Yesterday, Pakistani twitter appreciated a female Medical Doctor from Swabi Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, sparking curiosity in a lot of people who were previously unaware of her
Major General Nigar Johar Khan, a three-star General in the Pakistan Army, is now the first woman in the country to have reached this rank.
Hailing from Panjpeer, a village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Swabi district, Lieutenant General Nigar Johar Khan belongs to the Army Medical Corps and has progressed over the years tremendously.
While the praise for her is coming recently, she has also been the first female General Surgeon of Pakistan. In 2017, she became the third woman officer to reach the rank of Major General. The other two major generals, Shahida Badsha and Shahida Malik also belong to the Army Medical Corps
According to a DAWN report, she were among the 25 brigadiers who were promoted to the rank of major general. Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa presided the meeting of the Army Selection Board that approved her promotion.
The Inter-Services Public Relations informed about her promotion in a statement released on Tuesday:
The Lt General is a doctor, who, taking inspiration from her father, who was also an army officer, opted to go to medical school and serve in the Pakistan Army
Lieutenant General Nigar Johar Khan’s family has a well-praised record of services rendered for Pakistan. She is the daughter of Col Qadir. He served in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). She is also the niece of the retired Major Mohammad Amir who is a retired army officer who also served in the ISI as well.
Nigar Johar Khan completed her schooling from Presentation Convent Girls High School, Rawalpindi and graduated from Army Medical College in 1985. She has served as female company commander of Ayesha Company at the same college.
In 2010 she completed the examination for membership of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan. She completed her Masters in Advanced Medical Administration from Armed Forces Post Graduate Medical Institute and is also the holder of a Master’s degree in Public Health from the same institute.
According to PID, not only is she a talented doctor, but also a sharp shooter. She also has the credit of being the first ever Pakistani woman officer to be given command of a unit/hospital of the armed forces.
From losing her paresnts as a child to being first female Lt. General, she faced a lot of struggles throughout her career
Nigar comes from a small village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. She lost her parents in a car accident a long time ago but that did not stop her from achieving her dreams.
She states that life pushed her to extremes when she lost her parents as a child, and ever since, she has had to push herself. Moreover, she tells it was the teaching of her parents, who taught her to think positively and appreciate the good in everything, which actually helped her within her journey till here.
But she also does admit that it was twice as hard for her to reach her rank than it would have been for a man doing the same thing. “Gender discrimination can exist in any office and on any level of management, but that is not the problem. The problem occurs when we fail to teach our daughters and sisters to recognize that they are being discriminated.” she said in an interview. “Being a woman requires you to work at least twice as hard, but once you are recognized for your resilience and work, you are respected twice as much”
In 2015, she was featured in an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) video honoring women in the Pakistan armed forces. In the video, she says,
“Pakistan is my country and I was born here. I was raised here and I think there is no match to Pakistan to anywhere in the world,”
“Think of all the Muslim countries, think of all those developing nations. This is the only country that has had female general officers. No one else,” she added.
Nicely enough, a lot of people have approved of her promotion and status within the Pakistan Army as a deserving position.
Besides the aniticipation of being woman within the Army, Twitter has also shown support for her hardwork and dedication.
With her impressive educational background and quality skills to qualify her as a worthy individual for the position of a Lieutenant General, she has become one of the reasons Pakistan is proud.
‘Powerful message for young girls’
Congratulating the officer on her promotion, Shehbaz Sharif said that this sent a powerful message to girls and young women, “to aspire for the impossible in life”.
PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal called the achievement a “leapfrog for Pakistani women, who are contributing in all areas of national development and security”.
PPP Senator Sherry Rehman said it was “great” to see the officer being promoted as the Pakistan Army’s first lieutenant general.
The Pashtun community in Pakistan have evolved to a great extent in the past couple of years, especially in terms of holding high positions in the government and women empowerment.
Even though we have a long way to go, its people like her that are helping us advance towards a nation where women serving on high ranks becomes the norm.
She is a symbol of pride for many Pakistani women that struggle to overcome a third-world country’s patriarchy. Thank you for your service, Major General!
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