Pakistan is one of the countries of the world which are formed on the basis of religion; the other, being Israel. This clearly means that Islam, being the state religion holds a vital place in the country’s functioning. The people of Pakistan apprise Islamic virtues and try to implement the teachings of our Holy Prophet (PBUH) in their everyday lives.
Islam, being a complete and universal deen had taught us everything a person requires in order to lead an ideal and a peaceful life. It negated the idea of discrimination of people on the basis of gender, caste or creed.
Islam gave women an improved status in the society during the times of ignorance, when they were burnt alive
Pakistan, being an Islamic Republican and following the Islamic teachings, gives women a better status in the society as compared to many other countries of the world. This status meet not be exactly in accordance with the one explained in Islam, but is in a state of progress.
INFLUENCIAL WOMEN OF PAKISTAN:-
According to the census conducted in 2017, 48.7% of the population of Pakistan is women.
These women may be considered backwards to the women in other countries, but are paving their way to progress and are striving to show the true image and strength of Pakistani women to the world. But it so happens that these women are not recognized and encouraged they should be. Which is why, in this article, we are going to pay a tribute to some of these unsung personalities.
1- FATIMA ALI JINNAH:-
Who doesn’t know about the beloved sister of Quaid-e-Azam. The woman who helped her brother in his struggle for Pakistan. But what many people don’t know about her is that she was a dental practitioner by profession. She formed the Women Relief Committee after independence for the settlement of women migrants. She too, found difficulties and faced oppositions in her path, one of which was the delayed publication of the book on the Quaid “My Brother.” Jinnah was the one who took care of her brother’s health while he was selflessly devoted to the cause of Pakistan.
The Quaid said of his sister:
“Anxieties would’ve been much greater and my health, much worse, but for the restraints imposed by her.”
2- MUNIBA MAZARI:-
More commonly referred to as the iron lady of Pakistan, apart from being a UN National Ambassador, a Pakistani activist, a motivational speaker, an anchor and an exceptional artist.
Muniba faced a tragic accident which altered her life completely. She was paralyzed and became physically feeble, but this accident failed to affect her ambitions. She became a painter, a speaker and an anchor on PTV all while being physically disabled. She had received the honor of becoming the first ever wheel chair bound model in the whole of Asia. Apart from all this, Muniba is also a part of Pakistan’s first ever National Youth Council.
She says about herself,
“People see me as disabled, but I see myself differently abled.”
3- SAMINA BAIG:-
Samina Baig, a woman of high ambitions, is the first Muslim woman to climb the Mount Everest.
Having been trained by her brother, she captured all of the seven summits of the world.
Mount Everest in Asia
Mount Elbrus in Russia
Mount McKinley in Alaska
Mount Aconcagua in Argentina
Mount Vinson in Antarctica
Mount Kilimanja in Tanzania
Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia. All these summits were climbed by her in a period of 8 months.
Mirza Ali Baig, her brother said:-
“We had the greatest honor to hoist our green flag on the seven summits. “
As a token of appreciation, the government renamed Chaskinsar Peak as Samina Peak, after she climbed it in 2010.
4- ARFA KARIM:-
Arfa Karim was the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional and was submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records at a very early age for her accomplishments.
Arfa was the pride of Pakistan and was recognized at various international forums. Her talent was appreciated by Bill Gates himself.
She attended many ceremonies arranged in her honour. Arfa received many awards including the Fatima Jinnah Gold Medal, Salaam Pakistan Award and Pride of Performance in 2005.
She died of cardiac arrest in 2012 at just 17 years of age.
5- AYESHA FAROOQ:-
Flight Lieutenant Ayesha Farooq is an unrecognized personality of Pakistan. Born in Bhawalpur, she is the first woman who became a fighter pilot in Pakistan Air Force.
Ayesha became the first fighter pilot after qualifying in 2013. She is the only qualified woman out of 6 current ones for combat and fights alongside 24 male fighter pilots.
6- JEHAN ARA:-
The power woman of Pakistan is a motivator, a social activist and a leading enterpriser with an aspiration of extending the reach of IT for business purposes.
She is the founder of P@SHA (a trade body of IT nad ITES) and is an experienced marketer and a businesswoman. Jehan Ara is a member of the World Bank Advisory Group on Gender Diversity. Apart from numerous other contrivances, she is also an associate of PM’s Taskforce for IT and Telecom.
Women face demurrals when they try to work and grow side-by-side with men. Jehan Ara analogously did too.
“I suspect they thought that as a weak female, I was the least controversial to take in the role. Little did they know that this weak woman would take the role with such gusto.”
7- RAFIA BAIG:-
Rafia Baig is a police officer and the first Pakistani woman to become a member of the Bomb Disposal Unit. She belongs to the KPK province of Pakistan and entered this male dominated field breaking all stereotypes. This proud daughter of the land has also worked on international level with the International Rescue Committee.
“If KPs women are so daring, what level will make soldiers possess.”
8- MARIA UMAR:-
Maria is a living example of how heroes can be produced from the most unlikely of places and in the most unlikely of circumstances.
