By Tariq Butt for The Gulf Today
Funeral prayers of the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) Arfa Karim Randhawa, who passed away on Saturday night after protracted illness, were held in Lahore on Sunday.
The prayers, held in Cavalry Ground, were attended by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and her close family members. Her coffin was draped in the national flag. She was 16. The teenage genius suffered an attack.
She got recognition and became her a source of inspiration for young and old across Pakistan. Arfa had an epileptic attack on Dec.22 and had been in a coma since.
Well-wishers prayed and watched her progress closely.
On Dec.29, doctors said there was no hope for her survival, and that her life support could be switched off any time. However, she had then miraculously responded to certain stimuli, as recently as Jan.13.
Two more funeral prayers will be held for Arfa, one in Faislabad and another in her ancestral village where she is to be buried.
As Pakistanis mourned the loss of the child prodigy, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also expressed their grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Arfa. They prayed to Allah Almighty to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant courage to the bereaved family to bear the loss with fortitude.
Jamaat-e-Islami head Syed Munawar Hasan expressed grief at the death.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain said that Pakistan has lost “precious talent” in Arfa. He expressed grief at Arfa’s demise and has sympathised with the bereaved family members and prayed for Arfa’s soul.
Arfa became the world’s youngest Microsoft certified professional in 2004 at the age of nine. She was also invited to the Microsoft headquarters in the US by Bill Gates for being the world’s youngest MCP.
Gates had also offered to conduct the child legend’s treatment in the US, but the doctors advised against transporting her to the US due to the risk involved. However, the doctors continued her treatment in consultation with specialists in the United States.
Arfa had earned the Fatima Jinnah Gold Medal in the field of science and technology and the Salam Pakistan Youth Award in 2005 for her achievements. She is also the youngest recipient of the President’s Award for Pride of Performance.
She earned her first flight certificate by flying a plane at a flying club in Dubai at the age of 10, and was invited by Microsoft in 2006 to be a keynote speaker at the Tech-Ed Developers Conference, where she was the only Pakistani among over 5,000 developers.
Arfa represented her country Pakistan on a variety of international forum. She was also included as the honourable guest by IT Professionals of Dubai for two weeks stay in Dubai. During that trip, Arfa was awarded by a number of medals and awards from various tech societies and computer companies working in Dubai.
Arfa was a genius who had left an indelible mark on the international IT scene, winning millions of hearts in Pakistan and abroad for her excellence. The death of the child sensation had left millions of people, along with her family, relatives and friends, grieved over this national tragedy.