Which faces do you know Pakistan by?

‘Moslem girl of Pakistan’, May 9, 1955, 20 cents

It’s alright to be honest. Do let me know, and suggest any other people you think I should add. Categories:
– Prodigies
– Models
– Sports personalities
– Musicians
– Fiction writers
– Poet philosophers
– Public intellectuals
– Entrepreneurs
– Activists
– Actors
– Dancers
– Painters
– Soldiers
– Politicos
– Terrorists

NB: none of these faces died before the 1930s, when the Pakistan movement began

Its prodigies?

Arfa Karim Randhawa became the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional at age 9

Babar Iqbal, who broke Arfa’s record to become the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional at age 9 less days

Sufiah Yusof gained admission to Oxford at age 13 to study mathematics

Ali Moeen Nawazish broke the previous record of taking 13 A-levels in a year by taking 23 (and getting 21 As)

Hanif J, who quadruple majored at college, graduated with a CGPA of 3.997 and joined McKinsey at age 19, now runs a fund of socially responsible investments

Its models?

Yasmeen Ghauri

Mariyah Moten

Its sports personalities?

Jahangir Khan, won 555 consecutive matches, the longest winning streak recorded in squash. He won the World Open six times and British Open a record 10 times.

Jansher Khan won the World Open a record 8 times and the British Open six times. Six years Jahangir’s junior, he won 19/37 of his encounters in tournaments with Jahangir Khan (not related, but also from Peshawar)

Pakistan’s field hockey team, the most successful hockey team in the world, having won the world cup four times (1971, 1978, 1982, 1994) and the Olympics three times (1960, 1968, 1984)

Hassan Sardar, scored 11 goals in his first Word Cup in Mumbai, 1982 (a world record). Crushed India with a hat-trick, in the 1982 Asia Games to win the game 7-1. Instrumental in Pakistan’s Gold medal victory in the 1984 Olympics

Imran Khan, captained Pakistan’s first ever world-cup victory in cricket, ranked as the best post World War I test cricket bowler and considered one of the game’s best all-rounders of all time.

Also known for his off-field sport of bedding English aristocracy and involvement in national politics. Of Imran Khan, novelist Zadie Smith remarks,

‘There have always been and always will be people who simply exude sex (who breathe it, who sweat it.) A few examples from thin air: the young Brando, Madonna, Cleopatra, Pam Grier, Valentino, a girl called Tamara who lives opposite the London Hippodrome, right slap in the middle of town; Imran Khan, Michaelangelo’s David. You can’t fight that kind of marvellous indiscriminate power, for it is not always symmetry or beauty per se that does it [ . . . ] and there are no means by which you can gain it.’

Fazal Mahmood, Pakistan’s first fast bowler, and the inspiration who made Pakistan a cricketing nation. Took 12 test wickets in 1952 against India, to secure a victory by an innings in Pakistan’s second ever international match. Also won Pakistan a test match on its first tour of England, the only time a nation has ever done this, by taking 12 wickets in the fourth and final test match to square the series 1-1.

Diabetic Wasim Akram, the most talented fast bowler in cricket. Possessed a different delivery for each ball of the over and a master of reverse swing. Formidable slogger as well. Strike bowler for the ’92 team that won Pakistan its first World Cup. Together with speedster Waqar Younis, made one of the game’s best bowling partnerships and made Pakistan a leading test cricket nation in the early ’90s

Shoaib Akhtar, the only bowler to have officially bowled a legal ball faster than 100mph (Brett Lee did not).

Perhaps the third higest strike rate for a bowler with more than 170 test wickets after Pakistani great Waqar Younis and West Indian legend Malcolm Marshall

Javed Miandad, colourful character of cricket known for his temper and bat-wielding at fast bowler Dennis Lilee, key batsman in the world cup ’92 winning game. Also won a legendary ODI against India in Sharjah 1986 with four runs needed to win off the last ball – shot a six


Amir Khan, British Pakistani who became world light welterweight boxing champion in 2009

Inzamam ul Haq, the teddy bear of cricket for much of the ’90s and 2000s. Key batsman in the ’92 squad that won Pakistan’s first world cup

Hanif Mohammed

Shahid Afridi, set a world record (still unbeaten) by scoring 100 runs off of 37 balls on his batting debut against Sri Lanka at the tender (and disputed) age of 16. Played a key-role with his lethal spin and his big hitting in Pakistan’s 2009 Twenty20 World Cup victory. Holds the highest career strike rate for batting in the history of the game

Aisam ul Haq Qureshi, one half of the ‘Indo-Pak Express’ with Rohan Bopara, made the grand-slam men’s doubles’ final in the US Open, 2010, as well as the mixed doubles’ final with Kveta Peschke

Its musicians?