She is the founder and president of Women’s Digital League—a social programme with a desideratum to provide digital literacy training to women. She is a passionate woman who is also a representative of WomenX—a department of the World Bank which instructs women with respect to the field of business.
The achievements of WDL were highlighted by Google Pakistan. Maria’s groundbreaking demeanours were acknowledged by International forums as well such as Tribune, Dawn, CBNC, Express, Ashoka, to name a few.
Maria believes in women empowerment and has played her part to show her allegiance to the cause.
“More than financial empowerment, it was the emotional empowerment that was so liberating for me.”
She said in an interview of hers.
She then added,
“The mindset is a bit of a problem. A lot of people in our country think that many jobs aren’t respectable for women. But there is a whole new world out there and women need to look beyond jobs such as teaching.”
9- MALALA YOUSUFZAI:-
Malala Yousufzai is an activist for women’s education. She is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. Malala is also an activist for Human Rights and had done wonders in bringing girls, particularly the ones in her hometown Swat, closer to education. She was recognized as ‘the most prominent citizen’ during the government of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Her father used to run a chain of educational institutions and she was gravely inspired by her father’s humanitarian work. She wrote a blog for BBC Urdu in 2009, which was recognized by international forums as well.
A documentary was made on her in The New York Times and Malala was also nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize. She formed Malala Fund to accommodate girls to receive education. She was the co-author of ‘I am Malala,’ a best seller on international level.
She became victim to an assassination attempt but fortunately survived. Even after the incident, she remained steadfast and did not give up her cause.
She received the first National Youth Peace Prize of Pakistan and was featured among the most influential people globally.
“Traditions are not sent from Heaven or from God. It is we who make cultures and who should have the right to change them.”
These were her words at a Girl’s Summit in London in 2014.
Yousufzai opened a school for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. She was a firm believer in the fact the ‘one should invest in books, not bullets.’
10- ASMA JAHANGIR:-
Asma Jahangir was a reputed lawyer of Human Rights. She started various campaigns for the rights of dominated communities. Asma fought for the rights of common people and spoke up for those who had no choice of their own.
She also shed light on the issues of Kashmir and Syria. Inspite of this, she didn’t neglect the grief stricken people of her own country. She said,
“I think it sounds very hollow if I keep talking about the rights of Kashmiris, but do not talk about the rights of a woman in Lahore who is battered to death.”
She was also the co-founder of the Human Rights Committee of Pakistan and the first woman president of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
She died of cardiac arrest in 2018 but neither her now get achievements will ever be forgotten due to the never ending spirits she imparted in the people with her efforts.
11- ROSHANESH ZAFAR:-
I’m sure most of you haveheard of Kashf foundation; but for those who don’t know, it is a microfinance organization that works on a nonprofit basis. But who started this microcredit institution?
Roshanesh Zafar, a student of Yale University, got inspired by the pioneer of microfinance sector and decided to let go of her dream job as an investment banker to work for the betterment of Pakistani women.
She realized, during a fieldwork, that women have a thirst to prove themselves and can do wonders, if given favorable circumstances and opportunities.
After years of gaining knowledge in the related field, she registered Kashf with a total staff of 5 women. She said,
“I believe some things can get preordained…Kashf is a Sufi word, which means miracle or revelation. It is a belief that God is with you, in humanity.”
Today, Kashf is operating successfully and recently signed a loan by French Development Agency of $5 million all because of the devotion of Roshanesh to her cause.
12- KHALIDA BROHI:-
Khailda Brohi is a social figure who belongs to the Balochistan province of Pakistan. She is a Human Rights activist and an entrepreneur.
She launched the Youth and Gender Development Program which was established with an aim of opening up career opportunities to women. This program profilerated with the passage of time and later became a centre of tutoring women various skills.
Afterwards, this initiative expanded, resulting Brohi to create an improved organization named Sughar (skilled) in 2009.
She keeps the words of her father, ‘Don’t very, strategize’ in mind while running this nonprofit, women empowerment organization.
13- SIDRA IQBAL:-
Sidra Iqbal is a well known Pakistani journalist. She hosts a show featuring current affairs on PTV News.
Sidra launched Stratuspro 360, a PR communications firm. As an entrepreneur, she founded Blinck, a group of advocacy in 2011. Blinck has been a front-line and effective platform to promote empowerment of youth. Sidra has also represented Pakistani youth in various international forums such as in Turkey, USA, UAE, Japan and Australia to name a few.
She is a laureate of the English Speaking Union’s International Public Speaking Championship. This accomplishment heaved her to become a puissant voice of development activism on international levels.
Currently, Sidra is the Ambassador of two higher education enterprises, namely Habib University and ACCA Pakistan.
Above mentioned were just a few of the significant Pakistani women who have done wonders in their respective fields.There are many others just like them who aren’t recognized neither do they want any recognition or appraisal. These women make us ponder that if they can accomplish such marvels, with such little resources and in such unfavourable circumstances, why can’t we? These, and all such women out their who want to create their own identities are the real pride of the nation and should always be supported and respected.