Fighter pilot Marium Mukhtar remembered on third death anniversary


KARACHI: The third death anniversary of Pakistan’s first female fighter pilot, Marium Mukhtiar was observed on Saturday across the country.

Born on May 18, 1992, in Karachi, Marium Mukhtiar hailed from a military family. Her father Mukhtiar Ahmed Shaikh was a retired colonel of the Pakistan Army, who inspired her to join the armed forces.

Marium, after receiving her initial education from Karachi, graduated as a fighter pilot in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in 2007 with seven other female Pakistanis who also graduated as pilot officers. On May 6, 2011, she joined the Pakistan Air Force in 132 GD Pilot course.

She was on a routine training flight with her instructor Saqib Abbasi when her jet developed a fault and crashed at Kandian area in Bhakra near Mianwali on the fateful day of November 24, 2015. Even though Marium and her co-pilot ejected before the aircraft crashed, she suffered serious injuries which proved fatal.

A PAF spokesman after the crash stated that the aircraft had developed a technical fault but the pilot managed to divert the jet away from the populated area to avoid any harm to the population.

The government of Pakistan posthumously honoured Marium Mukhtiar with Tamgha-e-Basalat (Medal of Good Conduct) on 23rd March 2016.