In past decade, the Pakistani diaspora has managed to gain recognition globally. Each year it gets better. The 2017 Forbes’s list of ‘30 Under 30′ included six Pakistanis. All six hail from different industries where they are recognized for their innovation and impressive achievements. The following list looks into these six members of the diaspora and what they did to make Pakistan proud.

Anna Khan

Hailing from Lahore, Anna moved to the US where she graduated from Stanford. Later, she became a venture capital investor at the oldest venture capital firm in the US, Bessemer Venture Partners. In 2016, Khan founded Launch X. Launch X helps women CEOs with venture capital financing. Currently, she is pursuing MBA at the Harvard Business School. She is an Arthur Rock Fellow and World Economic Forum Global Shaper. She is the first Pakistani women to gain such global recognition in her field.

Kumail Nanjiani

Kumail left Karachi after finishing high school. In the US, he started his career in TV and films. His work includes noteworthy TV projects like Veep, Silicon Valley, and The Colbert Report. In 2017, his major breakthrough was his film The Big Sick. This movie is loosely based on his relationship with his wife. The movie has won many awards. It was also nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 2018. Kumail made history by being the first Pakistani actor to be nominated for an Oscar in the film category. He is the first Pakistani actor/comedian to host Saturday Night Live where he addressed racism faced by his community.  Furthermore, he voice-starred in 2017’s The Lego Ninjago Movie.

Sylvestre and Jonathan Wahid

This Pakistani-French chef brother duo hail from Kohat. They moved to France in 1980s and have since established themselves as world-class chefs. Sylvestre has won two stars by the Michelin Guide, in 2005 and 2016. While Jonathan won a Michelin star in the 2017 guide for its ‘Auberge de la Reine Jeanne’. These Pakistanis are creating a name for Pakistan in the culinary world. They do this while tackling the stigma attached to the career choice of being chefs as men.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy

Fourth on the list is the noteworthy Pakistani filmmaker, Sharmeen Chinoy. She won her first Oscar in 2012 and the second in 2016. She also launched the campaign Aagahi – Apnay Mustaqbil Ki in Pakistan, to commemorate International Women’s Day, 2017. The same year she won the Knight International Journalism Award. Her work highlighted the loopholes of honor killing in Pakistan leading to legislative changes. She was also awarded Robert F Kennedy Journalism Award for “The Price of Forgiveness”.

Kamila Shamsie and Mohsin Hamid

Finally on the diaspora list, are two Pakistani authors who bagged nominations for the Man Booker Prize 2017.

Kamila Shamsie is a British Pakistani novelist. She was shortlisted for the first time for her book Home Fire. Born in Karachi, she moved to the UK in 2007 and has authored eight books. Mohsin Hamid is a name that needs no introduction in the literary world. He is the only Pakistani author to have been on shortlist for Man Booker Prize twice. Most recently in 2017, the nomination was for his book Exit West.

This list is certainly not exhaustive of those who do Pakistan proud. Other notables include Nergis Mavalvala, a Pakistani-American astrophysicist from Karachi who has made her name by proving the existence of gravitational waves for the first time in history.


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