Though many people don't get to hear much about it, Pakistanis have made their global presence felt in various fields through their contributions to politics, economy, welfare as well as sports and the arts.

(TRTWorld)

Pakistan is celebrating its 71st independence day anniversary on 14th August.

While the winner of the country's recently held elections, Imran Khan, continues to dominate the news headlines here are some Pakistanis whose efforts in their respective fields have constantly reminded the world of the country's contribution to it.

Abdul Sattar Edhi

Abdul Sattar Edhi, who was revered as a “living saint,” set up one of Pakistan’s biggest welfare organisations establishing clinics and orphanages across the country.

In addition, he also ran a vast fleet of ambulances, offering help to poor communities failed by inadequate public health and welfare services.

At one point of time, his organisation was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, for operating the world's largest charity-run ambulance network.

In this 2010 photo, Abdul Sattar Edhi collects donations at a roadside in Peshawar, Pakistan.
In this 2010 photo, Abdul Sattar Edhi collects donations at a roadside in Peshawar, Pakistan. (AP Archive)

Edhi died late on July 2016 at the age of 88, after a prolonged bout of kidney illness. He is one of the few civilians to have been honoured with a state funeral.

Edhi Foundation, which he found nearly 60 years ago, still continues to provide help to the needy across the country even after its founder’s death.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is an Oscar-winning Pakistani documentary-maker who has highlighted the plight of women's rights in the country.

Chinoy won Pakistan’s first Oscar for a documentary on the horrors endured by women who suffer acid attacks in 2012.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won her first Oscar for the documentary
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won her first Oscar for the documentary "Saving Face." (AFP Archive)

She won her second Oscar for the documentary "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness" which told the story of a girl who survives a murder attempt by her own family after she chooses to fall in love.

The documentary was also followed by a repeal of a loophole in the country's laws that allowed family members, who murdered their female relatives, to be legally pardoned in case of "honour killings."

Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali

Arguably the best devotional musician of his generation, there is no doubt that Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan had the greatest role in bringing qawwali a previously little-known genre of music, into the international mainstream. 

Embraced widely as a part of Pakistan’s national identity, qawwali has played a key unifying role, with city-dwellers and villagers flocking to Sufi shrines for concerts. 

Despite suffering from problems with his liver and his weight, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan performed in several sold out concerts in the US during the 1990s.
Despite suffering from problems with his liver and his weight, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan performed in several sold out concerts in the US during the 1990s. (AP Archive)

But Khan brought international attention to the genre after he participated in Peter Gabriel's WOMAD (World of Music and Dance). He also sang the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's film ''The Last Temptation of Christ'' in 1988, and Gabriel's label, Real World.

He went on to blend Sufi devotional music, that has thrived in South Asia since the 13th century, with Western pop music. 

He also collaborated with Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam for "Dead Man Walking" in 1996 while his songs were remixed in Hollywood and India's Bollywood as well.

The Qawwali maestro died in 1997 at the age of 48.

Mahbub ul Haq

Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq is another important Pakistani figure who in 1990 created the Human Development Index.

The United Nations have used the index to produce annual reports to examine people’s living standards to determine their countries’ wealth. 

Mahbub ul Haq served as finance minister of Pakistan between 1985 and 1988.
Mahbub ul Haq served as finance minister of Pakistan between 1985 and 1988. ()

He had served as World Bank’s director of policy planning and Pakistan’s finance minister between 1985 and 1988. 

Jahangir Khan

Jahangir Khan is a former squash champion from Pakistan, widely regarded as the greatest player in the history of the sport. 

Born on December 10, 1963 in Karachi, Jahangir is the son of former Pakistani squash champion Roshan Khan.

He dominated the sport in the 1980s winning 555 consecutive matches in his career, becoming the youngest-ever World Open champion at 17.

Jahangir Khan of Pakistan in action during the British Open Squash Championship at Wembley Arena, circa April 1989.
Jahangir Khan of Pakistan in action during the British Open Squash Championship at Wembley Arena, circa April 1989. (Getty Images)

The Pakistani won the World Open six times and the British Open Championship 10 times in a row between 1982 and 1991.

He also served as World Squash Federation president between 2002 and 2008.

Abdus Salam

Abdus Salam, born in 1926, is the first Nobel Prize winner from Pakistan.

Salam helped introduce Pakistan's scientific community to CERN in the 1960s. 

Abdus Salam was born to a family belonging to the minority Ahmadi community in Jhang district of Pakistan's central Punjab province.
Abdus Salam was born to a family belonging to the minority Ahmadi community in Jhang district of Pakistan's central Punjab province. ()

He shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics with Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg for helping pave the way for the discovery of the "Higgs Boson particle" or "God particle," one of science’s greatest achievements in the last 100 years.

The renowned physicist died in 1996.

Pakistan is also home to the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

At the age of 17, in 2014, Yousafzai became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her education advocacy. 

She also became a global symbol of the resilience of women in the face of repression after Taliban in Pakistan shot the-then 15-year-old in the head at close range in October 2012.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai adjusts her scarf as she speaks during an interview with Reuters at a local hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 30, 2018.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai adjusts her scarf as she speaks during an interview with Reuters at a local hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 30, 2018. (Reuters Archive)

Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto, born in 1953, became the first female prime minister of a Muslim country in 1988.

She led a long struggle for release of her father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, also a former prime minister who was hanged by a military-run administration in 1979.

Benazir's government was toppled twice in the 1990s yet she remained one of the most popular politicians in the country. 

She faced multiple attacks from militants whom she bitterly criticised despite threats to her life. 

Benazir was assassinated on December 27, 2007.  

Source: TRTWorld and agencies