Arfa Karim Randhawa - (1995 - 14 January 2012)
Arfa Karim Randhawa was a Pakistani student and computer prodigy, who in 2004 at the age of nine years became the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCPs) in the world, a title she kept until 2008. She was invited by Bill Gates to visit the Microsoft Headquarters in USA.
Arfa was born in a Jatt Randhawa family and hailed from the village of Chak No. 4JB Ram Dewali in Faisalabad, Punjab. On returning to Pakistan, Arfa had numerous interviews with television and newspapers. In August 2005, Arfa Karim received the Fatimah Jinnah Gold Medal in the field of Science and Technology, presented by the Prime Minister of Pakistan at that time. She also received the Salaam Pakistan Youth Award again in August 2005 by the President of Pakistan. Arfa Karim is also the recipient of the President’s Award for Pride of Performance. This is a very high level civil award granted to people who have shown excellence in their respective fields over a long period of time. Arfa is the youngest recipient of that award.
Arfa Karim has also represented Pakistan on various international forums, she was invited by the IT Professionals of Dubai for a stay of two weeks in Dubai. A dinner reception was hosted for her there, which was attended by the diagnostics of Dubai including the Ambassador of Pakistan. During that trip, Arfa was presented with various medals and awards. She also flew a plane in a flying club in Dubai at the age of 10, and received the first flight certificate.
In November 2006, Arfa Karim was invited by Microsoft to be a part of the keynote session in the Tech-Ed Developers conference held in Barcelona. She was the only Pakistani among over 5000 developers in that conference.
As of 2011, at the age of 16, Arfa Karim was studying at the Lahore Grammar School Paragon Campus in her second year of A Levels. She suffered from cardiac arrest after an epileptic seizure on December 22, 2011 and was admitted to Lahore’s Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in critical condition.
On January 2, 2012 Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani visited the hospital with his daughter Fiza Batol Gilani to inquire about the health of Arfa Karim Randhawa.
On January 9, 2012, Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft, has made contact with Arfa’s parents, and directed his doctors to adopt “every kind of measure” for her treatment. Gates’ doctors contacted Arfa’s Pakistani doctors and received details about the illness through internet. On the other hand, relatives and family members of Arfa have lauded Bill Gates for contacting to bear her treatment expenses.
On January 13, 2012, Arfa Karim started to improve and some parts of her brain showed signs of improvement. Arfa felt desperately ill the previous month and doctors said that she had suffered brain damage, leaving her in a coma at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Lahore.
Her father, Amjad Karim Randhawa, said Microsoft had raised the possibility of flying Arfa to the US for care.
On January 14, 2012 16-year-old Arfa Karim died at 9:50 PM (Pakistan Standard Time) at Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Lahore. Her Namaz-e-Janaza was offered in Cavalry Ground Lahore at 10 a.m. on January 15, 2012. The funeral was attended by Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif.