition between India and China –and to a lesser extent between China and the US – to invest in and cultivate influence in the broader Central Asian region. Kugelman stated, India has long had its eyes on energy assets in Central Asia and Afghanistan, even as China has gobbled many of these up in recent years. The US has announced its own Silk Road initiative in the broader region. India is concerned about China’s huge investment in Pakistan, particularly its recent decision to fund a new batch of nuclear reactors. Pakistan plans to add four new nuclear plants by 2023, funded by China, with four more reactors in the pipeline (adding up to a total power capacity of 7,930 MW by 2030). India and other detractors of Pakistan are propagating that China is supplying nuclear technology to Pakistan in defiance of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines, which forbid nuclear transfer to Pakistan as it has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. China argues that these projects were agreed with Pakistan before it became a member of NSG in 2004.

Pakistan has remained under a dark star for a long period; it has bravely sailed past the period of trials and tribulations but at a very heavy cost. Pakistan has acted as the frontline state against the Soviets and against global terrorism and suffered enormously, but in the process it allowed China 35 free years to develop and prosper. Landmark CPEC has further cemented Pak-China relations and made them natural allies. China’s liberal investment which surpasses all foreign investments in Pakistan in the past are based on trust, confidence and convergence of interests and both are in a win-win cooperation. The all-weather, time-tested friends share common vision and seek peace and not confrontation. They have entered into a new era of geo-economic relationship and plan to boost two-way trade to $20 billion.

The Silk Road Economic Belt will not only connect and develop China and Pakistan but also the regional countries for the first time and promote peace. It has opened vista of great opportunities for Pakistan and will greatly help in poverty alleviation, overcome unemployment, remove inequities of smaller provinces and help Pakistan in becoming the next Asian tiger. Strategic economic moment for Pakistan has arrived and interesting part is that Pakistan has assumed the position of economic pivot for the whole region. This paradigm shift in circumstances is a cause of great worry for the enemies of Pakistan both within and outside. They have put their heads together to work out new strategies how to block the forward march, but time and tide is not in their favor.  

The writer is a retired Brig/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Member Executive Council PESS, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors TFP. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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PAKISTAN’S HERO :PIFFERS: CHARGE OF THE BULLS 35 FF AND SHAHADAT OF COL AKRAM RAJA

PIFFERS: CHARGE OF THE BULLS 35 FF AND SHAHADAT OF COL AKRAM RAJA – 17 DECEMBER 1971

 

 

CHARGE OF THE BULLS 35 FF AND SHAHADAT OF COL AKRAM RAJA- 17 DECEMBER 1971
 
       Dear Editor  
 
       Pakistan Army Surrendered on 16 Dec 1971 at Dacca. But the war in West Pakistan continued for another Day, Some of the Senior Officers in West Pakistan for face saving and to earn some personal gain, committed the blunder of launching units in counter attacks ill prepared in various sectors. Two glaring Examples are 8 Armed Brigade Counter Attack in BARA PIND and 35 FF Attack in the same sector. In both the cases Unit Commanders/ junior commanders were sacrificed by the incompetent Brigade/ Division and Corps Commander in Sialkot Sectors.
 
           An excellent Book has been written by Col Imtiaz Ul Haque about this battle, published by Asim welfare Society, Model Town Lahore. Col Imtiaz participated in

the attack as company commander and was wounded.  The officer has given a very detailed account of the Battle. The unit sacrificed their lives due to failure in Command and staff Planning at all levels. This is evident from the unit’s move from Chaman/ Baluchistan on 29 September 1971 to the desert in Sind. Thereafter on 4 December 1971 to Fort Abbas, then to Sialkot Sector under 1 Corps on 14 December,  on the evening of 16 December to Pindi Purbian  for counter attack on the morning of 17 Dec 1971 in Jarpal area in 1 Corps. The unit kept Shuttling between three different brigade areas from 14 December to 17 December, with no clear orders. The Commanding Officer was denied any Reconnaissanc of the objective, in Day light Hours.  Poor Staff Planning at the GHQ and Command failure at Corps/Division and Brigade level. It also raises a important question; Was this Attack really needed after Surrender at DACCA on 16 December and ceasefire between INDIA AND PAKISTAN in the Afternoon of 17 Dec 1971? Perhaps all our Generals should read and keep by their bed side “Psychology of Military Incompetence, by Norman Dixon”

 
      Col Akram Raja the Commanding officer embraced Shahdat along with  three officers, a JCO and 56 NCOs and JAWANS. The Bengali officers of the unit fought Gallantly along side their West Pakistani brethren, Lt Shahid Ullah from East Pakistan Embraced Shahdat. 
 
