Noreen is the lead of Rava's Editorial Team and has been associated with the world of journalism since 2012. She is quirky with an awkward sense of humour and an advocate for common sense. Her skill is to use sarcasm to survive on daily basis.
While our country has the highest youth bulge with massive potential, the heroes and high achievers usually go unnoticed amidst the ‘terror news’ and negative triggers on mainstream media. Not all superheroes wear capes.
Unlike their depiction in popular culture, heroes have no fixed templates. They may not always pop out at you with their billowing capes, larger-than-life personalities and overnight revolutions. Instead, you may have to look around carefully if you want to find these undiscovered visionaries.
They are the ones you should listen to attentively as their powerful dreams might often be cloaked in soft-spoken voices. You may rarely see them in the spotlight but the impact of their work is bound to catch your eye.
There are not enough words to describe what these individuals have done; no words are sufficient to the praise that they should be showered with. There are no eyes that don’t shed tears for them for what they given to their country. The actions of these individuals should be emulated. This is a list of such Pakistanis who have been quietly making the country proud but deserve to be in the limelight for their outstanding contributions.
1. Dr. Naeem Taj
Dr. Naeem Taj from Rawalpindi is a Surgeon with specialization in general/laparoscopic surgeries. The Guinness Book of World record has issued, surgeon Dr. Naeem Taj of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Hospital, a certificate recognizing his major achievement of removing the World’s Longest Gall Bladder (5,568 stones from a 25.5cm gall bladder) through laparoscopy. Not just that, after receiving the certificate he was awarded another certificate for removing the Longest Appendix from a child which was 21cm long.
2. Muhammad Ali – Roshni Helpline
Muhammad Ali from Karachi is the founder of Roshni Helpline, which is a non-profit and non-government organization (NGO) which came into existence in 2006. The founder of the Network, Muhammad Ali is a human rights activist who, for more than 20 years, has worked on the issues of human rights of children, women, and ethnic minorities.
Roshni Helpline works to protect children and women from exploitation at all levels and in all forms i.e. trafficking, abuse, sexual violence and exploitation; to helping families in search, recovery and reunification of lost and trafficked children, and offering of immediate psycho-social support for both – the affected children and families.
3. Samar Khan
Samar Khan is the first woman in the world to cycle on top of Biafo Glacier. She’s an athlete, cyclist and an explorer and works as a social activist to encourage youth to break stereotypes and set the trend for ‘Adventure Sports’ in Pakistan. In July, Samar Khan had become the first woman in the world to cycle atop 4,500-meter-high Biafo Glacier in the Karakoram Mountains of Gilgit-Baltistan. The athlete has been awarded several certificates by Tourism Department of Gilgit-Baltistan. She had also cycled 1,000 kilometers from Islamabad to Pakistan-China border in ten days.
4. Nazir Sabir
Nazir Sabir is a Pakistani mountaineer. He has climbed Mount Everest and four of the five 8000m peaks in Pakistan, including the world’s second highest mountain K2 in 1981, Gasherbrum II 8035m Broad Peak 8050m in 1982, and Gasherbrum I (Hidden Peak) 8068m in 1992. He became the first from Pakistan to have climbed Everest on 17 May 2000 as a team member on the Mountain Madness Everest Expedition led by Christine Boskoff from USA that also included famed Everest climber Peter Habeler of Austria and eight Canadians.
5. Aneeqa Bano
Aneeqa Bano and her husband Afzal Rasool are the two individuals who are impacting lives of hundreds by providing deaf children with an education and safe shelter in Gilgit-Baltistan. Narjis Khatoon Hearing Impairment School is a Project of Narjis Khatoon Health and Education Welfare Foundation Skardu. This is an NGO, focused on working for the deaf particularly and the special children as well. This is the first organization in this area committed to working for the development of deaf people.
6. Azima Haider Zaidi
A 21-year-old girl with a physical disability who makes use of prosthetic limbs. Besides her disability, she took her life, not as a challenge but a blessing from God. She was selected as a YES (Youth Exchange and Study) exchange student and got a lifetime opportunity to travel to U.S and exchange culture like an active Pakistani ambassador. She is also interested in arts. She said,
“I observe other people who’re living in more harsh and unprivileged conditions than I do, and that actually makes me feel a whole lot better. To me, my family, friends and all those who’ve helped me in some way are closest to my heart. I am and will always be appreciative towards them!”
7. Rooma Syedain and Siblings
Syedain siblings have done Pakistan proud by becoming the youngest Microsoft Certified Professionals in the world.
- Rooma became the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified professional. She gained and achieved many of the Microsoft certified modules, including the Microsoft Certified Information technology professional, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialists and Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate, along with 15 months’ experience in the networking field.
- Inam Ali Syedain has taken another leap forward to beat his sister’s record as the world’s youngest Microsoft Professional of the world. He is the world target record holder, a Microsoft certified Information technology professional, also becoming a Microsoft certified technology specialist and Microsoft certified Solutions Associate.
- The youngest of the Syedain siblings beat his brother and sister to become the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional at the age of 8. Subhan passed the certification on the first attempt while studying in Class 1, going on to become a Microsoft record-holder – an Information Technology Professional and Solutions Associate.
8. Abdul Khaliq – “The Flying Bird of Asia.”
A man who achieved what others could only dream of. People say that when he ran it was like he didn’t touch the earth, but rather he flew across the finish line, he was the thorn in Milkha Singh’s side for years. He was Asian’s fastest man, the man that won 36 Gold, 15 Silver and 12 Bronze medals for his country in international games. A man that has been all but forgotten now.
9. Athar Yad Ali
Athar became a hero for his bravery on the motorway in January 2015. While traveling with his family through the Salt Ranges, he saw the driver and his companion of a 22-wheeler jump out, after the brakes had failed on the truck. Without thought of his life, he pulled over and ran to the truck climbing in and trying to stop by ramming it into the cement walls. His bravery that day saved hundreds of lives along the mountainous road.
10. Farman Ali Khan
A Pakistani martial arts champion in 2009, he fought his greatest fight. Farman had been visiting Saudi Arabia, during his visit to Jeddah, there were torrential rains that resulted in flooding. Farman, the courageous individual that he was, took it upon himself to save the people around him. He saved the lives of 14 people before losing his life. Today there is a highway after him and was awarded the highest civil award by Saudi’s King.
11. Boatman Sanaullah
In August 2010, Sanaullah a simple boatman from the village of Camp Koroona did the impossible. His village that is situated near the Islamabad – Peshawar Motorway and was hit by floods. Sanaullah did what he could. He took upon himself to save the people of his village. That fateful day, Sanaullah successfully saved 2,500 people of his village. His bravery resulted in an entire village that survived the flood without losing one single life.
12. Akash Bashir
Part of the volunteer security force at the St.John Church in Youhanabad. When he saw suicide bomber run towards the church, he held him, as tight as he could. The suicide bomber said he would die, but Akash, the brave soul that he was just held tighter until the bomb exploded. His bravery that day saved lives and reduced the damage that the bomber could have caused if he had been able to enter the church. We salute Akash Bashir for your bravery.
13. Kulsoom Hazara
An inspiration to the Hazara community and Pakistani girls. Kulsoom has achieved what no other Pakistan girl has; she has broken the stereotypes that were chains for many others. Today Kulsoom is the National Karate Champion for women, with the goal to win gold at the Olympics.