Lieutenant General Nigar Johar Khan is a three-star general in the Pakistan Army. Johar is the first and only woman in the history of Pakistan Army to reach the rank of lieutenant-general, and the third to reach the rank of major-general. She belongs to the Pakistan Army Medical Corps and currently serves as the surgeon general of Pakistan Army. The other two women major-generals, Shahida Badsha and Shahida Malik also belong to the Army Medical Corps.
In 2015, she was featured in an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) video honoring women in the Pakistan Armed Forces. At the time, she was the deputy commandant of the Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Rawalpindi. In the video, she says, “Pakistan is my country and I was born here. I was raised here and I think there is no match to Pakistan to anywhere in the world,” while adding, “Think of all the Muslim countries, think of all those developing nations. This is the only country which has had female general officers. No one else,” she added.
Johar was born in Panjpir village in the Swabi District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to a Pashtun family. Her father, Qadir, was an army colonel who served in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Both her parents died in a car accident in around 1990. Her uncle, Mohammad Aamir, is a retired army major who also worked for the ISI.
Johar completed her schooling through the Presentation Convent Girls High School, Rawalpindi in 1978. She joined the Army Medical College (AMC) in 1981, graduating in 1985. She is from the 5th MBBS course of the Army Medical College and has served as a female company commander of Ayesha Company at the same college. In 2010, she completed the examination for membership of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan. In 2012, she completed her diploma in Advance Medical Administration through the Armed Forces Post Graduate Medical Institute and in 2015 received a Master of Public Health degree from the same institute.
- Lieutenant General Nigar Johar Khan
On June 30th, 2020 she was promoted to Lieutenant General and appointed as Surgeon General of Pakistan Army. In 2015, she was the deputy commandant of the Combined Military Hospital Rawalpindi. On 9 Feb 2017, Johar was among the 37 brigadiers who were promoted to the rank of major general. Approval for her promotions was given at an Army Selection Board meeting which was presided over by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. She served as Vice Principal of Army Medical College. Currently she is Surgeon General of Pakistan Army. She also served as the commandant of Pak-Emirates Military Hospital, Rawalpindi.
Nigar has an illustrious career in the Army Medical Corps spanning almost three decades with a rich and diverse experience in management and leadership appointments in the armed forces. She holds Membership of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (MCPS) degree in family medicine, MSc in Advance Administration and a Masters’ Degree in Public Health in addition to multiple courses. She is also the national instructor of Hospital Preparedness for emergencies.
Pakistan army’s decision of her promotion is also significant in the light of increasing number of female officers in the army and provision of equal opportunities to them ensuring gender equality.
Female officers are also seen serving in the United Nations Missions abroad.
Currently, there are 30 Pakistani female officers serving in two such teams, and yet another team was to be deployed in Congo by June 20.
Over the years, Pakistan has contributed to the UN’s peacekeeping operations with over 200,000 troops in 46 missions across 28 countries.
At least 157 Pakistani service members have also been killed during these operations but Islamabad remains committed to helping the UN in building peace and restoring stability in turbulent regions.
Globally, at least 3,900 peacekeepers from different UN member nations have lost their lives while serving in different conflict zones across the world since 1948.
While Pakistan’s peacekeeping role, particularly in Africa and the Balkans, remains rather well known, the female peacekeepers the country has deployed have received rather less attention. Indeed the role of women is often glossed over even though they are understood to be vital contributors in any peacekeeping activity.