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Not the first-ever female paratroopers

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

Express Tribune

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