I-Day logo contest winner awaits prize money

LAHORE - Sabah Zaman, winner of the ‘Mein Hun Pakistan’ (I am Pakistan) competition, is awaiting Rs500,000 prize money from the government of Pakistan even two months after conclusion of a logo design contest.

The competition to design a logo for the 70th Independence Day of Pakistan was held under the aegis of the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) in Islamabad. As many as 200 students submitted 400 entries and the logo designed by Sabah won the first prize. The logo was later unveiled at the PNCA.

Sources in the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage told The Nation that the prize money file was pending with the ministry and the case would be approved in the next few days.

The government had spent huge money on the competition wherein the logo designed by Sabah, a student of the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), won the first prize.

Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb had announced that Sabah had won the contest and “will be awarded Rs500,000 by the Government of Pakistan”.

Once the logo was unveiled, there was a severe backlash from Sabah’s competitors who said the logo was not good enough to win the first prize.

Talking to The Nation, Sabah said, “I don’t mind criticism if it’s positive and constructive. I am sure many people could do better than me but it was really depressing when I was threatened that I should be killed or my hands should be chopped off for my poor design winning the competition. For a couple of days I did not leave my home out of fear of reprisal. However, my friends, family and teachers supported me.”

Sabah said that her design had to go through the judges twice. “First, when I submitted the design and then when I won the award people accused me of picking the design from a website, Shutterstock. The jury again checked the design and found it to be original.”

Sabah clarified that she did not have any links with anyone in the jury or the government. “I belong to an average Pakistani family with no links to anyone in power who could influence outcome of the competition.”

She believes that she was targeted because she is a girl. “People think women cannot work on their own, be creative or excel in any field. They cannot stand a girl’s success so they make every effort to create hurdles in her way. I would like to give a message to girls, never give up on your dreams. You can be what you want to be. Never let the bystanders distract you. People will criticise you so let them; your aims should be higher than that,” Sabah said.


R Umaima Ahmed

Umaima Ahmed is a member  of staff

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