Daughter of Soil – Marium Mukhtiar TBt, Shaheed

Marium Mukhtiar Shaheed

Tamgha-i-Basalat

Our aim is to pay honor to all military personnel and civilians, from every walk of life and from every time period in the History of Pakistan.  These are the brave men and women that have sacrificed for our freedom since 1947 and they deserve our respect. Here you will find tribute for Gallantry Awards Recipients, Prisoners of War, as well as the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Personnel from Civil Armed Forces and members of Civil Society that nobody has ever heard of…they all performed honorable service to this nation, and many of them sacrificed their life to safeguard our freedom.

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” -John Stuart Mill

Flying Officer Marium Mukhtiar TBt, (May 18, 1992 – November 24, 2015) was a Pakistani fighter pilot. She died after a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) FT-7PG aircraft crashed near Kundian in Mianwali District in the northwest of Punjab, Pakistan on November 24, 2015. She is the first female combat pilot of Pakistan who went down on duty.

“No one can defeat a nation that has daughters like Marium,” said Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman on Marium’s martyrdom. Marium Mukhtiar was born on May 18, 1992 in Karachi and she was the second eldest among her two siblings – a brother and a sister. She was the daughter of Col. (R) Mukhtiar Ahmed Shaikh and brought up in a sacred environment where passion for martyrdom always prevailed. After graduating in Civil Engineering from NED Karachi, she expressed her wish to join Air Force as GD Pilot. Her father knew the hard work involved in joining and serving the armed forces and knew it would not be easy. Marium was resilient and passionate so she refused to back down because she wanted to rule the skies. 

Marium Mukhtiar Shaikh was the daughter of Col. (Ret’d.) Dr. Mukhtiar Ahmed Shaikh, AMC, and her ancestors were from Pano Akil, Sindh, from a well-known Sindhi Shaikh family. She completed her intermediate from Army Public School and College (APSACS) Malir Cantt Karachi and played football for Balochistan United in the National Women Football Championship. Marium Mukhtiar graduated as a fighter pilot in the Pakistan Air Force in 2014, along with six other women in 132 GD course. She also took active participation in charity work. She was supporting a school for poor children who were unable to afford education.

On Tuesday 24 November 2015, Mariam Mukhtiar Shaikh and Squadron leader Saqib Abbasi were on their routine operational training mission when their plane FT-7PG crashed near Kundian, Punjab. Both occupants ejected from the cockpit and the plane crash-landed Abbasi suffered minor injuries in the accident, however Mukhtiar died of her injuries in a military hospital. Marium Mukhtiar ejected along with her co-pilot, but at too low an altitude, an air force spokesman said. She was losing height so when she ejected, she did not have appropriate height that is necessary for ejection,” the spokesman said. Her co-pilot, Squadron Leader Saqib Abbasi, survived with minor injuries, possibly because he managed to eject seconds earlier. Mukhtiar’s death was declared a martyrdom (or “shahadat”) by the PAF, which said both pilots “handled the serious emergency with professionalism and courage and tried to save the ill-fated aircraft until the very last minute. Flying Officer Mukhtiar could save her life had she ejected herself before taking PAF FT-7PG out of populous area but both pilots decided to take risk to keep flying the downing jet for taking the jet out of the densely populated area, especially saving a school. The delay in ejection caused martyrdom of Marium Mukhtar, said PAF experienced and retired officers.

She is buried in Malir Cantonment Graveyard.

Read Also: Gallant – Lieutenant Colonel Haroon Islam Shaheed

The Pakistan Senate Standing Committee on Defence (SSCD) recommended Marium Mukhtiar for a state award. She has been awarded with the military award Tamgha-e-Basalat by the Government of Pakistan.

Reference: Hilal , Wikipedia

Ayesha Shakeel

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