In 2019, Dr Nigar Johar Khan set the gold standard for women in the armed forces by securing promotion to the rank of Major General, becoming the third woman to do so in Pakistani history. On Tuesday, she broke new ground once more by becoming the first woman to hold the position of Lieutenant General and Surgeon General—making her a source of inspiration for all women across the country.

This historic move by the Pakistan Army is evidence of the meritocratic practices at play in the armed forces. The decision cements the role of women in the workplace; the head surgeon of the armed forces is a woman, which not only strengthens the position of women as a whole but can also potentially bridge the fossilised gender gap in Pakistan by setting a positive precedent.

Unwavering support offered by the army, accompanied by the efforts of the strong, independent and capable newly-promoted Lieutenant General has allowed for a glass ceiling to be broken in a country where women have to face twice the struggle to establish themselves. Her success has especially allowed women from her home district of Swabi in KPK to stand tall and proud as one of their own breaks stereotypes, demands respect and inspires positive change in Pakistan. Her career, marked with countless milestones, is proof that immense dedication and commitment is indeed recognised and fruitful.

Having set a benchmark for all those who follow, Nigar Johar Khan stays true to herself and the veracity of her position, making her one of the most accomplished individuals to take on such a demanding post. There is no doubt that she will manoeuvre through this rank effortlessly, all the while standing as a role model for the young and hopeful girls who wish to leave their mark on Pakistan as well.