          The Humood Rahman Commission had recommended action against all the COMMANDERS from Corps Commander down to Brigade level but no action was taken against any one.
 
     I wish this Book had been published by the author sometime in late seventies or at least when the Author had finalized the draft and got the approval of GHQ for its publication in 1987.
 
Regards
 
Lt Col Muhammad Shahbaz Thuthaal (Retd)
17 Punjab Regt.
 
DHA- EME sector, Multan road, LAHORE.
 
PICTURES OF PIFFERS

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Pakistan’s Daughters: Pakistan Air Force Officers

 

 

 Pakistan’s Daughters: Pakistan Air Force Officers

 

 

Pakistani female fighter pilot is ‘war ready’

Ayesha Farooq, first to pass qualifying tests for combat, says she will do “same activities” as male colleagues.

Jun 2013 10:53

Ayesha Farooq said she does not feel different from her male colleagues at Mushaf base [Reuters]
Pakistan’s first war-ready female fighter pilot has said she is ready to defend her country, and sees no difference between herself and her male colleagues when it comes to “precision bombing”.

Ayesha Farooq, from Punjab province’s city of Bahawalpur, is one of 25 women who have become pilots in the Pakistan Air Force over the last decade.

Out of the 25, there are five other female fighter pilots who have yet to take the final tests to qualify for combat, news agencies said on Thursday. Non-fighter pilots fly slower aircraft, ferrying troops and equipment around the country.

“I don’t feel any different. We do the same activities, the same precision bombing,” the 26-year-old said of her male colleagues at Mushaf base in north Pakistan.

Because of terrorism and our geographical location it’s very important that we stay on our toes

– Ayesha Farooq, Pakistan’s first female fighter pilot

A growing number of women have joined Pakistan’s defence forces in recent years as attitudes towards women change.

“Because of terrorism and our geographical location it’s very important that we stay on our toes,” said Farooq, referring to Taliban fighting and a sharp rise in sectarian violence.

Deteriorating security in neighbouring Afghanistan, where US-led troops are preparing to leave by the end of next year, and an uneasy relationship with India, add to the mix.

Farooq was at loggerheads with her widowed mother seven years ago when she said she wanted to join the air force.

“In our society most girls don’t even think about doing such things as flying an aircraft,” she said.

Family pressure against the traditionally male-dominated armed forces dissuaded other women from taking the next step to become combat ready, air force officials said.

 

‘Less of a taboo’

“More and more ladies are joining [the force] now,” said Nasim Abbas, Wing Commander of Squadron 20, made up of 25 pilots, including Farooq, who fly Chinese-made F-7PG fighter jets.

Farooq, 26, told her mother she wanted to join the air force seven years ago

“It’s seen as less of a taboo. There’s been a shift in the nation’s, the society’s, way of thinking,” Abbas told Reuters news agency on the base in Punjab’s Sargodha district.

There are now about 4,000 women in Pakistan’s armed forces, largely confined to desk jobs and medical work.

But over the last decade, women have become sky marshals, defending Pakistan’s commercial liners against insurgent attacks, and a select few are serving in the elite anti-terrorist force.

Like most female soldiers in the world, Pakistani women are still banned from ground combat.

Pakistan now has 316 women in the air force compared to around 100 five years ago, Abbas said.

“In Pakistan, it’s very important to defend our front lines because of terrorism and it’s very important for everyone to be part of it,” said avionics engineer Anam Hassan, 24, as she set out for work on an F-16 fighter aircraft.

“It just took a while for the air force to accept this.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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