Noor Jehan

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Abida Parveen

Iqbal Bano

Ali Zafar

Atif Aslam

Shahram Azhar and Taimur Rahman with Laal

Zeb and Haniya

Pappu Sain

Salman Ahmad with Junoon

Junaid Jamshed with Vital Signs

Nazia and Zoheb Khan

Nadia Ali, an American Pakistani who made number 2 on the UK singles chart with Rapture as the front-woman and songwriter for iiOat the age of 21

Basim Usmani with The Kominas

Daniyal Noorani

Its fiction writers?

Hanif Muhammad, author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes

‘[General Zia] underlined the words barbaric, wily dictator, our government’s fundamentalist friend who is relentlessly marching his country back in time. With every line he underlined, his blood pressure went up. His left eye twitched. He picked up the phone and called his information minister [ . . . ], “What kind of name is Sulzberger? [ . . . ] Is it Christian, Jewish or Hindu?”

Hanif Kureishi

British Pakistani novelist and screenplay writer. Author of The Buddha of Suburbia, The Black Album, Intimacy, The Body, Something to Tell You. Short story collections: Love in a Blue Time, Midnight All Day. Screenplays: Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, London Kills Me, My Beautiful Laudrette, My Son the Fanatic, Hanif Kureishi Plays One, Sleep With Me, The ‘Mother’, Venus

‘Shahid was reminded of his uncle Asif, a journalist in Pakistan, who liked to assert that the only people who spoke good English now were subcontinentals. “They gave us the language but it is only we who know how to use it.”

Uncle Asif, in whose house he and Chilli used to stay every winter, lying in hammocks beneath the mango trees in the courtyard and discussing which parties to attend, liked to entertain his nephews with his satirical views. He’d say that the Pakistanis in England now had to do everything; win the sports, present the news and run the shops and businesses as well as having to fuck the women. “Your country’s gone to the wogs!” He labelled this “the brown man’s burden.”‘

Sara Suleri, author of Meatless Days; and Boys will be Boys: A Daughter’s Elegy. Professor of English at Yale

Mohsin Hamid, author of Mothsmoke and The Reluctant Fundamentalist

‘I was reminded of Lahore and of that saying, so evocative in our language: the ruins proclaim the building was beautiful.

Saadat Hasan Manto

Bapsi Sidhwa – Novels include Water, An American Brat, Ice Candy Man, The Bride, The Crow Eaters

Daniyal Mueenuddin, short stories published in The New Yorker

Ali Sethi author of The Wish Maker

Kamila Shamsie

Wajahat Ali, author of the play Domestic Crusaders

Its poet philosophers?

Muhammed Iqbal

Faiz Ahmad Faiz

Its public intellectuals?

Aitzaz Ahsan, voted fifth on Foreign Policy’s list of top public intellectuals. Lead counsel for ousted Supreme Court justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. Formerly president of the Pakistani supreme court bar association, minister for law, chair of the Pakistan People’s Party, a senator, and a founder and vice-president of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Iftikhar Chaudhry, supreme court chief justice of Pakistan who said no to President General Musharraf, was sacked, sparked a lawyer’s movement against a military regime and was reinstated under a democratic government. Awarded the Harvard Law School’s highest honour, the Medal of Freedom and named one of the 27 bravest thinkers by Atlantic Monthly

Muhammed Ali Jinnah – one of the few people on Earth to have carved out their own state

Rahmat Ali – While a student at Cambridge in 1933, coined the name ‘Pakistan’ for an Indian Muslim homeland: an acronym (Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh and Balochistan) as well as meaning ‘Land of the Pure’

Mahbub ul Haq – economist who pioneered the field of human development theory and founded the Human Development Report, used by UNDP. Died before he could receive the Nobel prize, Amartya Sen, his life-long colleague, received it

Abdus Salam – awarded the physics Nobel for his work in electroweak theory

Ayesha Jalal, author of the thesis that Jaswant Singh famously upheld and was expelled from the BJP for by blaming partition on Nehru, rather than on Jinnah. Jalal is a Professor of History at Tufts University and a MacArthur (genius) Fellow.

