I’m sorry I never thanked you, Arfa Karim

Published: January 17, 2012

I wish you would have stayed, Arfa, because we need you.

She sat across from me in a swivelling chair, staring at me just as inquisitively as I was at her. She was the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in the world – I had every right to gawk in awe. Arfa, on the other hand, was looking at me because she was just a child eager to make friends.

“So, how was it?” I asked with unease.

I couldn’t believe that I was intimidated by an 11-year-old.

“How was what?” she asked, smiling.

She still hadn’t lost the baby fat on her face, and I wanted to pinch her cheeks. She was Arfa Karim, the girl who had pushed all boundaries and astounded the world. I checked myself and asked:

“Meeting Bill Gates.”

“It was nice,” she replied, and began to adjust the baseball cap on her head.

It was ‘nice’ to meet Bill Gates. This little girl didn’t know how proud she had made all of us – how indebted we were to her. She was just a sweet child who had big dreams.

On the ill-fated day of December 22, 2011, Arfa suffered an epileptic attack, and went in to a coma. She died on January 14th, plunging the entire nation in to sorrow.

Had I known that she was going to die just a few years after I had met her, I would have held her tight and thanked her profusely. I would have thanked her for putting Pakistan on the map for something that wasn’t related to terrorism or war. I would have thanked her for bringing hope to a country ravaged by war. I would have thanked her for making us proud.

I am so very sorry that I didn’t.

Arfa’s father, Lt Col (Retd) Amjad Karim Randhawa was in my father’s Brigade and I had run in to her many times. I was always taken aback by her confidence, her ability to talk to people of any age, and her immense humility.

It saddens me a great deal that we have lost someone so special so early.

‎”Today is the black day of my life and same for Pakistan because I lost my princess colleague and Pakistan lost her Pakistani.”

Bill Gates’ statement on Arfa Karim’s death sums up the sorrow that has overwhelmed Pakistan. It is a black day indeed.

Even though, in your case, Arfa,  the phrase ‘only the good die young’ rings true, I wish you hadn’t died. I will be selfish here and say that I wish you would have lived 50 more years so that you could have stunned the world at least five more times before your time was up. I wish you would have stayed, Arfa, because we need you.

May your soul rest in peace (Amen).

 

Zahra Peer Mohammed

Zahra Peer Mohammed

Former Blogs Desk Head and Senior Sub-Editor at The Express Tribune. She is a business graduate from the Queen's School of Business who tweets @ZahraPeer (twitter.com/ZahraPeer). She blogs at zahrapeer.wordpress.com

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Nandita.

    Awww this video’s so cuteee. What a cutie pie she was ! Kitni smart aur confident.Recommend

  • http://think-islam.blogspot.com PostMan

    I am sorry too. I would blog just about anything but I wont blog about you. What is wrong with me? You ‘are’ such a person that would make anyone, totally unrelated to you, think and wonder about what you did and what he/she is doing.

    Rest in peace. God bless you. Recommend

  • Marium

    It’s horrible how most of us only appreciate what we had after we lose it. Recommend

  • http://www.hotmail.com humera saeed

    We miss u Allah will give you same love and success in that World INSHALAHRecommend

  • waqas masood

    mmmmm, I am a person who never knew Arfa, but today while internet surfing, I listened to her interview on PTV, Oh! that was sooooo interesting…. She aged only 11 but she was on top of intelligence and now I feel that i have wasted my whole life. I dont know what to say. I feel very sad for her as if she was my younger sister. May her soul rest in peace.Recommend

  • Raja Afaq Sarwar

    :-(
    This is indeed a great loss for Pakistan…
    May her soul rest in peace…Recommend

  • Parvez

    ” The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. “Recommend

  • Qamar Shahzad

    Dedicated to Arfa Karim,

    Kalion ko mien seny ka loahoo day ky chali hon
    Sadion mujhy gulshan ki faza yad kary gee
    Recommend

  • http://google Gulsher

    bohat dukh ki bat he Recommend

  • Hussain

    Thanx alot for sahring this video, it is definitely worth watching and Hats off to Arfa for bieng such a confident and a remarkable girl. I felt that we have wasted another talented girl. May her soul rest in peace and may Allah gives us a strength to fulfill her dream of establishing Dijicon valley in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Faraz

    Pakistan has lost a genuine gem. We find new and exciting news breaking every now and then just to have diminished with time. Our Media which to the core claims playing responsible and in liaison with today’s global requirements has yet once again failed to re-live a hero. For the past 4 years we just wouldn’t find any news coverage for her. The media, the blogs, the news coverage everyone found the need for more commercial corners than to relive a genuine hope with pride.

