are four: He who knows not and knows not he knows not, he is a
fool — shun him; He who knows not and knows he knows not, he
is simple — teach him; He who knows and knows not he knows, he
is asleep — wake him; He who knows and knows he knows, he is
wise — follow him!. Afrah Shafquat, a small wonder from
Pakistan, belongs to last category who deserves to be followed.
Afrah born on August 25, 1990 stirred the world of Information
Technology when she won the title of world's youngest Sun
Certified Java Programmer (SCJP) on February 14, 2002 at the age
of 11 years 5 months and 19 days. In recognition of her
astonishing achievements, Afrah was given ITCN- Asia 2002
Commemoration Plaque along with her elder sister Afsah Shafquat
on August 12, 2002 at Expo Centre by the CEO of Commerce Net
Singapore. White Grammar School, where she is a student of 7th
class also awarded her with a Gold medal. She is also the
recipient of Incredible Award from Aero Asia Airline. Making
strides right from the beginning Afrah created a national record
for being the youngest student of any Pakistani University at
the age of 10 years and 6 months when she got admission in Sir
Syed University of Engineering and Technology to join Operation
Badar. Afrah became the member of the faculty of Operation Badar
after securing 76 per cent in the final exam of Java
PAGE: Nature is certainly kind enough to endow you
with the brilliance of intelligence enabling you to stand out in the
crowd, however there must be someone to provide you the guidelines
behind all these outstanding performances given by you?
After the blessings of Allah Almighty, credit goes to my parents who
always stood behind me to encourage and provide an environment to go
ahead on the path of success. However the greatest source of inspiration
was my elder sister Afsah Shafquat who entered the hall of fame only a
year ago by winning the title of the youngest Java programmer in 2001.
PAGE: After gaining such an outstanding position in
the much sought after field of Information Technology what is your
objective to achieve in future?
prime objective and efforts revolve around my country that is Pakistan.
It gives me a great sense of satisfaction, pleasure and pride that my
country has got the distinction of being the motherland of a person who
has got some world class distinctions in the field of IT. I would like
to mention an event held in Washington last year. There was seminar held
at Georgetown University, Washington where Salman Ansari, advisor to the
Ministry of Science and Technology shown the slides about me and my two
sisters namely Isbah and Afsah to demonstrate that there is a lot of
potential in Pakistan. All the people at the seminar were thrilled. It
is worth mentioning that 6 Senators, 10 Congressmen, top business
leaders of US and some Pakistani dignitaries including Dr. Maleeha Lodhi,
Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States were present at the seminar.
Salman Ansari as a part of his presentation had shown the pictures of
the three sisters in almost 20 cities of the world in 30 presentations.
Such kinds of events certainly help transmitting a
signal about the capacity of my country in the field of IT and its place
on the world IT map. This certainly gives me a real sense of achievement
that I am a small contributor in image building of my country.
PAGE: Being the youngest as well as IT professional,
you must be receiving offers for scholarships outside the country?
yes! I started getting such types of offers from different institutions,
however my father Dr. Shafquat Mehmood feels that we should stay back
till we got matured age wise and accomplish our academic targets at
PAGE: Would you like sharing your current activities
with our readers?
and my other two sisters, all certified Java programmers, are seriously
and zealously participating in all the activities of Operation Badar to
promote IT education with especial interest to spread awareness in
females and younger generation.
PAGE: The proliferation of information technology
around the world besides making a visible impact on the world economy
has also changed the entire complex of the education sector especially
in Pakistan. Almost every second student is crazy to secure a degree in
computer science or Information Technology. What you would suggest to
the younger people having an ambition to join IT as their major.
having a genuine aptitude for any discipline, the most important role is
played by a strong foundation of education especially at primary level.
In this connection I would like to make a special mention of my school
"White House Grammar School" which really provided me the true
and basic foundation to develop a noticeable academic career.