Women in the Pakistan Armed Forces are the female officers who serve in the Pakistan Armed Forces.
Since 1947, when Pakistan was established, women have served in the Pakistani Armed Forces. They are assigned to activities involving military logistics, staff, and senior administrative offices, especially at regional and central headquarters. Women were barred from engaging in active duty combat operations in the twentieth century, while a significant number of female officers were posted in hazardous areas to support medical missions only.
Shahida Malik was the first female Major General when she was appointed to two-star rank in 2002. Major General Shahida Badshah was the second woman to be promoted.
The first batch of female cadets from the Pakistan Military Academy was commissioned on 15 April 2007 (after a six-month training period), with General Pervez Musharraf reviewing the passing out parade. In 2006, the ‘Lady Cadet Course’ was launched. There were 16 ‘Lady Cadet Course’ batches commissioned through 2020.
In 2015, Brigadier Nigar Johar became Pakistan’s first female commander in the army’s history. She was assigned a charge of a tertiary care hospital with a multidisciplinary approach. She was Pakistan’s third woman to reach the rank of major general in 2017. She is a member of the Army Medical Corps. As a Major General, she had been named Vice Principal of Army Medical College Rawalpindi. Johar became the first and only woman to earn the rank of lieutenant-general in the Pakistan Army’s history in 2020.
The first female doctor from Sindh to be commissioned in the Pakistan Army is Lieutenant Colonel Shahida Akram Bhurgri of the Pakistan Army Medical Corps.
On July 14, 2013, 24 female Pakistan Army officers, principally doctors and software engineers, finished paratroopers’ training at the Parachute Training School, becoming the first batch of women to accomplish so in the military’s history.
Since the beginning of 2019, the Pakistan Army has begun to increase the number of female officers serving in UN missions across the world. Since mid-2019, the army has been meeting the UN mandate of 15% female representation in peace missions.
The first-ever Pakistani Female Engagement team in United Nations (UN) mission throughout the world got UN medals for their service in the DRC Peacekeeping Mission on January 31, 2020. On February 3, the squad, which was subsequently augmented by another 17 female police, was dispatched to South Kivu. The UN medal is given to those who have participated in UN military and police operations.
The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) began a new combat program in 2003, inducting women into fighter pilot training. The F-7 fighter jets are piloted by women who have been trained to carry out bombing and aerial combat missions. The Pakistan Air Force Women Association is a women’s welfare group (officers’ and airmen’s spouse’s welfare) run by women in the Pakistan Air Force (PAFWA). The first Pakistani fighter pilot was Flight Lieutenant Ayesha Farooq. Marium Mukhtiar, the first female pilot in the Pakistan Air Force, died in a routine drill.
Women are allowed to serve in the Pakistan Navy in some departments such as information technology, engineering, medicine, education, logistics, and public relations. Furthermore, women are given a five-year short service commission.
As First Lady of Pakistan from 1947 to 1951, Begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan assisted in the establishment of the Pakistan Woman Naval Reserves in the Navy and was assigned as the Chief Controller. In August 1997, the Navy admitted its first female officers, who worked as pharmacists, nutritionists, public relations officers, and statisticians.