LAHORE: The winner of ‘Mein Hun Pakistan’ (I am Pakistan) competition, Sabah Zaman still awaits to get the cash prize of Rs 500,000 from the Government of Pakistan, after nearly two month of the finalisation competition to make a logo for the 70th Independence Day celebrations.

The competition was held under the aegis of Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) in Islamabad. 200 students submitted 400 entries amongst whom Sabah Zaman’s design won the first prize. The logo for the historic milestone was unveiled at PNCA.

Sources in the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage told The Nation that the file is pending with them and will take a few more days for action to be taken on it.

The government had spent a huge amount on the competition, event and publicity for the logo in which design of Sabah Zaman, a student of National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) got the first prize. Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb had announced that Sabah Zaman had won the contest and “will be awarded Rs 500,000 by the Government of Pakistan.”

Once the logo was unveiled there was severe backlash from the other competitors saying that the logo was not good enough to be given the first prize. Sabah Zaman while speaking to The Nation said, “I don’t mind criticism if it’s positive and constructive. I am sure many people could do better work than me but it was really depressing when I was threatened that I should be killed or my hands should be chopped off for my poor design winning the competition. For a couple of days I did not leave my home out of fear of reprisal. However, my friends, family and teachers supported me.”

Sabah also said that her design had to go through the judges twice. “First when I submitted the design and after I won the award people accused me of picking the design from a website Shutter Stock. The jury again checked the design and found it to be an original design.”

Sabah clarified that she did not have any links with anyone in the jury or the government. “I belong to an average Pakistani family with no links to anyone in power who could affect the outcome of the competition.”

She believes that she was targeted because she is a girl. “People think women can’t work on their own, be creative or excel in any field. They can’t stand a girl’s success so they make every effort to create hurdles in her way. I would like to give a message to the girls, never give up on your dreams. You can be whatever you want. Never let the bystanders distract you. People will criticize you so let them, your aims should be higher than that.”