January 16, 2012 by staff
Arfa Kareem, FAISALABAD: Arfa Karim, the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional, was laid to rest in her ancestral village Ramdewali, near Faisalabad, amid tears from family, friends and strangers.
Even the heavens opened, as a light drizzle fell during the funeral procession.
The flag-draped coffin had been taken to Faisalabad from Lahore, where, despite the cold, a large number of people from all walks of life gathered to mourn. The turnout was reflective of how Arfa’s story has brought the nation together in grief for her death and admiration for her brilliance, as it included IT students, public representatives, social and religious activists, NGO workers, military officers and government officials.
Hundreds of female students also thronged the funeral on the arrival of the dead body.
Qari Ashraf, who led the funeral prayer, said that “Arfa was not only extraordinarily brilliant in Information Technology but was also very fond of Hamd, Naat and Allama Iqbal’s poetry.”
Arfa’s father, Colonel (Retd) Amjad Karim Randhawa, told the media his daughter “was a gift of God to me and now He has taken it back.”
“I am proud of being the only person in the world whose daughter was recognised as the youngest Microsoft professional certificate holder at the age of just nine years,” he said. “We provided every possible opportunity and encouragement to develop her abilities.”
Describing his daughter as wise beyond her years, Randhawa lamented that “we could not see her genius flourish.”
Recalling Arfa’s meeting with Bill Gates, Randhawa said that the Microsoft founder was stunned to see Arfa promptly answering all his technical questions. Gates acknowledged Arfa’s qualities and his company contacted her family when she was admitted to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Lahore for treatment.
“Microsoft’s doctors were in touch with the CMH doctors and provided assistance in diagnosis, prescriptions and treatment for Arfa,” Randhawa said.
Randhawa fondly highlighted his daughter’s qualities, saying that she always had positive approach towards everything. “She had a creative mind and always wanted to do something extraordinary far beyond her age,” he said. “Arfa always surprised her teachers and class fellows with her intelligence and thought-provoking questions.”
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