LAHORE: Arfa Karim, 16 years old, child prodigy, inspiration, youngest certified Microsoft Professional in the world and winner of the president’s Pride of Performance, breathed her last on Saturday night at the Combined Military Hospital in Lahore.
The teenage genius suffered an attack on that which had given her recognition and made her a source of inspiration for young and old across the country – her brain. Arfa had an epileptic attack on December 22 and had been in a coma since, while well-wishers prayed and watched her progress closely.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Major Ahsan Randhawa, Arfa’s uncle, articulated the family’s grief as best as he could. “We are grieving her loss but she was a strong child”, he said – adding “she was God’s gift to us and now she has returned to Him”.
Arfa is to be buried in her ancestral village, close to Faisalabad. She had always identified herself with her roots, and had said proudly once that although she came from a ‘low-profile’ family, she wanted to study all over the world and then come back to help the people in her village.
The child prodigy, who was on life support at the Intensive Care Unit while the nation watched with bated breath, suffered a complication on Saturday evening when she was shifted to the emergency room. Major Ahsan Randhawa said that a tracheotomy tube (tracheal tube entered into the trachea through a minor incision), which had been recently inserted to facilitate her breathing, resulted in bleeding in the throat. Previously the tracheal tube had been inserted via her mouth. She was immediately shifted to the operating theatre where Arfa lost her battle for life.
Major Ahsan Randhawa added that Arfa had been doing fine prior to the complication. ”She had no complication prior to the bleeding,” he said adding “everything just happened so suddenly”. Arfa was declared dead soon after.
“She wasn’t being operated for surgery, she had been shifted to emergency because of the bleeding,” he said.
Arfa’s funeral prayers will be offered at the Ayub stadium in Cantonment at 10 am on Sunday. Later, her body will be shifted to Faisalabad where another funeral prayer will be offered at D Ground in People’s Colony in Faisalabad at 2 pm.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2012.