Arfa Karim: The sun sets in the East


The gloomy night of January 14 shadowed the whole nation with the shocking news of the untimely and sad demise of Arfa Karim, a precious asset for Pakistan, at the blooming age of 16.
She became world famous after winning the unique status of the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional in the world, in 2004, at the age of nine.
Subsequently, she was invited by Bill Gates to visit the Microsoft Headquarters in America. The wonder girl went into coma on December 22 after suffering an epileptic attack, followed by cardiac arrest, and struggled for life at the Combined Military Hospital Lahore for about three weeks, before departing for her heavenly abode.
Being on life support at the intensive care unit, she showed some signs of recovery on Thursday and added succour to the nation’s hopes, but, later on, suffered a complication on Saturday evening and breathed her last. She filled every eye with tears and every heart with grief.
Arfa was born in Faisalabad, on February 2, 1995, and was recognised as a brilliant child right from her early childhood. Her father Colonel (retired) Amjad Karim hailed from the village Ram Devali in Faisalabad district. The gifted girl was, lastly, doing her A-levels at the Lahore Grammar School. She had to her credit the highly esteemed awards like the Pride of Performance (she is the youngest person to receive this award), the Fatima Jinnah Gold Medal in the field of Science and Technology and the Salaam Pakistan Youth Award. In recognition of her achievement, Arfa was also made brand ambassador for PTCL’s Broadband service, in January 2010.
Regrettably, we are a society that hardly realises the worth of people during their life span and mourn their death by organising memorial services and formal gatherings to pay tribute to the deceased.
Unfortunately, we, as a nation, miserably failed to endow Arfa with appropriate recognition, treatment, projection, patronisation and promotion. The general public came to know about the wonder child only when the news of her being in coma flashed on the TV screens. Most people paid serious attention to knowing about her life only after learning about her death.
The computer prodigy was given projection by our media in 2004 when her achievements were afresh, but, later on, she remained in the background. She must have been encouraged and presented in a befitting manner to lead the fellow students and the youth towards a better future and to promote IT education and related projects, playing the role of a beacon of light for other children.
Another question that is irritating every common Pakistani is that why an air ambulance was not arranged by the state to shift the nation’s precious jewel abroad for timely treatment when aged politicians, without any hope of recovery, are often provided with such services. Would Arfa have met the same fate, if she had been born in a Western country?
During her impressive interviews and speeches, recently being rebroadcast by different channels, Arfa vehemently declared her dream of establishing a Digicon valley in the country on the lines of Silicon Valley where she wished to provide free technical education, especially in the field of computers, free accommodation for those who do not have sufficient resources and other services to talented youth.
After her death, some rays of hope, in this regard, have appeared on the horizon and, according to newspapers, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced renaming the Lahore Software Technology Park as Arfa Karim Software Technology Park while Sindh Information Technology Minister Raza Haroon has also declared that the IT Media City in Karachi would be named after the genius.
Arfa was not only extraordinarily brilliant in information technology, but was also very fond of reciting Hamd, Naat, singing songs and reading Allama Iqbal’s poetry. She possessed a melodious voice. During a detailed TV interview, recorded in 2008, she sang one of Tina Sani’s touching Punjabi song “Akhaan Chham Chham Vassiyaan; Dilaan Diyaan Gallaan Dil Vich Reh Gaiyaan. That segment has been repeated many times by different TV channels and people find it moving every time they watch it. May our little angel Arfa’s soul rest in eternal peace! Amen!


  1. This country can accept Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari to fly abroad on thexpenses of the tax payer for their private medical check up. Alas, we could not offer this angel the same status! We are a nation that is dead. We have no values, morals or priorities. We are a society of vultures and hyenas. May Allah bless Arfa’s soul and grant patience to the bereaved family.

  2. Our society is used to acknowledge the Allah's gifts after loosing them. This is because we have corrupt leadership, who can not deliver the correct sense of dignity to their public and are busy in looting the nation's wealth……..Hamza


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