Books include: The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan; Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia; Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam since 1850; The State of Martial Rule: the Origins of Pakistan’s Military Economy of Defence; Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia: a comparative and historical perspective

Sued Columbia University for not giving her tenure because they had received corporate Indian funding

Tariq Ali Former Oxford student union president and current editor of the New Left Review. Prolific fiction and non-fiction writer. Some books: Clash of fundamentalisms: crusades, jihads and modernity (2002), Bush in Babylon (2003), Street-fighting years: an autobiography of the sixties (2005), Rough music, Blair, Bombs, Baghdad, London, Terror (2005), The Leopard and the Fox; The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power (2008)

tariq ali

Ahmed Rashid – Central Asia expert, author of Taliban; Jihad; Descent into Chaos

Adil Najam,blogs at pakistaniat.com Professor of International Relations and Director fo the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University. Books co-edited/co-authored include Envisioning a Sustainable Development Agenda for Trade and Environment (2007); Portrait of a Giving Community (2007); Environment, Development and Human Security (2003); Civic Entrepreneurship (2002); and was one of 450 lead authors of the Third and Fourth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for which the IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel peace prize with Al Gore

Asim Khwaja, Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School

Khaled Ahmed, contributing editor at The Friday Times, author of Pakistan: behind the ideological mask (2000) and Sectarian War in Pakistan

Ayesha Siddiqa – author of Military Inc: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy

Ziauddin Sardar, journalist and author of many books, including Desparate Seeking Paradise: Journeys of a Sceptical Muslim

‘”Do I look like a deranged dictator to you,” he demanded. The whole table was stunned and immediately everyone seemed to find their food fascinating. I was conscious of turmoil in my inner self. Diplomacy is not my strong suit; tact, caution and a prudential turn of phrase have long been strangers to my nature. My instant reaction was to shout out: “YES!” I wrestled spontaneity to a draw and merely sat still and quiet. There is a famous Latin epithet to the effect that silence is assent; this would have to do.’

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy – Produced and reported on 13 films for major networks in the US and UK. Winner of the duPont Columbia University award, first non-American journalist to be awarded the Livingston Award, youngest recipient of the One World Media broadcast journalist of the year award in the UK, Overseas Press Club Award, The American women and Radio and Television award, The Cine Golden Eagle Award, The Banff TV Rockie award and the South Asian Journalist Award

Responsible for this piece of brilliance: PAKISTAN: Children of the Taliban

Eqbal Ahmad Books: Terrorism, theirs and ours; Confronting empire


Akbar S Ahmed

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Founder of the Jamaat e Islami party in Pakistan and a major Islamist thinker of the 20th century

Fazlur Rehman Malik – Described by M. Yahya Birt of the Association of Islam Researchers as “probably the most learned of the major Muslim thinkers in the second-half of the twentieth century, in terms of both classical Islam and Western philosophical and theological discourse”

Farhat Hashmi – Founder of Al Huda International, a chain of centres that teaches helps common women acquire Quranic knowledge

Husain Haqqani, former Boston University associate professor of international relations, current Pakistan ambassador to the USA

Its entrepreneurs?

Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, owner of the Independent Media Corporation which includes the most popularly read Urdu newspaper Jang and the English newspaper The News  as well as Geo TV, launched in 2002.  This channel’s broadcast of Zara Sochiye, which discussed the legitimacy of Gen Zia ul Haq’s ridiculous rape and witness laws between civil society leaders and Muslim scholars. The programme facilitated the laws’ reforms.

