Ms. Mishal Zahra, | Success Stories from Mountains

Ms. Mishal Zahra, Scientific Officer (BPS-16) at the Gilgit-Baltistan Environmental Protection Agency (GB-EPA). She was born and raised in Gilgit city, and completed her intermediate education at Public School and College Jutial, Gilgit in 2015. After completing intermediate, she moved to Islamabad to pursue higher education. She was the first female in her home to move to another town for higher education. She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Fatima Jinnah Women’s University (2019) and the Islamic International University (2021), respectively, in Islamabad.
While growing up in one of the most mountainous regions in the world, she became intrigued by and passionate about environmental challenges, such as glacier melting, extreme weather events, temperature fluctuations, and climate change impacts on wildlife. This curiosity prompted her to choose Environmental Sciences as a field of study, and she got admission at Fatima Jinnah Women’s University, Rawalpindi (2015-2019), which is regarded as the best women’s educational institute in Pakistan. During her bachelor’s degree, she became involved in various projects related to her interests in environmental studies. Particularly, she had the opportunity to represent her university for a project with the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) named “GharGharAikShajar.” In this project, she along with her team distributed plant seedlings to different neighborhoods for people to plant and nurture; they also spread awareness about the importance of planting trees and their long lasting impact on the environment and the current global warming crisis. This experience further allowed her to develop her leadership skills and gave her a deeper understanding of the importance of women in leadership roles. After seeing the impacts of the “GharGharAikShajar” project, she had the opportunity to work with the MoCC again in 2018 as an intern, which polished her skills in the field of Environmental Sciences. During this internship, she learned more about the environmental crisis around the world, and particularly in Pakistan, which motivated her to expand her knowledge in this field and contribute to the improvement of this field by spreading awareness.
After completing her bachelor’s degree in 2019, she decided to pursue her master’s and gained admission to the MPhil Environmental Sciences program at the International Islamic University in Islamabad (2019-2021). In these two years, she had the opportunity to further research on the impacts of climate change on the environment, she worked and interacted with various departments on projects related to environmental issues. During her final semester, she became part of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as an intern. In addition to that, to apply her knowledge of environmental science toward the preservation of the lands, natural lakes, glaciers, and wildlife in Gilgit-Baltistan, she also began preparing for Federal Public Service Commissions (FPSC) test for the post of Scientific Officer at GB-EPA.
Her hard work, passion, perseverance, and dedication were rewarded when she qualified for the post of Scientific Officer with the highest marks in the test and interview. She became the first female gazette officer in her office, and the only female to qualify the interview out of the four posts of FPSC. She also have the privilege of being the youngest officer in her department. She feels honored to be part of a department that works for the conservation of the environment and takes practical steps to nurture the earth as it nurtures us.
As a Scientific Officer, She travels to different districts of Gilgit to spread awareness among the community and students on climate change and its impact on Gilgit-Baltistan. In addition to spreading environmental awareness on these field visits, she is able to interact with girls and impassion and inspire them to pursue higher education in STEM fields. Additionally, she is one of the leading officers for the “Plastic Free Gilgit” initiative that focuses on eliminating single-use plastic bags in GB. This initiative has been the greatest and most rewarding project for her to work on and to serve the common cause of protecting the sensitive environment of Gilgit-Baltistan. For her, the interaction with community on field visits has always been fascinating to understand the real issues, especially issues for the women in the farthest areas of this region. In the long run, she aspires to utilize her role as a Scientific Officer toward solving some of these issues and contribute positively toward the community and environment.
Her journey and achievements are a true testament to the fact that women can break the glass ceiling and make a name for themselves in any field they choose. She has always dreamed of working for women empowerment in the region, and now she intends to inspire every girl out there to be self-reliant, independent, to have positive self-esteem, and to have the confidence to face any difficult situation with dignity and grace.
“My success is dedicated to my Family and this region”, Mishal

About admin


Check Also

GBDMA hosts provincial Stakeholders’ Workshop to review progress under GLOF-II Project

Gilgit: The Gilgit-Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA) in collaboration with the GLOF-II Project, organized a one-day Provincial Level Stakeholders’ Communication ...