By Muhammad Sadaqat
ABBOTABAD: Ammara Aamir Khattak who has taken over as the deputy commissioner (DC) of the garrisoned city of Abbottabad is the first woman to step into this role.
Previously, Khattak served as the Hazara additional commissioner.
Local women, especially from civil society organisations, have high hopes for the 37-year-old DC who was strong and brave enough to take the appointment in a trouble-prone district, once ruled by Major James Abbott.
“The provincial government should be appreciated for its openness and faith in women,” Faiza Bibi, a social activist, said.
Saeeda Yasmin, a government schoolteacher also expressed the same views. “Women workers will certainly feel more at ease approaching a woman for their day-to-day problems,” she said. “Let us hope the problems relating to women are now dealt in a more effective and efficient manner.”
Yasmin also said Khattak’s appointment as DC will inspire other women in Hazara to succeed and pursue their dreams.
Not for equality?
Men seemed to have a different viewpoint regarding the elevation of Khattak’s status as DC.
Hazara Qaumi Mahaz Chairman and former Abbottabad District Bar Association president Advocate Qazi Muhammad Azhar told The Express Tribune since Abbottabad, a division headquarter, was a sensitive station, the person appointed as DC needed to be “a strong candidate”.
He said someone who could enjoy administrative powers, possibly a man, should have been appointed. Azhar said since Khattak had served as AC earlier, her expertise was confined to court and not administrative work. “Her appointment as DC, therefore, hardly serves any purpose,” he added.
“Abbottabad district is very important and sensitive where a single political issue changes the scenario of law and order, so none other than a male DC could handle such a laborious task,” Azhar said, adding, the provincial government should review its decision.
According to official sources privy to Khattak’s career, despite belonging to the Khattak tribe, the DC’s family had been settled in Lahore for several years.
After her early education in Lahore, Khattak graduated from Punjab University with an LLB degree and started practice as a lawyer. She qualified for CCP and joined the 34th Common Training Programme of District Management Group officers.
After she completed her training as DMG officer, she started her career as administrative officer in 2006.
Khattak served as deputy district officer in Lahore and Hyderabad. She was then made K-P deputy secretary regulations and director of relief operations for a disaster management authority. A few months ago, she was transferred to Hazara as additional commissioner.