In Arfa’s name

Published: January 16, 2012

Will the government play a constructive role in bringing about some of the change that Arfa wanted to see in Pakistan?

There is need to change Arfa’s dreams into reality. The entire nation is mourning the sad demise of the world’s youngest IT professional Arfa Karim Randhawa. She died on January 14 at the very tender age of sixteen.

No doubt, she was an extraordinary genius, and a committed and intelligent individual. The grief caused by her untimely death is likely to stay embedded in the collective national psyche for some time, especially given that people like her are born one in a billion. Also, she died too young, before the nation could have benefitted from her talent and prowess in information technology.

One of her many objectives was the setting up of a technology hub in Pakistan, along the lines of Silicon Valley in the US. When, at the age of nine, she was declared the world’s youngest-ever Microsoft Certified Professional, she said in an interview that she would like to spend her abilities on providing IT facilities to those who lived in the rural areas — specifically, she mentioned the establishment of technology parks. She had also said that she would want to use her talents not for commercial gain but so that those around her, and in the country at large, could benefit from her prowess in information technology.

Now that this brilliant and capable Pakistani is no more, one wonders what the government and the resourceful corporate sector will do. Will they step up and play a constructive role in bringing about some of the change that she wanted to see happen to her country?

Pakistan is a country of 180 million people and there well may be others like Arfa who may have skills, if not in IT, then in some other field. But the way the system works here, they are unlikely to be provided any guidance or grooming, and this is where some change can be brought by the government and the corporate sector. Perhaps, a foundation or a trust can be set up in her name, with the government providing seed money, and it should be managed by someone with an impeccable reputation, and should assist in the financial assistance of people who are talented but don’t have any funding to unlock their potential.

Peer Muhammad

Peer Muhammad

A correspondent for The Express Tribune in Islamabad.

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

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