Defusing bombs, defying stereotypes: KP woman to become first female BDU member


PESHAWAR: A brave constable of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Rafia Qaseem, made history by becoming Pakistan’s first ever female member of bomb disposal unit (BDU) to do something widely considered as a man’s job.

Rafia, 21, joined police force as a constable in 2009, and would now work in BDU after completing her 15 day training. She is currently taking her classes regularly at School of Explosive Handling in Nowshera district, along with 30 other male trainees. She said she wanted to send a message to the world about the bravery of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s men and women.

She said she was not afraid of becoming a part of this squad. “It will be a matter of pride for me and my family if I sacrifice my life for the country while tackling explosives to save people’s lives,” she said.

Hailing from Peshawar, Rafia said she was very happy to be the first woman who volunteered to be part of the unit. She said she had not seen a woman in BDU in Pakistan. Well qualified Rafia who has done masters in Economics and International Relations is now doing LLB from the University of Peshawar. She wishes to appear in the competitive examinations.

If KP’s women are so daring, imagine what level of courage male soldiers possess,” she explained. “I would say that my country is my home. Pakistani nation is my family,” she added.

Recalling her memories, she said she took the job as a challenge. A suicide attack occurred the day she appeared in test for recruitment as a constable.

She remained in Matani, a place near Peshawar that was under attack by militants for years, for a number of days when an operation was being carried out there against militants.

She wished to present a positive image of her country and the police force particularly.  Rafia averred well reputed international organisations and other institutions had offered her lucrative jobs, but she did not accept these because she loves her uniform.

She got fame after signing a national song “Hamara Parcham , Yeh Payara Parcham” at a Yaum-e-Shuhada function held at Nishtar Hall in August this year.