2019 in review: A recap of all the good things that happened this year

Maybe 2019 wasn't all that bad..

By Maha Ali

KARACHI: We are a few weeks away from 2020 and people have been recapping how the year 2019 went for them. Unsurprisingly, many are expressing their disappointment to how things went for them this year, suggesting a lack of good luck/news.

 In an attempt to revive some optimism about 2019, we have taken the liberty to list some of the good things that the year brought for Pakistan. Enjoy!

1. An increase in rights activism

This year was the year of marches for Pakistan. We had the iconic:

– Transgender Pride March: It took place in January, was the first ever march for the transgender community in Pakistan but it means that we are slowly but surely moving towards recognizing LGBTQ rights.

– Aurat March: This was the second Aurat March, the first one happened on Women’s Day in 2018. This year, it took place in March.

– Climate March: It highlighted the worsening climate changes and called on for the government to handle the potential catastrophe.

– Student Solidarity March: It proved that the youth of the country is demanding student rights and protesting the suppression of student unions.

2. Pakistani sports excellence by women

2019 birthed some incredible Pakistani sports stars that went on to achieve international recognition and medals.

– 8-year-old Pakistani Taekwondo star Ayesha Ayaz won a bronze medal for Pakistan at the 7th Fujairah Taekwondo Open Championship in UAE.

– Women’s football team captain Hajra Khan achieved three football related Guinness World Records.

– Badminton champion Mahnoor Shahzad won the Annapurna International Badminton Tournament. She also won a bronze medal in the recently concluded Bulgarian International Championship 2019, being the only Pakistani in the entire tournament.

– Cricketer Nida Dar became the first Pakistani woman to sign a deal with an international cricket league, Sydney Thunder.

– Karate player Shahida Abbasi from Hazara won one of the total two gold medals for Pakistan at the South Asian Games 2019.

– Figure skater Mallak Faisal Zafar won first position in the Basic Novice Girls II category at the 24th International Eiscup Innsbruck 2019 at just 12 years old!

3. Test cricket returned to Pakistan

After a terrorist attack against the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan, international teams had refused to play in the country for safety reasons. This year, due to the efforts by PCB in regaining the trust of international cricket teams, Sri Lanka agreed to play in Pakistan for a two-test match series, allowing test cricket to return back to the country after almost a decade!

4. Pakistani celebrities made it to international fashion weeks 

– Pakistani models Mushk Kaleem and Alicia Khan walked the ramp for Forbes featured designer Stella Jean,  for her eponymous fashion show at the Milan Fashion Week 2019.

– Actress Mahira Khan represented Pakistan at the Paris Fashion Week ramp alongside celebrities like Camila Cabello, Indian actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, British actress Helen Mirren, actresses Eva Longoria and Amber Heard and many others.

5. Lal Kabootar wins Best Feature Film at an international film festival

Along with several other international accolades, Pakistani film Laal Kabootar won the Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival for the Best Feature Film Award in November this year.

7. Mahira Khan appointed as UNHCR ambassador 

Pakistani actress was awarded the honour of being appointed the role of a National Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, serving as a symbol of partnership between the people of Pakistan and the international community.

8. Mehwish Hayat appointed as Goodwill Ambassador

This year, Mehwish Hayat was appointed ambassador to UK based international humanitarian charity, Penny Appeal. She also announced her participation in next year’s London Marathon (2020) to raise funds in aid of Penny Appeal’s international education campaign.

9. An expansion of concert culture

This year has brought with it an evident shift towards the world of electronic music. With local artists such as Turhan James and DJ Dossa, to international performers like Clean Bandit, Oceanvs Orientalis, Kill the Buzz and FDVM were all part of the major Solis Festival that took place in November. Pakistani entertainment agency Salt Arts have also been hosting concerts and festivals that enrich artists and provide a platform for them to showcase their talent.

10. Maheen Khan, Khadijah Shah designed clothes for Duchess Kate Middleton

Pakistani designer Maheen Khan and Khadijah Shah were among the few designer’s who had the honour of styling the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton when she visited Pakistan in November this year. The outfits were greatly appreciated by Kate who wrote a thank-you note to both designers.

11. Armed with Faith won an Emmy Award

Pakistani documentary Armed with Faith directed by Asad Faruqi won an Emmy for Outstanding Politics and Government Documentary. The film follows the story of men of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bomb Disposal Unit to the front lines of the war against Al-Qaeda & the Taliban in Pakistan.

12. Nine Pakistanis were included in the Forbes 30 under 30 list

A total of 9 Pakistanis made it to Forbes’ coveted 30 under 30 Asia list. The list includes 5 individual and one company:

– Ahmed Rauf Essa: Founder, Telemart

– Karishma Ali: President, Chitral Womens Sports Club

– Laila Kasuri: Water Analyst, Global Green Growth Institute

– Hanaa Lakhani, Hasan Usmani,Gia Farooqi and Moneeb Mian: Cofounders, Roshni Rides

– Zain Ashraf: Founder, Seed Out

– Zainab Bibi: Founder, Pakistan Society for Green Energy (PSGE)

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