Tue, Jan 02, 2018 - Page 13 News List

Pakistani girls dream of leading the military

Established in a deeply conservative part of the Islamic republic, the Girls’ Cadet College is an exception to its usually male-only counterparts

AFP, Mardan, Pakistan

“I want these girls to avail their brilliance and fight injustices in society, and this is possible if they get a standard education,” he says, adding that plans are to induct a second batch of 80 girls from all over Pakistan by March next year.

For about US$540 each three-term semester, his students get room and board along with access to computers and the Internet, a luxury for some Pakistani schools.

It is a “game changer” in a region where religious conservative norms see many women keep some form of purdah — confined to women’s-only quarters at home — and “could only dream of coming out of their houses in the past,” says college vice principal Shama Javed.

Durkhanay and her classmates are confident the college will give them a fighting chance in Pakistan.

Affifa Alam, who wants to follow Farooq’s path and become an air force pilot, said the college represents a “big change.” “This will help us (in) realizing the dream of women’s empowerment,” she said.

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