Kashmiri female pilot wants youth to aim for sky

Capt Sami Ara, the first Muslim woman pilot of Kashmir to have a commercial pilot license (CPL), wants Kashmiri youth to aim higher.

Speaking at the conclusion of a two-day career counseling conclave for girl students at the mini-secretariat here, Ara, who hails from north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, said, “Hailing from a far-flung place like Sumbal, if I can fly a plane, students here are capable of achieving better heights.”

Also known as Sami Surury, Ara said, “The students studying in government schools are as capable as those studying in private schools but they need to aim higher and remain firm till they actualise their dreams.”

Urging parents to repose trust in their children, she said, “They should not restrict their children and stop them from actualising their dreams or else their confidence will be shattered.”

Talking of her own struggles, Ara said: “Since my childhood, I wanted to do something different, something good and something big. I wanted to qualify IAS or IPS but become a pilot by chance.”

Ara received her early education from a government school in her village.

She started her career by issuing air tickets at Srinagar Airport and later become a cabin crew.

Ara received her CPL after training for three months in the southern US state of Texas in 1994 and finally started flying as a co-pilot in 2004.

Expressing her love for her hometown, she said, “I love Bandipora, I keep returning here, and will continue to do so in future to talk to and to inspire more students till the time I see scores of Sami Aras coming out of this place.”