Zainab Imran addresses a press conference in Karachi. – Photo by AFP
Zainab Imran addresses a press conference in Karachi. – Photo by AFP

KARACHI: A Pakistani schoolgirl selected to take part in the Olympic torch relay spoke of her delight on Friday, and said she hoped it could improve the country’s tarnished image.

Zainab Imran, 15, was selected to participate in the relay next week in Nottingham by the British Council.

Council volunteers from 20 countries were chosen to hold the torch and represent their country at a June 28 ceremony. The Olympic Games begins on July 27.

“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am very happy,” Zainab told reporters. “It is a great inspiration for all Pakistani youth and I will try to present a soft image of my country.”

Pakistan’s image worsened spectacularly after US troops killed Osama bin Laden northwest of Islamabad in May 2011.

It has also attracted international criticism for its human rights record and the reluctance of its elites to pay taxes when so many millions live in poverty and from handouts from foreign donors.

“It’s unfortunate that a few people have tarnished our country’s image and it’s our duty to fight that out and don’t allow these people to create a bad name for Pakistan,” said Zainab.

Pakistan’s men’s field hockey team qualified, but otherwise Pakistan will field only wild card entries at the Games.

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Comments (16)

June 23, 2012 6:07 pm
Proud to be Pakistani... Well Done....!!!
S. Khan
June 22, 2012 5:25 pm
Good Job !!! Best of Luck Zainab. Young kids like you are our country's Future. Thanks for your participation in the the 2012 Olympic torch relay and representating Pakistan. We are so proud of you !!!
arif Ahemd
June 24, 2012 3:15 pm
MashaAllah, God bless her
June 22, 2012 4:53 pm
Another AFP debacle, cant see beyond OBL and soft images. Biased and exploitative
June 23, 2012 12:43 pm
Thats the reality of the day brother...this shows how independent & democratic our system is. Anybody found guilty, no matter what ur designation is will be tried in the court of law!!
Arshad, USA
June 23, 2012 11:51 am
We have high hopes from our young generation. Keep up the good work. GOD BLESS PAKISTAN.
Nasser Ali Khan
June 23, 2012 11:30 am
A non-event for a nation teeming with population (6th biggest) with no talent. Take hockey for example, Pakistan won three of the first 5 world cups. Now we come last in any tournament that we take part. The hockey team is there just to make up the numbers. The nation energy is spent on terrorism, inhumanity to all and worse again women, and blaming US (as if it's their god) for all their ills.
June 25, 2012 6:28 am
June 24, 2012 11:59 am
proud my cousin and wish you all the best
June 23, 2012 2:16 am
there are very few instances that pakistan feel proud. you highlight such instances frequently
June 24, 2012 12:02 pm
proud my cousin and wish you all the best
June 23, 2012 4:33 am
Congratulation! Be Pakistani and Muslim. Do not try to copy Western clothes. Show your own identify. God bless you and Good luck!
ahmet abdulaziz
June 23, 2012 6:06 am
A very encouraging event. I wish her all good luck. It will indeed do a lot in improving the image of Pakistan internationally.
Naeem Javid
June 23, 2012 7:59 am
Good luck with that!
June 23, 2012 8:08 am
Sorry... that's the worst kind of report where an Olympic torch bearer is mentioned with OBL's murder. Our new PM will do more damage to our soft image than any other being. The best soft image boaster was the headline in international posts " Pakistani SC dismisses the Prime Minister". .. really.
June 23, 2012 6:33 pm
Zainab baaji! woah! woah! you have enlightened our school's name! thank you so much! behalf of all that school! Very welldone!
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