Appearing in the Forbes 30 under 30 list is another feather in Karishma Ali’s cap, who is a 21 year old footballer and founder of Chitral Women’s sports club. Karishma Ali is the first women from Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to play football in well renowned National and International tournaments. Her club is responsible for the training of almost 60 brave girls and is one of the first of its kind.
Karishma Ali knew she wanted to pursue football when she watched the FIFA World Cup in 2006 with her father and was enraptured by the sport. She has represented Pakistan at the Dubai Jubilee tournament in 2016 and was part of the first women’s football team from Pakistan to participate in the AFL women’s league in 2017. She has undoubtedly achieved a lot despite being from a country like Pakistan where sports, let alone , women’s sports is not as developed as it has the potential to be and opportunities are limited. Karishma points this out as she mused in an interview with CNN sports that things are hard for a girl here in Pakistan “..Especially to have a different dream or to do something outside of what society expects you to do.
Despite all these obstacles, Karishma’s success is nothing short of a momentous feat. One can imagine how difficult it must have been for her to persevere despite the social taboo and constant death threats she received for the simple act of pursuing her passion. The tenacity required to carry on and work her dream to be a professional footballer despite the social taboos prevalent in Pakistan. With even people like Cricket Superstar Shahid Afridi saying in his autobiography Game Changer, that he would not allow his daughters to partake in sports for social reasons.
She also walked the Milan Fashion Week in 2019 when Haitian-Italian designer Stella Jean collaborated with craftswomen from a handicraft center Ali founded to create designs, incorporating cultural elements from Chitral and Kalash.
However it seems Karishma’s steadfastness has paid off after she has been named in the 2019 Forbes 30 under 30 list, an honour few can boast of. But Karishma Ali is not done leaving her mark on the world. She has only just begun and she is going to keep achieving great things. We , at Pakistan facts for one, wish her the best of luck in doing so.