Saima Saleem is making Pakistan proud. Why is that? First of all her persuasive speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was remarkable. Second of all, she did it in Braille. As a UN delegate whose vision is impaired, she did a superb job. In her speech, she demolished Indian propaganda of Pakistan’s support of terrorism in Indian occupied Kashmir. Further, she provided proofs of how the Indian state endorses use of violence against civilians and is accountable before the UN. The speech was in response to an Indian diplomat’s allegations against Pakistan. She wore the colors of Pakistan and read from braille and won hearts.
So what is Saima Saleem’s history?
Who is Saima Saleem?
Saima Saleem is the Second Secretary on Human Rights for Pakistan’s permanent mission to United Nations in Geneva. Her story is full of courage. As when she was a teenager she lost her eyesight. Nevertheless, she stayed a determined student and won gold medal in both Bachelors and Masters from Kinnaird. Further, she insisted on doing exams in Braille in the face of pressure to have someone else write papers for her. She was even more adamant for her CSS exams and became the first blind Civil servant of the country. Moreover, she pushed for a computer based exam and used Screen Reader software to scan the books. When she got sixth position, she compelled the authorities to grant her Foreign Service as a major and became a diplomat.
Not only did she top all her trainings in Foreign Service, but also won the Fulbright scholarship. Hence she got admission in the prestigious School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University USA.
Passion for Human Rights
Her passion for human rights compelled her to join the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and her expertise in human rights raised her to the status of service in Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva (Switzerland). Thus the lady has been highly praised for using braille for the first time in UNGA. She avidly fought for the rights of Indian occupied Kashmiris at the conference. Through her vehement reasoning, she defeated India’s position on Kashmir dispute. Further, she composed the reply using the braille system and delivered with confidence in front of the world body.
I congratulate Saima Saleem, my team member, for successfully putting forward Pakistan's position by exercising right of reply.— Pakistan Permanent Representative to UN (@PakistanPR_UN) September 25, 2021
She spoke using Braille for the first time from UNGA hall.#SaimaSaleem #UNGA 🇵🇰🇺🇳 pic.twitter.com/iy7K8h1HZI
Not only I but the nation is very proud of her. Differently abled with visual impairment, making an excellent speech at the UN. This is the Pakistan that we want where people with talent rise, a land of equal opportunities and compassion. Mashallah! https://t.co/iaGuHKgk71— Dr. Arif Alvi (@ArifAlvi) September 25, 2021
Meet Saima Saleem.— Mir Mohammad Alikhan (@MirMAKOfficial) September 25, 2021
A blind woman. A Diplomat. An icon who is representing Pakistan at The United Nations.
Will any Anchor or Journalist promote this great woman and the bold step of The Foreign Office @ForeignOfficePk for having trust in her abilities ? pic.twitter.com/O74zb2xGk9
Saima Saleem’s emphatic reply was greatly appreciated even by those who did not agree with her. All world leaders present at the UNGA, admired her for her courage. It was a proud moment for all of Pakistan indeed, especially for the women of our country. Thus in Saima’s personality is a huge lesson for all of us. She conquered it all, even while she could not see, but her determination made her win. Her God gifted talents came to light for everyone to witness and established Pakistan amongst the top contenders and defenders of human rights for times to come.