Geo TV broadcast critical reportage of the Musharraf’s handling of protesters when the lawyers movement to restore the chief justice began. It continues to broadcast critical reporting of the government

Syed Babar Ali founded what is now Pakistan’s premier social sciences university, LUMS, in 1984, and which sent a team which won the world Model UN competition in China in 2006 against competition from Harvard, Berkeley, Cambridge etc and which won one of only two ‘Outstanding Delegation’ awards at the Harvard World Model UN conference in Belgium 2009. Syed Babar Ali set up a number of companies, including Pakistan’s largest paper and board mill. Was president of WWF International and finance minister of Pakistan in 1993. Is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations

Arif Naqvi, founder and CEO of Abraaj Capital, the largest private equity firm in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, with $6.6B under management. Naqvi is a member of the World Economic Forum and is rumoured to have donated $100m of his personal fortune to the Aman Foundation

Asad Jamal, founder and Chairman of ePlanet Ventures, ranked number 8 on Forbes‘ Midas List of top 100 venture capital firms

Zain Latif, closed a deal worth $125 million before age 23, made VP at Merrill Lynch by 23, Executive Director at Goldman Sachs at 24 and started up his own private equity venture, TLG Capital, by 25. TLG Capital invests in high-return socially beneficial projects, such as a pharmaceutical factory in Uganda which creates affordable AIDS and malaria drugs

Azeem Ibrahim, from a council estate in Glasgow to one of Scotland’s richest men by age 33, and with a PhD from Cambridge on the way

Mian Muhammad Munsha, of the Nishat Group, the first Pakistani to make the Forbes list of billionaires in 2010.

Agha Hasan Abedi founded the BCCI bank in 1972, which, within a decade, became the 7th largest bank in the world (worth over $20 B), with operations in 78 countries.

Its activists?

Abdul Sattar Edhi – Founder of the Edhi Foundation, which has the largest private ambulance service network in the world. Also holds the record for the longest time worked without having taken a holiday. Aims to have a hospital in Pakistan every 5km. Recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay public service award, Lenin Peace Prize and Balzan Prize. Refuses donations from governments and religious organisations because of attached conditions

Bilquis Edhi – Recipient of the same prizes as her husband and founder of the Bilquis Edhi foundation, the nurse lives with her medical doctor husband in a two room apartment attached with one of their orphanages. Born in the same year as Pakistan, is referred to by some as the ‘Mother of Pakistan’

Mukhtaran Mai – Survivor of gang rape, a punishment meted out to her because of her brother’s involvement with another woman. She used government compensation money awarded to her to build a girl’s school and a boy’s school near her village to educate her community so that future honour punishments of the kind that she experienced would never happen again.

Her case gained much publicity and she has been flooded with support and grant money, which she has put to charitable use. Named Glamour Woman of the Year in 2005 and recipient of the North-South Prize from the Council of Europe in 2007 for her courageous work

Asma Jahangir, human rights lawyer who risks her life for her work for clients who are victims of domestic violence. Won a seminal case in Asma Jilani v Government of Punjab (1972) as Supreme Court Chief Justice Yakub Ali declared General Yahya Khan an illegal usurper and all the actions of his martial government as illegal. Winner of the Ramon Magsaysay public service award and UNIFEM’s Millenium Prize together with her sister Hina Jilani.

Co-author with Hina Jilani of Divine Sanction? The Hudood Ordinance (1988, 2003) and also author of “Children of a Lesser God: Child Prisoners of Pakistan” (1992)

Hina Jilani, human rights lawyer who risks her life for her work

Dr Pervez Hoodhboy

Ardeshir Cowasjee

Samira Munir

Rushy Rashid Hojbjerg

Tehmina Durrani

Its actors?

Ali Saleem, popularly known as his alias Begum Nawazish Ali. Cross dresses as a woman, interviews his guests on Pakistani TV with banter and innuendo

Riz Ahmed, British Pakistani who has starred in Rage (with Judy Dench and Jude Law); Shifty; Baghdad Express; The Path to 9/11; Banglatown Banquet; The Road to Guantanamo; Britz; and Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam

Zia Moheyuddin

Faran Tahir, who has acted in Star Trek, 24, Charlie Wilson’s War, Sleeper Cell, Grey’s Anatomy, Alias, Lost and Disney’s non-animated The Jungle Book

Its dancers?

Nahid Siddiqui

Its painters?

Abdur Rahman Chughtai

Ismail Guljee known for his modern calligraphy


Iqbal Hussain portrays the women around him, his mother, grandmother, sisters, aunts – prostitutes

Shazia Sikander

Its soldiers?

Muhammad Mahmood Alam, claimed to have shot down 9 Indian fighters in air-to-air combat, 5 of them in less than a minute, during the 1965 Indo-Pak war

AQ Khan, architect of Pakistan’s military nuclear programme as well as suspected disseminator of nuclear technology to North Korea and possibly Iran

Its politicos?

