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29-year-old becomes first Pakistani woman to join Bomb Disposal Unit

Peshawar: A 29-year-old woman from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has become the first Pakistani female to join the Bomb Disposal Unit (BDU) in the restive province that frequently witnesses terror attacks.

Rafia Qaseem Baig, who joined the police force as a constable seven years ago, will work in BDU after completing her 15-day training along with 31 other male members at Nowshera’s School of Explosive Handling, media reports said.

During her training, she will learn about the types of bombs, their identification and ways to defuse them.

Rafia, who belongs to a highly educated family, said a blast near a sessions court seven years ago motivated her to join the force.

She completed her master’s degree in International Relations. She then pursued another master’s degree in Economics and worked at International Rescue Committee where she developed a passion for law and enrolled in an LLB programme that is currently under way.

Given her academic qualifications, she was offered jobs in many companies and non-government organizations. However, she chose to join police force in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province when extremists were overtly targeting security forces.

After her appointment, she was asked to undergo training sessions in areas including Adezai, Michni and Salman Khel in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. These were the declared red zones at that time.

She spent 10 days patrolling these localities with a large number of male police personnel.

Rafia was also the only female member of an investigation team that rescued Lady Reading Hospital physician Dr Intikhab Alam 48 hours after his abduction in 2010.

She says the police force is not just a profession. It’s a passion and inspiration for those who have a spirit of devotion for the country.

More than 600 women are serving in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa police department in different capacities from junior clerk to deputy superintendent.

PTI