By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan’s Digital Rights Foundation is among Forbes’ top 10 entrepreneurs to receive accolade during last week’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) summit in New York, according to media reports.
Founded by digital rights activist Nighat Dad, the foundation is described as an advocacy organisation that helps women escape honour killings, online violence and to fix negative online images of them.
According to Forbes, the entrepreneurs were selected after presenting at the UN Solutions Summit hosted on the sidelines of the UNGA. The summit, launched in 2015, “showcases entrepreneurial solutions helping to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
She was selected by UN as one of the 10 solution makers who turned local action into global ambition.
A lawyer by profession, Dad set up the DRF in 2012. The non-profit organisation aimed at educating Pakistanis regarding their digital rights and how to respond to harassment online. It also campaigns against legislations giving government bodies sweeping powers of surveillance online, dissemination of personal information of customers collected by telcos to government agencies and other organisations.
Dad was awarded the Dutch government’s 2016 Human Rights Tulip award, which will be presented to her on the upcoming Human Rights Day in December in The Hague. In 2015, Time magazine picked her in its “Next Generation Leaders” list – a programme that aims to identify young innovative leaders who are leading by example and inspiring others to follow.
The list also included Beacon of Hope, a solar light tool kit specifically designed for school children to build and use in order to provide light and teach the importance of renewable energy at the same time. A global network of experts and activists committed to fighting organised crime at GI Resiliance through better information sharing, policy making and resource mobilisation. And BeeLine Reader, a technology solution that has been used to read 250 million pages online. The tool is particularly helpful for children and adults with learning disabilities.
In March, nine Pakistanis made it to Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30. The 2018 list featured 30 game changers, young innovators and disruptors across 10 categories “who are re-inventing industries and driving change” across the continent.
The list included 24-year-old Syed Faizan who founded Perihelion Systems, Adnan and Adeel of Price Oye, Muhammad Asad Raza and Abrahim Ali Shah of Neurostic, Founder of PixelArt Games Academy Sadia Bashir, 17-year-old scientist Muhammad Shaheer Niazi, 24-year-old founder of Bondh-e-Shams Hamza Farrukh and musician Momina Mustehsan.