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Woman in running to be first top Pak general

Islamabad, Sep t.12:: Pakistan will soon have its first woman to wear the ranks of lieutenant general with retirement of the army's surgeon general in October.

Major General Shahida Badshah is the most senior among two-star major generals and is currently posted at the Army Medical College (AMC). The sitting surgeon general Leiutenant General Rehan Burney along with four other three-star generals, is due to retire in October.

Badshah took over in her current position May 10 afterpromotion to the rank of major general in 2003.

Brigadier Shahida Badshah is the first woman from Frontier in its history, who has been elevated to the coveted position of the major general. Hailing from village Ziarat Kaka Sahib in northwestern Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, which is being considered as a town of PhDs, doctors and literati, she joined the Army's medical corps as a captain after doing her degree in medicine from the Khyber Medical College Peshawar in 1977.

During her career with thearmy, she served in several military hospitals all over Pakistan including the garrison town of Rawalpindi, the home to army's General Headquarters.

Her father, late Rizwan Gul Badshah, also served Pakistan Army and retired as Major General.

Woman are now being recruited in the army, navy and air force under a new policy that took shape during former military ruler Pervez Musharraf' s government. Earlier, women's participation was confined only to the AMC.

There are women officers, flying combat aircraft in the air force and working in operational as well as command and staff position not only in the air force but also in the army and the navy.

It was only natural that the first woman general should come from the medical corps since most women officers in the armed forces were previously in the medical or nursing corps.

Pakistan also excelled in the region by appointing the first woman governor of the state bank of Pakistan, Shamshad Akhtar in 2004 and later electing the frst woman speaker of the national assembly, Fehmida Mirza in 2008.

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