ISLAMABAD: Flying Officer Marium Mukhtiar became the first lady pilot of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) to die on a mission when the training aircraft she was flying with her instructor crashed near Mianwali on Tuesday.
Twenty-four-year-old Marium embraced shahadat (martyrdom) while her instructor, Squadron Leader Saqib Abbasi, sustained minor injuries, according to a statement issued by the PAF.
Flying Officer Marium and Squadron Leader Saqib had been flying an FT-7PG aircraft on a routine training mission, it said, adding that the aircraft encountered a serious in-flight emergency during the final stages of the mission.
“Both pilots handled the serious emergency with professionalism and courage, and tried to save the ill-fated aircraft till the very last minute,” a PAF spokesman said. “Ensuring the safety of life and property of the civilian population on the ground, both pilots ejected the aircraft which crashed near Kundian, Mianwali.”
“Flying Officer Marium embraced shahadat and became the first lady pilot of the PAF to attain this great honour,” the statement added.
Following Marium’s death, army chief General Raheel Sharif expressed his condolences with her bereaved family and paid “rich tribute to her valour and sacrifice.” In his condolence message, Gen Raheel called Flying Officer Marium a “role model for women and the pride of Pakistan.”
Marium was one of the few female PAF officers who joined one of the country’s most exclusive male clubs after graduating as a fighter pilot.
The PAF started inducting women pilots in 2006.