Sultan Mohammed Shah Aga Khan III – One of the founders and the first president of the All-India Muslim League which advocated for the creation of Pakistan and served as President of the League of Nations from 1937-38. Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims from age 7 till death. Founder of the Aga Khan Development Network, one of the largest private development networks in the world.

Race horse lover: owned a record equalling five winners of the Epsom Derby, 16 winners of British Classic Races. Gifted Queen Elizabeth II Astrakhan who won at Hurst Park Racecourse in 1950

Benazir Bhutto – charismatic kleptocrat who edged out her siblings to inherit leadership of her father’s Pakistan People’s Party, her prior experience being that she had been president of the Oxford student union. Twice elected prime minister. Promised much, yet passed not one piece of legislation in her first term. Notoriously corrupt. Assassinated after she returned to Pakistan riding on the wave of the movement for a restored judiciary, a movement she was going to undermine with a deal Musharraf (forced upon him by US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice) which would have kept the deposed Chief Justice Ifitkhar Chaudhry deposed

Asif Ali Zardari, beneficiary of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and the murder of her brother, committed by policemen under her prime ministership. Currently the president of Pakistan, ‘Mr 10%’ has a rating of less than 18% (he was indirectly voted in by the National Assembly)

Zia ul Haq, architect of the USSR’s demise with US financing. Also helped found the Taliban, brought in foolish rape laws into Pakistan and walked Pakistan back through several centuries of social progress. Fundamentalist icon

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, eloquent Pakistani foreign minister under Ayub Khan, as well as a populist demagogue. Founded the Pakistan People’s Party. Responsible for the secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan. Nationalised ten categories of industries and set Pakistan back decades in terms of economic development. First Asian Senator of Berkeley’s student government

To Bhutto as foreign minister, President John F Kennedy said, “If you were an American, you’d be in my cabinet.” Zulfi retorted: “Be careful, Mr. President. If I were American, I’d be in your place.” They laughed

Pervez Musharraf brought India and Pakistan on the verge of war with his failed adventure at Kargil, for which he was to be fired by Nawaz Sharif, but instead launched a bloodless coup. The public, tired of betrayal by two democratically elected prime ministers (Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif) who had looted the country of its resources, were apathetic to Musharraf’s initial claim to power.

Allowed for the proliferation of satellite and cable TV, a force, it is argued, he could not have fought. Ultimately it was to be this force which was to be his undoing, capturing and propagating images of how TV stations that aired anti-Musharraf protests during the lawyer’s movement were ransacked by the police

Ayub Khan

Nawaz Sharif – a steal mill industrialist, twice elected as prime minister when Benazir Bhutto’s terms were ended prematurely, and approximately as corrupt. Sharif did not complete either of his terms either (see Musharraf for how his second ended). Product of military backing against the PPP and espoused illiberal, regressive ‘Islamic’ values, and jailed The Friday Times editor Najam Sethi on charges of sedition for a speech given in India. Has more recently  come off as a reformed politician with liberal principles as he supported the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry till the CJ was indeed reinstated, but this may also be because the reinstatement invalidates Musharraf’s rule and jeopardises Musharraf’s amnesty of charges of corruption against Zardari

Shaukat Aziz, a former top four exec at Citi turned finance minister under Musharraf, turned prime minister who ushered in a wave of foreign direct investment

Nawab Akbar Bugti

Fazl ul-Rahman

Sherry Rehman

Its terrorists?

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, leader of Lashkar e Taiba, held responsible for the Mumbai attacks of 2008

Altaf Hussain, founder and leader of the MQM thug party with its roots in Karachi. Co-founded with the help of Gen Zia ul Haq to counter the PPP’s strength in Sindh. Hussain is responsible for inciting mass murder in the city of Karachi. The British government has turned down multiple extradition requests

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed

Mohammed Sidique Khan

Rashid Rauf

Baitullah Mehsud, head of the umbrella Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, c. 12-20k fighters in South Waziristan/FATA

Hakimullah Mehsud

Hakimullah Mehsud

Maulana Sufi Mohammad

Maulana Sufi Mohammad

Mangal Bagh,leader of Lashkar-e-Islami, perhaps 10,000 fighters

Mangal Bagh

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