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A new age
- Monday, September 17, 2012 - From Print Edition


We talk about issues everyday. We talk about our problem everyday. Yet, what we seldom talk about is the ambition of our people. Yes, ambition which leads them to do great things against impossible odds. That is what this column is dedicated to today. The ambition of not just one but many Pakistanis who dared to stand up and work. Who dared to not just complain but prove through actions that excuses are just excuses. Pakistanis who had purpose. Pakistanis who had ambition!


Mohammad Mohsin Ali


Setting an example for others is not an easy job, but Mohammad Mohsin Ali has set an example for not only the under privileged class in Pakistan but also has sent a message to those who have all the facilities available to them. He has become a beacon of hope for those who have very limited resources for better education in the country. Mohsin secured Top Position in the Punjab University’s BA examination in the year 2012, all the while living in a room with 12 construction workers and making “rotis” at a tandoor.


Fatima Namdar


A 19 year old Lahore based girl has come as a symbol of courage and determination for all as she has gotten become the youngest female to earn a Masters in Education (M Ed). Fatima was 19 years and 8 days old when she completed her Master’s in Education. Fatima said that in today’s time of modernization, every girl should be confident and should look toward competing with the world. Not belonging to a very well settled family, she has still coped and struggled to achieve a name in education. Fatima is a symbol of pride to not only women in Pakistan but everywhere.


Qiyanus Khan


He studied in Kotli, Azad Kashmir, and secured 2nd position in Matriculation Exams under sever poverty where he would go and work all odd jobs even collecting garbage after his school hours to help him fund his education and make ends meet at home. No matter how high the odds maybe stacked against you—no matter what you have to do if your priorities are right, you can achieve anything. That is exactly what Qiyanus Khan taught us.


Nimra Amjad-Archer


Rarely has a women of 26 accomplished so much. For Nimra, being a change agent is her daily routine; every detail of her life not only speaks in volumes but also demonstrates her commitment to a more sustainable and healthy future for all Pakistanis. Having founded the Pakistan Sustainability Network, a non-profit organization with over 100 young volunteers across Pakistan, Nimra spends her free time coaching, mentoring and training youth to spread awareness about the environment, sustainability and health. Nimra has appeared at countless events and venues and spoken about issues like climate change and environmental responsibility. She is one of the youngest climate change policy analysts working with Shirkat Gah and has even advised the Governor of Punjab on taking a stronger stance on climate change.


Shukriya Gul


An HIV-positive mother of two, who contracted AIDS from her husband in 1995. Shukriya’s husband fell prey to AIDS in Kenya after being transfused infected blood, following a road accident. After his death, Shukriya was left to withstand the travails of life alone. She was miserable when she searched desperately for information concerning AIDS for protecting her two kids and did not find it readily available. Moreover, she was treated as if she was untouchable. She then decided to stand up for the many voiceless people like her and save their lives. Her mission now along with raising her two kids is to disseminate awareness amongst the Pakistani masses about AIDS, and to enable people infected with the HIV to positively contribute to society.


Gulalai Ismail


She is 25 years old and has just completed her M Phil in Biotechnology. She is the chairperson of Aware Girls (a non-profit organization) working to uplift the status of young women in Pakistan. She established the organization at the age of 16 to provide a platform to young women where they can strengthen their skills and can take leadership roles in their communities for bringing positive social change. She has been working on different programmes that include giving women rights and human rights education to young women and girls; promoting political leadership and responsible citizenship among young women; HIV/AIDS prevention education; and advocacy with political parties for creating friendly spaces for women. She has been actively involved in advocacy for repealing discriminatory laws against women such as the Hudood Ordinance, and for introducing laws which protect women from honour killing and sexual harassment etc. She is also working on combating religious extremism and promoting peace, non-violence, and tolerance among young people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. She has established a young people’s network called “Seeds of Peace Network”, now working for preventing young people from extremism.


Qaiser Abbas


He left his home and came to Lahore despite having two gold medals, got a job in a canteen as a tea boy, and later worked in factories to continue his studies and desire to do something. People taunted that he’d end up pushing a cart for vegetables but nothing stopped him. Today, yes, he has a cart, but with dreams, he is a successful business consultant and has his own training and consultancy firm where he aspires people to dream.


Saima Bilal


She was the wife of a Chartered Accountant and mother of three who faced a great sorrow when her husband passed away. That’s when she realized she had to help herself. She started work and continued her studies in the evening. With lots of taunts and vicious eyes of the society, she did not give up hope. Today she’s heading the HR department of a multinational corporation, only because of her belief in herself.


Arsalan Asad


A shy individual behind the camera, Arsalan Asad achieved heights very soon. Someone who’s passion to bring life to his work, made him grab a camera, is today seen as one of the biggest event photographers in the country. He has had award winning photographs of still life exhibited in international photography competitions across the globe. His photos have attracted people towards Pakistan. His work is not limited here, at the age of 26, he now is also an owner of Marketing and Promotions Consultancy that offers various products and services to its clients for their promotions, such as business Logos, Brochures, Catalogues and Corporate Websites.


Malala Yousufzai


13-year-old Malala Yousufzai did not hold back when the situation in Swat Valley prevented her from receiving an education. She wrote a diary to BBC Urdu, with the pen name “Gul Makai”. She related her experience of living during the siege in Swat. She saw the fruit of her struggle. She is a famed children’s rights activist. She was awarded the National Peace Prize by the Government of Pakistan for defending her motherland’s reputation and fighting for her and children’s right to education. She was also the first Pakistani to be nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize. If a girl her age can risk everything to raise her voice for the right thing; all of us can draw inspiration from her and raise our own voices against what holds us back from achieving our dreams.


While researching for this article, I found so many great stories, and I wish I could have talked about all of them today. Yet, what was amazing about them is that each one was a display of strength and ambition beyond belief. Interestingly, it is the women and girls who have done more to overcome obstacles and achieve success, a true testament to the great women of our country. With people like these guiding us and leading us, there is so much hope for Pakistan. We just need to learn from their ambition and strength!


The writer is Youth Ambassador of Geo and Jang Group. Email: [email protected] Facebook: Twitter: @amNAWAZISH