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.
As a nation, we know that our Army and services have done an incredible lot and the heroes of the nation. Today without refuting that fact we would like to honor and acknowledge some other heroes of Pakistan that get sidelined sometimes.
Here is some the list of some unsung heros of Pakistan.
1) Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan
Abdul Qadeer Khan, known as A. Q. Khan, is a Pakistani nuclear physicist and a metallurgical engineer, who founded the uranium enrichment program for Pakistan’s atomic bomb project. Khan founded and established the Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL) in 1976, serving as both its senior scientist and Director-General until he retired in 2001. Khan was also a figure in other Pakistani national science projects, making research contributions to molecular morphology, the physics of martensite alloys, condensed matter physics, and materials physics.
In January 2004, the Pakistani government summoned Khan for a debriefing on his active role in nuclear weapons technology proliferation in other countries after the United States provided evidence of it to the Pakistanis. Khan formally admitted his responsibility for these activities a month later. The Pakistani government dismisses allegations that Pakistani authorities sanctioned Khan’s activities.
After years of official house arrest during and following his debriefing, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on 6 February 2009 declared Abdul Qadeer Khan to be a free citizen of Pakistan, allowing him free movement inside the country. The verdict was rendered by Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Aslam. In September 2009, concerned because the decision also ended all security restrictions on Khan, the United States warned that Khan still remained a “serious proliferation risk”.
2) Dr. Abdus Salam
Mohammad Abdus Salam was a Pakistani theoretical physicist. A major figure in 20th century theoretical physics, he shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics with Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg for his contribution to the electroweak unification theory. He was the first Pakistani and first Muslim to receive a Nobel Prize in science and the second from an Islamic country to receive any Nobel Prize.
Salam was a top level science advisor to the Government of Pakistan from 1960 to 1974, a position from which he played a major and influential role in the development of the country’s science infrastructure. Salam was responsible not only for contributing to major developments in theoretical and particle physics, but also for promoting the broadening and deepening of high calibre scientific research in his country. He was the founding director of the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), and responsible for the establishment of the Theoretical Physics Group (TPG) in the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). As Science Advisor, Salam played an integral role in Pakistan’s development of the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and may have contributed as well to development of atomic bomb project of Pakistan in 1972; for this, he is viewed as the “scientific father” of this programme. In 1974, Abdus Salam departed from his country, in protest, after the Pakistan Parliament passed a controversial parliamentary bill declaring that members of the Ahmadiyya movement, to which Salam belonged, were not Muslims. In 1998, following the country’s nuclear tests, the Government of Pakistan issued a commemorative stamp, as a part of “Scientists of Pakistan”, to honour the services of Salam.
3) Dr. Samar Mubarakmand
You may be well aware of Doctor Abdul Qader but do you know Dr. Samar Mubarakmand ??
Samar Mubarakmand, is a Pakistani nuclear physicist known for his research in gamma spectroscopy and experimental development of the linear accelerator.
He came to public attention as the director of the test teams responsible for the performing the country’s first and successful atomic tests at the Chagai Test Site, located in the Balochistan Province of Pakistan. Prior to that, he was the project director of the integrated missile programme and supervised the development of Shaheen and Babur missile program. Serving the founding chairman of Nescom from 2001 until 2007, he was subsequently appointed by the government to assist the Thar coalfield project.
Mubarakmand has been conferred with state honors recognized for his services to the country by the Pakistan Government. He is the recipient of Sitara-e-Imtiaz (1993); Hilal-e-Imtiaz (1998); and Nishan-e-Imtiaz (2003) that is the highest civil honor of the country. In addition, he is a fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS) and was inducted by Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad in 2000.
4) 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. No book, no movie, no biography has been ever written on him.
5) Dr. Umar Saif
Dr Umar Saif was named one of the top 35 innovators of the world who are radically transforming technology by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in August, 2011. Along with being known for his work on using Information and Communications Technology solutions for developing world problems, he is also a part of the faculty at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, the founding vice chancellor of the Information Technology University Punjab and established one of the first start-up incubators in Pakistan.
6) Ayesha Farooq
The sky was never the limit for 26-year-old Ayesha Farooq who created history by becoming the first woman assigned to one of Pakistan’s front line fighter squadrons. Hailing from Bahawalpur, she is one of the 19 women who have achieved the rank of pilot in the Pakistan Air Force over the last decade — there are five other female fighter pilots but they have yet to take the final tests to qualify for combat.
7) 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.
8) 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.
9) Mehak Gul
Thirteen-year-old Mehak Gul is the youngest Pakistani to have qualified for the World Chess Olympiad. Gul, who started playing chess at the age of six, has also won several provincial and national chess championships.
10) Ali Moeen Nawazish
Ali Moeen Nawazish did not slow down after he set a world record of acing 21 subjects in the Cambridge Advanced Level examinations in 2009. He went on to set up initiatives such as StepUP Pakistan, which trains teachers and works towards improving the academic curriculum in impoverished areas. His efforts towards uplifting the state of education in the country also earned him the honour of being one of the youngest recipients of the Pride of Performance award.
11) 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.
12) Tahira Qazi
A woman that is beyond words, her courage, and her fortitude to protect the children was beyond belief. Not many could have accomplished what she did. Her actions, her courage, and bravery saved so many and inspired even more. The principal that stood up to the terrorists to protect those children that she was entrusted with. She could have saved herself. Instead, she kept going back to get out her students and ensure they were safe.
13) Shamim Akhtar
Pakistan’s First Female Truck Driver!
A woman driving a truck anywhere in the world raises eyebrows but being the sole female truck driver in Pakistan is a whole new level of badass! Shamim gives us much hope for the future girl-generations of this country.
14) Jehan Ara
Queen of tech and entrepreneurship in Pakistan. Fondly known as the Big Bird, Jehan Ara has been at the forefront of Pakistan’s technology industry for over a decade through the leading startup incubator The Nest i/o. She also received the invitation of speaking at the White House on Entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
15) Samina Khayal Baig
First Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest at 21. Samina encourages young women to become fearful and be bold enough to climb the mountains in their lives. Baig has climbed all the highest peaks in the world, hailing from Shimshal Samina is now popular among women of Pakistan.
16) Azima Zaidi
Prosthetic Limbs Did Not Deter Azima From Pursuing Her Dreams Of Going Abroad For Further Studies! Part of the YES Alumni network, Azima works with NGO’s and charity organizations towards the progression and empowerment of people living with disabilities like herself.
17) Namira Salim
Namira Salim is the first Pakistani to travel into space and has been recognised as the first Pakistani astronaut by the government of Pakistan in 2006. She is also a peace activist and was awarded with the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz in 2011.
Send Us the Story
We tried to enlist all the major unsung heros of Pakistan but there are many out there who are not known at any level. If you know the story of an unsung hero of Pakistan send it to us using the contact form or by mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget to include all the details, achievements and some photos. It will be a pleasure for us to introduce them to Pakistan.