In Pakistan and beyond, tasks such as firefighting and disposing bombs are widely considered a man’s job.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), however, a young woman is defying stereotypes by training to become the country’s first ever female member of the Bomb Disposal Unit (BDU).
Rafia has volunteered for the daring feat because she had never seen a Pakistani or Asian woman member of the BDU.
Rafia wants to send a message about the bravery of KP’s men and women.
“If KP’s women are so daring, [imagine] what level [of courage] male soldiers will possess,” she says.
She recalls that on the day she first joined the police, a blast had occurred near a sessions court. The explosion seven years ago was what drove her join the force and she hasn’t looked back since.
Rafia’s message to women across the country?
“A woman can turn any hardship into ease if she is willing.”
She wishes to present a positive image of her country and the police force “practically”.
For Rafia, it would be a matter of pride for her family if she were to sacrifice her life for the country while tackling explosives to save people’s lives
“My country is my home… the Pakistani nation is my family.”