    I am at a strong belief that most of us are responsible for having lost a child so inimitable and precious as Arfa. For years I have found fellow country men obstinate the popular and somewhat religious belief that an extra-ordinary talent or beauty should be backed by the indelible phrase “Masha-Allah”. Friends and fellow country men have mocked and refuted such a claim perversely denying any ill-effects. I guess, most of them have got their answers for a heart- failure at the age of 16 is otherwise unexplainable if not for the effects of the evil-eye.

    In her other interview broadcasted on “Aik Din Geo k Saath” when she was a little more than the innocent 10 year old girl she appears as in the clip above, she made shocking disclosures to what she had already achieved: to the extent of having set up a computer lab for the under-priviliged girls of a remote district and seemed pretty excited about it and had softly disclosed she had many more projects in the pipeline of similar nature and also planned to inaugurate a DIGICON Valley in Pakistan. So sad then, that a girl with so many aspirations met her fate so early. May Allah rest her soul in peace and may she be placed amongst the highest annals of Jannah. AameenRecommend

  • Bisma

    You will always remain in our hearts! you’re an inspiration to all of us, your presence was a gift to the world, you were unique and one of a kind…
    May your soul rest in peace AmeenRecommend

  • http://Cheena Cheena Chhapra

    It is so sad … She was a good soul and Allah needed her more … May Allah rest your soul and I always say she was an angle … And was from jannet . AARFA do your work in jannet and inshallah you will always bloom as you did in this worldRecommend

  • Adnan Mughal

    Maily Kay Nahi Nayyab Hain Ham………………………………..Recommend

  • mokh

    Thank you for this blog.It expresses genuine sentiment and the feeling of loss we all have at her passingRecommend

  • Arsalan

    Well-written article. Arfa was a real asset for Pakistan and I don’t think anyone can replace her in years to come. Regarding the Bill Gates statement on her death “Today is the black day of my life and same for Pakistan because I lost my princess colleague and Pakistan lost her Pakistani.”. Is there any credible source that Bill Gates really said that? When I search on Google, it’s only written at Pakistani sites. Let me remind you that media claimed earlier that Bill Gates called her father and his father denied later. In her last days, media claimed that she has went through a “successful” surgery but after her death, her father denied that too that there wasn’t any surgery at all.Recommend

  • SAK

    The death of Arfa has left the nation mourning. Such a brilliant talent that we all have a feeling of a personal loss.Recommend

  • Vasanth Pai

    I condole her death. Too young to die. Whom the Gods love, die young. Recommend

  • From India

    Salute to her , such an amazing talentRecommend

  • Truth

    She is a great loss for Pakistan who has made the nation proud. May her soul rest in peace Ameen! Recommend

  • Quetta Guy

    A beautifully written piece for a very beautiful human being.Recommend

  • snkhan

    Very well written and touching! Rest in peace, Arfa.Recommend

  • Aakasa

    Great people get to live little.
    Pakistan lost a star that showed a realm of prosperity and success for it’s future.Recommend

  • http://www.sabrinasabino.com Sabrina

    Pakistan has lost an icon, the world has lost a star. RIP little one, you’ve been inspirational!Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    At last someone… Thank you ZPMRecommend

  • Nasir Mengal

    Hazaaron Saal Nargiss Apni Bay Noori Pay Roti Hay

    Bari Mushkil Se Hota Hay Chaman Me DeedaWar Paida.

    ARFA We Miss You a Lot…………Recommend

  • Humanity

    As a tribute to the Aarifa Karim, make sure you thank Malala by supporting her cause, that of education both for boys as well as girls.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/322054/bacha-khans-philosophy-of-non-violence-and-benazir-bhuttos-charisma-inspires-malala/Recommend

  • Afshan

    @Marium:
    I agree, Marium. Why do we only focus on the negative aspects in our country? It’s like the more we focus, the more they multiply! Cherish the positives; we can will them to grow. Cherish other ‘Arfa’s', journalists, before we lose all goodness, in one way or another. That’s what we want our children to grow up watching, not badly-behaved politicians or suicide bombers.Recommend

