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Saima Saleem: Helen Keller of Pakistan

She was born on August 10, 1984. She had been fascinated with reading since childhood, but an inherited disease began to take away her eyesight and she lost the great blessing of seeing at the age of 13.

Her parents loved their daughter dearly, they encouraged her daughter and Aziz Jahan got her early education from Trust School. She passed her BA examination in English Literature in the first division from Conrad College for Women's University and after completing her higher education from there passed the CSS examination and dreamed of serving her country. He had to work hard to make this dream a reality.

The Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC), which conducts CSS exams, has refused to take computerized exams. However, their efforts paid off and in 2005 an ordinance was passed by the President of Pakistan allowing computerized examinations for the blind.

Under the same law, she took the CSS 2007 exam and won first place in the overall sixth and women's. Then when it came to their deployment, FPSC gave the option of deployment in only 4 groups (Accounts, Commerce, Information, and Postal). But she wanted to go to the Foreign Service, which was not mentioned here.

During the interview, the panel also asked, "Is he satisfied with the groups offered for his deployment?" So he gave a clear answer, "No, I'm not satisfied." I should be assigned to the group based on the position I got after the competitive exam.

His request was approved by the then Prime Minister. Thus, in 2009, she became Pakistan's first blind diplomat. She is currently serving as Pakistan's Secretary-General for the Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, and we know her as 'Saima Saleem'.

On the occasion of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, he fully responded to the Indian allegations against Pakistan. For the first time in the General Assembly, a Pakistani read and answered in Braille. Of course, Pakistan is proud of a brave woman like Saima Saleem. He can also be called the 'Helen Keller' of Pakistan who did not let physical disability stand in the way of her success.

We should promote such role models at home and abroad so that other people can also be encouraged. Saima Saleem continued her dedication to education and in 2019 she received her LLM degree in International Law (Specialization in International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law) from the University of Geneva (Switzerland).

Prior to that, she attended Georgetown University of Foreign Service in 2012 on a Full Bright Scholarship. He is also a writer and motivational speaker. She was also awarded the Fatima Jinnah Gold Medal on the occasion of International Women's Day and the Quaid-e-Azam Gold Medal for Outstanding Educational Performance.

His brother Yousuf Saleem is Pakistan's first blind judge. These brothers and sisters have set an example of determination. He has proved that if the intentions are strong, the destination can be found in any situation. These shining examples should be placed before the society so that the importance of education is known to all.

Of course, education is the only key that can open the door to rapid development. It is a bitter truth that the abomination of our class-divided education system is now becoming more apparent. After the Corona shock to the economy, there has been a storm of inflation that has wiped out the purchasing power of the people. Educational fees have become the biggest problem for parents. To my knowledge, there are many people who have been forced to change their children's schools due to fee issues.

Let's admit that private schools have become a 'mafia', they do not reduce fees, but what is the reason for the continuous increase in fees of public universities? Due to the increase in these fees, many white people have been unable to provide higher education to their children.

Should the government at least keep the fees of public universities accessible to the general public? Where will a laborer or day laborer who earns Rs? 700 to Rs. 1000 in a day pay Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000 per semester for his child?

Education, health and law and order are the basic needs that it is the responsibility of the government in any country to meet. How good it would have been if only one-semester fee had been waived for university students in the same way that the government started the Ehsas program.

The biggest obstacle to Pakistan's development is political instability and unsustainable policies. Despite a million differences with the PML-N's political stance and performance, the policy of 'refunding' the fees of students studying in the university during his tenure was excellent, thanks to which millions of students completed their higher education. In other words, students who scored more than 60% were given half of the semester's fee back after some time.

This policy was abolished as soon as the pro-government government left. If this policy had been continued or further improved, it would not have been abolished altogether. In its place, a new scholarship was introduced which was a good development but a large number of students are not benefiting from this scholarship. The government should focus on this.

On the other hand, it is a welcome and encouraging thing that the trend of using 'motorcycle' among the girls of the cities of South Punjab (my hometown) is increasing.

Thus, girls who could not go to school or college by rickshaw, bus, and van have started riding motorcycles. Although the number of these girls is not high, it is a good start and should be encouraged. About 51% of Pakistan's population is women. If they play an active role in the development of the country, good hopes can be pinned on the future.

Salman Ahmed Sufi is from Bahawalpur. He holds a Masters's in Urdu and an M.Phil in Business Administration. He is a lecturer by profession. He is also a poet and enjoys writing and reading books.



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