The participation of women in armed agencies of Pakistan isn’t a recent phenomena, what’s recent, though, is their inclusion in roles that women weren’t traditionally allowed to perform in the military. The inclusion of women in the police force in the Subcontinent. for instance, dates back to 1939 as per a report published by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, in 2010. Back then it came as a necessity when seven female constables along with a head constable were inducted to contain female participants of a farmers protest in Punjab. Due to the cultural sensitivities, the main role of women in the Police force has been mainly to deal with female miscreants.
It was during the late 1990’s that the inclusion of women in anti- terror squads was initiated, in Pakistan
According to news reports women were inducted into a specialized training program of anti-terror squads during the 90’s.
In October 2001, less than a month after 9/11, the first women-only-terrorism-squad was established in Pakistan
Around 22 female police officers along with 10 graduate officers were given training in areas such as bomb disposal and martial arts in order to combat terrorism. The combat training portion included a series of intense drills that covered areas such as hostage rescue, strategy , dealing with rape cases along with basic survival skills. The sessions carried on for a total of 90 days.
DSP Akram Jappa who was the one leading the charge in incorporating women in the ATS squad of Islamabad Police regarded them as a crucial element in the fight against terrorism in Pakistan.
“They are mothers, sisters and daughters but we need them to be commandos too,” said Jappa, at the time. “They bring a different temperament to the ATS and are very effective and committed to combating terrorism in our country” he said in an interview.
As terrorist attacks increased at an alarming rate across the nation, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police recruited its first batch of female commandos in 2014
“Commando means working at any moment in any environment and in any situation … After getting this training I can face any type of situation anywhere at any time,” said commando Gul Nisa at the time of her induction.
Initially around 35 female police officers were sent to Nowshera and were given five months of rigorous training at par with that of the Elite male squad. These female commandos were trained in the same way the male members were in order to prepare them for challenges such as the fight against militants.
Armed with assault rifles and even RPGs these brave women are well trained in order to counter the increasing threat from Taliban militants, and other terrorist threats to the country
The elite women commando unit was raised on the directions of the Inspector General of Police Mr. Nasir Khan Durrani (PSP) and inaugurated by Mr. Pervez Khattak, the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on 17th November, 2014.
The services of this unit are utilized in raids and search and strike operations carried out in urban hideouts of militants. They have been imparted complete elite training of nine months including martial arts, heavy weapon firing, hostage situation, VIP protection, close quarter battles and other combat tactics.
The first contingent of 35 women elite commandos passed out on 16th June, 2015 and they’re being badass AF ever since.
Cover image via: Getty Images