KUNDIAN, Pakistan, A Pakistani female fighter pilot died Tuesday of injuries sustained while ejecting from an aircraft as it crashed in the country’s Punjab province.
Flying Officer Marium Mukhtiar and Squadron Leader Saqib Abbasi both ejected from a Pakistani Air Force FT-7PG after encountering an “in-flight emergency” during a routine training mission, a PAF statement said.
Mukhtiar was taken to a hospital where she later died. She is the first female fighter pilot in Pakistan to be killed while serving on active duty.
“Both pilots handled the emergency with professionalism and courage and tried to save the aircraft till the last minute, ensuring safety of property and the civilian population on the ground,” DAWN quoted the statement as saying.
Mukhtiar, who hailed from Karachi, was one of a handful of female fighter pilots in the PAF. In 2006, seven women graduated from the program, which had barred female candidates for 60 years.
In January 2014, a 21-year-old Mukhtiar told the BBC she joined the PAF because she “wanted to do something different” and was “motivated by the uniform and the discipline and the pomp.”
“My mother is sometimes concerned it is a male-oriented society and the job I’m doing is very different — very extraordinary — so her concern is there, and I respect her concern, but she also stands with my decision and is happy for me,” she said at the time.
By Fred Lambert