  • Farhan

    This unfortunate nation never recognize their heroes in their lives…always discuss when they are gone….we are ‘Murda parast nation”Recommend

  • shahzad

    Arfa Karim was so brillient and pakistan loving girl.she devote her life to gain knowledge about information technology,as she gain a lot.It was her dream to make every child of her village like herself.She wants to make her country very strong and expert in IT field.She become the Microsoft Certified professional when she was only 9 years old.There are so many others achievements of Arfa Karim.she got so many gold madels .Her family was going to celebrate her 17th birthday on 2 february 2012 but she……..How can i say she died ?She is alive and will always alive in our memories .May her soul rest in peace.I am proud to be a citizen of Arfa Karim’s country …… Recommend

  • shahzad

    Arfa Karim was so brillient and pakistan loving girl.she devote her life to gain knowledge about information technology,as she gain a lot.It was her dream to make every child of her village like herself.She wants to make her country very strong and expert in IT field.She become the Microsoft Certified professional when she was only 9 years old.There are so many others achievements of Arfa Karim.she got so many gold madels .Her family was going to celebrate her 17th birthday on 2 february 2012 but she……..How can i say she died ?She is alive and will always alive in our memories .May her soul rest in peace.I am proud to be a citizen of Arfa Karim’s country . Recommend

  • MD

    Arfa have made us proud..surely will miss her…Recommend

  • http://urduseek.com Ks

    Traveling, traveling: to see Kings Ludwig, Nicholas, Zanthas, Damon, Farron, Burl, and Swane. Traveling, traveling: to castles of red sand, hewn of blue trees, formed of fire, shaped of sculpted clouds. Traveling, traveling, with planets and stars beyond and invitation books open to a single name. The solitary traveler has left this world. He will not pass this way again.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/9840/im-sorry-i-never-thanked-you-arfa-karim/ Abdullah.Mohsin

    Im sorry that we have lost a precious gem.
    May Allah bless Arfa with Jannat.Recommend

  • x

    Heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, may Allah give them strength to bear this terrible loss. Condolences to the entire Pakistani nation on losing our national treasure, our rising star.
    Arfa made us all proud to be Pakistanis in the short while she was with us. Above all, she was an inspiration for us all, not only about what we can achieve but also, about maintaining humility and retaining your identity and pride in being Pakistani even after achieving so much.
    May Allah grant her the highest place in Jannat. Much love, respect and prayers for her and her family.
    Allah Arfa ko bohat bohat ajar de. Ameen. Recommend

  • Mudassar

    I’m sorry Arfa,I never thanked you,but hey believe me my baby sister see if you can,everyone is in tears for you,my polish friend wrote me an e-mail and said “why talented person in your country dies so early?and I don’t feel like eating,singing or anything”see if you can our baby angel,the whole nation is saying salute to you,o ALLAH,please bless our angel a very high place in Jannat,a poem is ringing in my ears those words were meant for you “MAIN EK CHOTA SA BACHA HOON,pAR KAAM KARON GA BAREY BAREY”
    and I think Mohsin Naqvi said these lines about you
    “QAFAS TO KHAIR MUQADAR MEIN THA MAGAR MOHSIN
    HAWA MEIN SHOR AB TAK MERI URRAN KA HEY”
    Rest In Peace Behna :’(Recommend

  • i hate exaggeration

    @“Today is the black day of my life and same for Pakistan because I lost my princess colleague and Pakistan lost her Pakistani.”

    does anybody know any authentic source for this statement?Recommend

  • Ramesh

    @Zahra Peer Mohammed

    Re: “She was the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in the world”

    Although its a heartbreaking story of her untimely death, but Arfa’s record was broken in 2008 by the eight-year-old Lavinashree (of India). In 2010, Lavinashree also became the world’s youngest Red Hat Certified Engineer. Search the following on the net for confirmation:

    1) ‘Lavinashree has registered her mark Deccan Chronicle’

    2) ‘President springs a surprise on Lavinashree – The Hindu’

    Nevertheless, the legacy of Arfa Karim Randhawa will surely motivate young Pakistanis to excel in the academic fields. My heartfelt condolences to her family.Recommend

  • Irfan

    I believe the moral is : Now when you meet a kind soul , dont forget to be kind in return and dont hold back on your words and actions.. who knows maybe this is your last time .Recommend