KARACHI: For the three 15-year-old students selected to represent Pakistan in one of the largest high school tournaments in the world, The Karl Popper Debating Championship (KPDC), the first-time visit to Mexico became their time to shine.
Not only did the Pakistani team win the final against the team from South Korea, but all three participants were listed in the top 10 speakers of tournament. The titled was achieved after winning through 6 preliminary rounds, 3 elimination rounds and the grand final.
Karachi Grammar School student Zainab Hameed was named the top speaker of the competition while Azeem Liaquat, student of the Salamat International Campus for Advanced Studies in Lahore, came second. Their compatriot, Ahmed Shujaan from the Aitchison College, was not far behind either and bagged the fifth position among more than 200 participants.
Teams from 45 countries came together to debate on a mix of prepared and impromptu motions. The event was a part of the 18th edition of the International Debate Education Association (IDEA) Youth Forum held in Mexico from July 2 to 15.
This topic for the KPDC finals was “Guantanamo Bay prison should be closed down immediately”. Team Pakistan was defending the motion while team Korea had the burden to prove that the motion should not be adopted.
The teams participated in two competitions –the KPDC and the mixed team track. In the former, they represented Pakistan as a team while in the former, they were split up and paired with debaters from other countries.
First time for everything
“It was the first time that Pakistan participated but it was also the first time that any team won with all nine votes of the judges in its favour,” said team Pakistan’s coach, Daniyal Asad, also the general secretary of the Debating Society of Pakistan. Asad also won the best coach cum adjudicator award.
A two-day selection camp, comprising the top 20 speakers at the “Under-17 Pakistan National Debating Championship”, was arranged by the Debating Society of Pakistan in Lahore. The participants were primarily the O’ level or matriculation students out of which Zainab, Ahmed and Azeem were selected.
Asad told The Express Tribune that the society has been running the debating circuit across the country successfully for the past 20 years without help from the government. “Some form of patronage from the government would have helped in grooming the talent.” The expenses of trip were paid by the US-based Open Society Foundations.
After being selected for the competition, a five-day training camp was organised by the debating society in Lahore, following which they continued to research and collaborate for about two weeks through online mediums because Zainab was in Karachi while the other two participants were based in Lahore. “We had a lot of team chemistry right off the bat and that was probably the main reason that we were successful,” said Zainab. She gave credit to the coach and other trainers for strenuously helping them all the way through.
“We didn’t actually have a lot of knowledge about topics like civil liberties and terrorism,” said Zainab while talking about the competition’s theme. “We didn’t even know that the Guantanamo Bay is actually a legal black hole but we had to defend the motion in the finals.” Zainab recaps that the moment their victory was announced, everybody except for the three stunned team members were cheering them on while chanting “Pakistan... Pakistan”.
“It was not only a competition but also a great learning experience during which we got to prove our talent,” said Ahmed.
He recalled one of the most memorable moments for the team when the three performed “bhangra” in traditional Pakistani outfits at the talent night.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2012.
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**they should really be given the highest priority and the output they really deserve
I AM really proud of them especially Ahmed Shujjan that he was brilliant and they shoul be given the highest priority and the output they really deserve
congrats pakistan... very well done..... hope u continue the same in future too!! bhagwaan aapko khush rakhe!!!
Congratulation young team Pakistan!Most talented and vibrant nation under the rule of most incompetent, illiterate and corrupt leadership. If only in next election we can combine this talent with great leadership, the young Pakistani nation can achieve its heights within few years, which usually take decades in other nation.
Congrats to all of them and can anybody share any link where we can see their speech.
@Khan: And we can assume you would vote Zardari to power once more? I am not defending dictators but the blame is 50/50, corrupt self elitist western lifestyle anti Islamic politicians are equally to blame!
Great Job Guys. Proud of you.
What a achievement
Congratulations from Canada! You guys will make your country proud :)
Shining stars of Pakistan!!!!
Times like this, you just sit and smile :) because you are a proud Pakistani
@antanu g "A bad omen for pak bashers …" ....hmm....really???
RESPECT RESPECT RESPECT.
My dear Pakistani Fellows.
Pakistan Zindabad, Pakistanis Zindabad. Bring a change by voting for Khan Sahib.
Zalim singh is a fake ID because you guys all know the meaning of Zalim which means "Cruel" so why would someone have a name Zalim Singh. It is a fake name to cause a problem between Sikhs and Muslims. As a Sikh, i congratulate Pakistani team. Keep up the good work. :-)
Congratulations!!!! Faisal from Washington DC
Welldone to our debating team...............CREAM DE LA CREAM of our nation........i am proud of all of these bright participants especially Ahmad Shujan, I teach him french and he produces same results in his academics too.........I am so proud to be his teacher......... my best wishes for this dynamic team
Thumbs of Guys, you made us proud. Pakistan Zindabad
Congratulations Team Pakistan!
