Islamabad, Nov 26 (IANS) Women have “won colours” for their endeavours in the army as well as the air force, said a daily which noted that Pakistan is among the few Muslim countries in the world which employs women as fighter pilots and offers them the same training as their male counterparts.
An editorial “Death in action” in The News International on Thursday said that Flying Officer Marium Mukhtiar became Pakistan’s first female jet fighter pilot to be killed in action during a training crash on Tuesday.
Marium, the co-pilot of the aircraft, and pilot Saqib Abbasi both chose to eject in order to ensure the aircraft did not crash into a populated area.
The Pakistan Air Force has stressed that both “acted with immaculate professionalism throughout this unfortunate incident. Marium, though, became the first Pakistani female pilot to embrace martyrdom while Saqib Abbasi escaped with minor injuries”.
The daily said that the induction of women pilots into the Pakistan Air Force is relatively new with the first seven inducted in 2006. Since then, about 20 others are believed to have been recruited.
“Both in the army and the air force women have won colours for their endeavours. Pakistan is in fact among the few Muslim countries in the world which employs women as fighter pilots and offers them the same training as their male counterparts.”
“There appears to be no change in policy since the inductions began in 2006, and the coveted job of fighter pilot has been opened up to women on what we hope is a permanent basis,” said the editorial.
The daily observed that it is unusual for the PAF or any military wing to release details about training accidents.
“The fact that this time details have come forward is a welcome step. It helps create greater transparency and also honour the pilots or other service men or women who die in the line of duty,” it said.
“The PAF has chosen to honour Marium. We hope that in the future training crashes are avoided. But we also hope that if they do occur the same levels of professionalism and courage will be shown as we saw from both the pilot and co-pilot flying over Mianwali,” it added.