With an olive green head scarf poking out from her helmet, Flight Lieutenant Ayesha Farooq flashes a cheeky grin whenever she is asked how does it feel to be the first fighter pilot of Pakistan. As light as she may sound, she is proudly the first combat-ready female fighter pilot of Pakistan.
Ayesha Farooq's father passed away when she was just 3 years old. And it was her mother who has supported her all the way uptill now. “My mother raised me to be strong, to a point that if one day, I was left alone, I would be able to take care of myself,” Ayesha Farooq says with a determination on his face.
Her slim frame offers a study in contrast with her burly male colleagues. She now fly missions in a Chinese-made F7PG fighter jet alongside her 24 male colleagues in Squadron 20. While it didn't start out the perfect way being a woman, today her male colleagues treat her like one of them.
When reporters interested in her story inquire about their "female colleague," it surprises the male pilots. "They ask, 'lady? What lady? She’s just an officer, like all of us." 'It feels just like other male pilots,' she says. We do the same activities and same precision bombing.
That perhaps is her biggest success in the most complicated society when it comes to women.
Pakistan is proud of her, hopefully she will become a motivation for so many other women in the country and hopefully we will give her the recognition she deserves.
She promises to defend 'the best country in the world' with all she has, she promises to give her life if needed because that's what her late father would have wanted. I wan't to make him proud, she says, with the same usual determination on his face.