Gr8 Guys !! you have made us proud ,,, Congrates to the whole nation.
Wow - Well Done!!! You guys really made us proud! :')
The Great Debators
First of all i congrats the member......................:) secondly it is good news for Pakistan people and these young blood prove themselves brilliant, superb and marvellous................ and third i pray congrats to there coaches and trainers who produce these young bloods marvellous
Allah app sub ko agay b ishe tarhe ki kamyabiyan da Ameen
PakArmySoldier, not everything is done to win a Nobel prize.
Awesome feat :D Congrats guys!!
Sorry to burst your bubble, but these are all useless exercises. I have never heard of a Nobel prize recipient who was a former debate champion.
Wel done and congrats!
OK, why aren't the girls wearing the Hijab? Shouldn't that get them disqualified? Oh wait... This wasn't a Quran Recitation Competition in Saudi Arabia?
Proud of u azeem I hope u remember ur mathematics teacher best of luck for ur future love ur teacher huma salman
Wow there is ONLY ONE Indian troll in this discussion forum as of my posting this!!! They clog E-Tribune's discussion threads with negative propaganda all the time but whenever something positive about Pakistan is published by this newspaper, they are nowhere in sight.
This shows the hateful mentality of the people with whom we are doing Aman ki Asha. It is so sad we have a neighbor like them.
Congratulations Zainab, Azeem and Ahmed!! You did a beautiful job representing Pakistan and you made this country proud.
A bad omen for pak bashers ...
Great moment for the nation. We believe the young generation is capable of running the country better than the earlier generations. So Pakistan's future is secured.
congrats to the whole team..so proud of u guys :D
To those who are celebrating this including me should also support the motion about the closure of Guantanamo bay.
It has been proved that Pakistani people are unbeatable - well done keep going and don't forget to motivate other Pakistani people to do the same as like you - GOD BLESS YOU -
It has been proved that pakistani people are unbeatable - welldone keep going and dont forget to motivate other pakistani people to do the same as like you - GOD BLESS YOU -
We Can Prove it many more times in any field, "YES WE CAN" change it, many more to go yet: Congrats Mery Aziz Hum Watano :)
this will to show that Pakistan is teh smarterst countries in teh world bcause all pakistani muslim is philosopher and brillant spokers
That's so great! :)
great story noman! :)
It speakes Pakistan has tremedous talent if given a fair chance to compete and prosper. Extremely encouraging news. Well done and keep it up.
Here is the debate link where you can see the debate......
thums up team pakistan
Awesome achievement! Congratulations Team Pakistan, you made the nation proud. I am sure the Indian haters can't digest anything good that's related to Pakistan. Singh's comment above proves my point!!
great job sweets.
From the competition website:
"Pakistani debaters and their coaches faced a lot of difficulties while coming to Mexico, such as the visa process and delayed or missed flights, but they are more than happy to be part of the IDEA Youth Forum and the Karl Popper Debate Championship."
That's Pakistan for you. Swept the two top spots while facing a million obstacles.
"What was the debate them? Is Islam the religion of peace?"
Err no. It was about whether you should be locked up in Guantanamo Bay. Pakistani team successfully defended your civil liberty.
Congrats people!! I love to see you guys at Tribune taking care of our Indian "guests".
kudos kudos kudos! Amazing achievement! You boys and girls have done the country proud!
Well done Team Pakistan and Congrat
The tournament only had 30 teams. Nice achievement for the students, but bad reporting.
Brilliant! Thank God for some good news!
Superb mashaAllah :) Congrats :)
Well done Team Pakistan !
Proud of you young guys and gals. Thank you and Congratulations
well done guys..my sincere advice to you is to leave Pakistan as early as possible because Pakistan has no future for bright resources like you. That is another thing if any one of you wants to be politician..
Wow.. a big achievment.. News to celeberate :)
What was the debate them? Is Islam the religion of peace?
Great job. Pakistan needs ambassadors like you. Congratulations from Peru!!
excellent !!this is just awesome!! they won defending sometihng that our leaders have failed to do!!
Yippeee....some good international news!!!
Congrats! Well Done! Well Well Done :)
I am proud of my next Generation. keep it up.
A proud moment for the country!
Well done guys .. How unfortunate is this that even after 65 years we are unable to have same type of education system in public schools & colleges. A big chunk of this failure goes to all those dicators who had full power and decades of rein but didn't pursue long term policies.
great job, Pakistan needs such representation all over the world.
Well done Team Pakistan and Congrats.