SRINAGAR – Kaneez Fatima has become Kashmir’s second female pilot, with the 24-year-old Muslim lady now hired in Air India after completing her training, Kashmir Life reported on September 14.
“Our family has struggled a lot to make this happen. With the active support of Fatima’s grandparents – Haji Fatima Banu and late Ghulam Rasool, their nurse mother worked hard to ensure Fatima’s pursue the career she chose for herself,” Abdul Majid, a relative of Fatima explained.
A resident of a Leh locality near the Polo Ground, Fatima’s parents got separated when she was very young. She was brought up by her mother, Shakeela Banoo, a nurse in the state-run Leh hospital.
“She lifted a huge amount of loan from a bank for the same,” Majid said. “The entire amount lifted from the bank as a loan was spent on Fatima and it will take her mother some more time to liquidate that.”
Fatima was enrolled in the local Imamia School at Leh. From the basics, she studied there till her middles. Later, her mother shifted Fatima to Srinagar where she was enrolled in the Government Higher Secondary School, Kothibagh.
Early 2013, the family got Fatima’s admission in Government Aviation Training Institute at Bhubaneswar (Orissa). Her mother spent a fortune to get her daughter trained as a pilot.
Fatima spent almost six years for training and getting equipped with the subsequent flying experience, mandatory for the job.
Fatima’s older sister, Nahida Ibrahim, 28, is an engineer who works in the field of aviation too. Ibrahim works for the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) which manufactures choppers and light aircraft.
“Like Fatima, we’re getting another Muslim woman pilot, next summer,” Majid said. “She is the daughter of my friend Ghulam Sultan, a contractor.”
With these two women pilots, Kashmir is now gradually getting a good group of women who fly the aircraft. Captain Tanvi Raina, Ayesha Aziz and Iram Habib are the recent entrants to the exclusive high-flying club.
According to a 2015 Pakistani estimate, the total population of Kashmir was about 16 million people where over 95% of which are Muslims.