Amidst the doom and gloom, and not to mention the constant darkness courtesy of load shedding, pervading the Pakistani atmosphere, there is always some news or the other that gives one us something to cheer about and instills a feeling of pride and belief that there is still hope for us.
Kudos to Pakistani women for their courage and resilience to overcome insurmountable odds and bring glory and fame to the nation. Although, there are many women in Pakistan who are real achievers, for the sake of brevity I shall endeavor to highlight the latest news breakers.
1. Samina Baig
Samina Baig probably feels like she’s on top of the world and rightfully so for she has just scaled the pristine heights of Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world at the young age of 21. She is the only Pakistani woman to have ever achieved this feat.
Hailing from the remote village of Gojal in Gilgit-Baltistan, Samina and her brother Mirza Ali Baig (who accompanied her on her ascent but abandoned the climb at 8600m ostensibly to allow her to complete the feat) have been mountain climbers from a young age. Samina has been scaling peaks since the age of four.
Unfortunately the government of Pakistan did not sponsor her. Instead, the New Zealand government helped in financing the expedition, although now the Alpine Club of Pakistan and the Pakistan Tourism Development Authority have honored her and recommended her for the pride of performance award.
2. Ayesha Farooq
She soars the skies, comfortable and completely at ease in the cockpit of an F-7 PG fighter aircraft as she mans the controls, weaving through Pakistan’s air corridors, ever alert and vigilant while guarding the nation’s horizons.
She is Ayesha Farooq, 26, Pakistan’s first female fighter pilot qualified to fly a fighter jet. She is among 19 women enrolled in the Pakistan Air Force, and the first of five who has qualified as a fighter pilot. The other four have yet to qualify for the final test.
This is indeed a rare feat and a major stride in women’s empowerment. Ayesha has ventured in what was exclusive a male domain but with the changing times she overcame all odds, including opposition from her own family members to be where she is now. Hats off to Flt Lt Ayesha Farooq.
3. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
She has given face to the faceless women of Pakistan who have been brutalized and scarred for life by acid throwing male tormentors. A filmmaker, producer and director, she won an academy award for jointly producing the documentary, ‘Saving Face’. The short term documentary follows the plight of women who are victims of acid attacks and shows a Pakistani plastic surgeon who has helped in reconstructing their faces.
The documentary vividly highlights the injustice and maltreatment meted out to Pakistani women, particularly in the rural areas of the country. Though there were many detractors who blamed Ms Obaid-Chinoy for shaming the country y exposing its ills, in general her noble efforts to focus on a major problem in this part of the world was duly and widely appreciated.
4. Arfa Karim
Alas, she is no more with us having lost the battle of life at the tender age of 16. Arfa Abdul Karim Randhawa can best be described as an IT genius. She was the youngest Microsoft certified professional 2004-2006 having excelled in the field of IT technology.
She won many awards in a short life such as the Fatimah Jinnah Gold Medal in the field of Science and Technology and the Salaam Pakistan youth award both in 2005, as well as the President’s Award for Pride of Performance.
She represented Pakistan in several international forums and had she lived, she surely would have brought greater honour, glory and fame for herself and Pakistan and in particular to Pakistani women. May her soul rest in peace.
5. Malala Yousufzai
She has become a beacon of hope for children’s education particularly of girls throughout the world. Malala Yusufzai is the young student activist who defied the wrath of the Taliban, chronicling their nefarious activities in her native Swat as a blogger for the BBC.
A strong advocate of female education, she and her brave friends continued their education despite the harsh edict of militants opposing their efforts. She was shot in the head by militants but miraculously survived and was sent to England for treatment. She has since become a global icon and the pride and hope of women’s education. She may well go on to win the Noble Peace prize.
Kudos and salutations to these and many other glorious women of Pakistan.