These Pakistanis made it to Forbes 30 Under 30 list 2023

Pakistanis Forbes list

Forbes released its list of 30 Under 30 in 2023 on Thursday, and, amazingly, five Pakistanis have made it to the famous yearly list this time.

This year, a multimedia visual tech artist, a screenwriter, two co-founders of an app and a social enterprise owner made their way to the list, making the nation proud of their achievement.

According to Forbes, the 2023 list features a diverse set of 30 under 30 honorees, with 20 countries and territories represented across the Asia-Pacific region. 

The list highlights artists, athletes, scientists and entrepreneurs, sports and music stars and many more whose talents are recognised locally and internationally in their respective fields.

Ayesha Mubarak Ali

Ayesha Mubarak Ali is an internationally acclaimed multimedia visual tech artist. She fuses traditional methods and digital technology to explore themes such as identity politics, light pollution, space applications and the future of humanity.

Ayesha is the first Pakistani artist to collaborate with NASA scientists, and in July 2022, her art was sent to the International Space Station through SpaceX for Maleth II. 

Her fusion-art practice has been featured in NFT NYC, Forbes Middle East, E27, Hello and GRAZIA. She also joined Metaverse Fashion Council Advisory Board in June 2022 and has been showcasing her work internationally, including at Karachi Biennale and Islington Mill Gallery.

Taking to Twitter, Ayesha announced her “immense gratitude”.

Azam Mahmood

Azam Mahmood has leveraged his talent as a storyteller to bring stories of queer people of colour onto major networks–something he never saw growing up in Karachi. 

Mahmood is a story editor for the reboot of the drama series “Queer as Folk,” as well as working with Golden Globe-winning actor Ramy Youssef on the show he created, “Ramy.” 

He says he did not initially know how to write honestly, but began telling stories that reflected his own experiences as a South Asian gay man breaking through the entertainment industry, which led him to unpack topics like male vulnerability with sensitivity and humour.

He wrote on Twitter that he was “wild” to be on the list.

“A robot could not be under 30, which I think is a good reason to support writers in fighting for a fair contract,” Azam wrote.

Hassan and Islam

Hassan and Islam are cofounders of Pakistan’s Sharia-compliant buy-now-pay-later startup KalPay, which aims to reach the country’s huge Muslim population.

Hassan and Islam

Launched in June 2021, KalPay has been partnering with other tech companies in Pakistan, like Foodpanda and other BNPL player Muawin, to extend its reach and provide financial access in a country where credit card penetration is less than 1% and almost 90% of transactions are done by cash. 

One backer of KalPay is Singapore-based Sabr Capital, which invests in Sharia-compliant ventures.

Anas Niaz

Anas Niaz is the founder of Bioniks, which is a social enterprise that develops low-cost bionic arms. The 3D-printed prosthetics are custom-made and equipped with sensors and software that allow the user to hold objects using robotic fingers. The devices can be updated and monitored via a cloud system.

anas niaz

Bioniks, founded in 2016, can make arms for patients as young as 3 years. While the latest bionic arms typically cost $20,000 or more, the ones from Bioniks are a tenth of the cost. 

The company also connects those who can’t afford the prosthetics with donors. Niaz holds a bachelor’s degree in mechatronics, robotics and automation from SZABIST Karachi.

Sherry Rehman, Justice Ayesha Malik feature in Forbes’ 50 Over 50 Asia 2023 list