Defying Odds, This Muslim Girl Now Kashmir’s First Female Pilot

SRINAGAR – “A Kashmiri girl can’t don the role of a pilot”, she was told. But Iram Habib’s dream to become a commercial pilot was too  strong to brush aside, so she shared it with her parents after cracking Class 12th exams.

Although she managed to persuade her parents, it took her six years to convince them.

“Somehow, the dream to fly an aircraft was in me all through my years of education,” Habib, the daughter of a businessman, told Ummid in an interview on August 31.

The Muslim young lady completed her first degree in forestry from Dehradun and post-graduate in forestry from the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.

While Habib’s family wanted her to pursue PhD in forestry and get a government job, she kept looking for options to train as a pilot.

“I pursued PhD for one and a half years but left it and went to a US flight school,” she says. “I looked for things on my own and kept my dream alive.”

Iram completed her training from Miami in the US in 2016 and returned to Kashmir to get a commercial pilot licence, as the Muslim region’s first female pilot, but the journey wasn’t easy.

Not Easy Way

“I had to study hard and pass exams. In the US, I had 260 hours of flying experience which is important for the licence. I got a commercial pilot licence in the US and Canada on the basis of my flying hours but I wanted to work in homeland,” she explained.


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