The story of Major General Nigar Johar Khan is astounding and inspirational.
She was born in a small Pakistani village and raised in a loving family. At 24, she lost her parents and two sisters in a car accident. Much later, she experienced another tragedy - losing her husband, who died of cancer.
Despite these hardships, Nigar Johar Khan maintained a positive outlook on life. Rather than succumbing to victimhood, she emerged as the most influential woman in the Pakistan Army, bringing about positive changes in countless lives.
Read our article to see what life lessons and worldviews empowered Nigar Johar Khan to navigate through these trials and achieve remarkable heights gracefully.
Becoming Nigar Johar Khan: Following Father's Footsteps
Lieutenant General Nigar Johar Khan was born on September 30, 1965, in Panjpeer, a small village in the Swabi District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.
Her father, Qadir, served as an army colonel, so her parents instilled in her the values of hard work, dedication, and patriotism.
Nigar Johar Khan was an exceptional student and displayed outstanding academic abilities. Her passion for learning and desire to positively impact her country led her to pursue a career in the military.
She enrolled in the prestigious Army Public School in Rawalpindi to further her education and fulfil her aspirations. The school provided a solid foundation for her future endeavours and laid the groundwork for her eventual entry into the Pakistan Army.
Inspired by the noble mission of serving her country, Nigar Johar Khan decided to join the armed forces. She underwent rigorous training and education at the Army Medical College in Rawalpindi, where she developed her medical skills and acquired the knowledge necessary to embark on a successful military career.
Her time at the Army Medical College shaped her character, instilling discipline, resilience, and a deep sense of duty. Nigar Johar Khan excelled academically and demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities during her training, setting the stage for her future achievements in the military.
After completing her training, Nigar Johar Khan was commissioned into the Pakistan Army's Medical Corps. This marked the beginning of her journey as a military officer, where she would go on to break barriers and make history.
Her early life and education provided her with a strong academic and moral foundation and prepared her to face the challenges and opportunities ahead. Nigar Johar Khan's determination, coupled with her passion for service and continuous learning, would guide her throughout her remarkable career in the military.
Test of Strength
Tragically, in 1989, both Nigar Johar's parents and her two younger sisters died in a car accident.
It's respectable, the dignity with which she handled this tragedy.
"I lost my parents in a car accident when I was young. I could not have reached where I am today if it wasn't for my parents, who taught me about the power of positive thinking and its achievement and beauty.
This pushed me to work in such a way that no stone was left unturned to achieve my desired goal. I have always had very strong willpower," - she revealed during a conversation with Hilal.
In 2019, fate once again put Nigar's courage to the test. Her husband, Johar, who worked as an engineer in the army, tragically passed away from cancer.
Embracing a Higher Calling
After completing her education and training at the Army Medical College, Rawalpindi, Lieutenant General Nigar Johar Khan was commissioned into the Pakistan Army's Medical Corps. Her commissioning marked a significant milestone in her journey, as she officially became a part of the esteemed military institution and embarked on a career dedicated to serving her country.
Joining the Medical Corps, Nigar Johar Khan's expertise in gynaecology and obstetrics would ensure the health and well-being of military personnel and their families. Her role as a medical officer involved providing medical care, support, and expertise in various military healthcare settings.
Commissioned officers in the Pakistan Army undergo extensive training to develop their leadership abilities, discipline, and tactical skills. Nigar Johar Khan's commissioning marked the beginning of her professional growth within the military hierarchy, as she embraced the responsibilities and challenges of her new role.
Nigar Johar Khan's commissioning in the army was not only a personal achievement but also a breakthrough for women in the military. By entering the traditionally male-dominated armed forces domain, she broke gender barriers and became a trailblazer for future generations of female officers. Her commissioning paved the way for increased inclusivity and diversity within the military, promoting the idea that women can excel in any field.
Inside Pakistan Army's Medical Corps
Lieutenant General Nigar Johar Khan's medical career within the Pakistan Army's Medical Corps was marked by dedication, expertise, and a commitment to providing quality healthcare to military personnel and their families.
Her specialization in gynaecology and obstetrics played a crucial role in addressing the unique healthcare needs of women in the armed forces.
After her commissioning, Nigar Johar Khan focused on further enhancing her medical skills and knowledge.
She embarked on a path of specialization, choosing to specialize in gynaecology and obstetrics. This decision allowed her to develop a deep understanding of women's health issues and provide specialized care to female military personnel.
As a gynaecologist, Lieutenant General Nigar Johar Khan was pivotal in promoting women's health and well-being within the military community. She provided comprehensive reproductive healthcare, including prenatal and postnatal care, family planning, and gynaecological examinations. Her expertise in these areas ensured that women in the armed forces received the necessary medical attention and support throughout their lives.
One of the significant contributions of Nigar Johar Khan's medical career was her dedication to improving healthcare facilities for female military personnel. She worked diligently to ensure women had access to state-of-the-art medical facilities, advanced diagnostic tools, and specialized treatments. Her efforts aimed to bridge gaps in healthcare services and provide equal opportunities for both male and female personnel.
Leaving a Mark on History
In June 2020 Nigar Johar became the first female officer in the history of the Pakistan Army to reach the three-star rank.
Nigar Johar was represented by well-known Pakistani actress Mahira Khan in the film "Aik Hai Nigar," which traced her life's development.
The movie had its ARY Digital premiere on October 23, 2021, under the direction of Adnan Sarwar. The film won a significant prize at the Septimius Awards in Amsterdam, Netherlands, for its outstanding depiction of Nigar Johar's motivational story.
Life Lessons from a Female Three-Star General: 10 Inspiring Quotes by Nigar Johar
1 "I have always believed in the power of positivity and hard work. There is nothing for man but what he strives for. It is hard work coupled with sincerity of cause and a positive attitude that does the magic. Staying positive and helping others in need has always made me happy and kept me going in difficult times."
2 "I am a testimony of Merit in my country and the open-mindedness of society towards women. All that is required is a passion to work, and dreams to follow. And if you work then gender does not create any hurdle in your way."
3 "I feel that my destiny turned out to be better than what I had planned for myself,"
4 "If you know your job and work hard with clear direction and sincerity, there is no reason why you would be left behind"
5 "The army system is merit-based. This is also exemplified by my presence here."
6 "It is truly amazing how a person can achieve so much with just a pinch of positivity and a strong 'can-do' attitude".
7 "The health of families and nations is linked with the health of women, which is linked with women's education. We need to address the root causes and educate our women".
8 "An empowered woman needs to empower other women"
9 "Educate yourself today to avoid being left behind tomorrow".
10 "To successfully walk the tightrope between professional and personal life, you must understand life's priorities. A successful woman knows how to maintain a balance between her work and home".