Just recently I was reading an article on India’s Mars mission when I noticed this article on the side stating that Pakistan’s first woman in space congratulates India on its successful mission. I was amazed that a Pakistani had made it to space. I was also confused because I had not heard about such an important event.

So being the part-time Sherlock Holmes that I am, I clicked on the link to find out more.

The following is just a bit of what I unearthed about Miss Namira’s impressive list of accomplishments.

Namira the Astronaut

Namira Saleem is a lady of Pakistani origin who has lived most of her life in the United Arab Emirates and Monaco.

She is the only Pakistani to have been chosen to be a member of the world’s first commercial space liner, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. This has given her the distinction of soon to become the first Pakistani to travel to space and also Pakistan’s first Astronaut. Namira was among the 100 space tourists that were shortlisted from 44 thousand applicants in 2005.

To be a part of this historic journey with Virgin Galactic, Namira has trained and has also qualified for the suborbital spaceflight. The training was conducted under Virgin Galactic’s supervision at the NASTAR Center in the United States.

Namira is also an artist and has conducted several exhibits under the Patronage of Royalty from the UAE.

As a result of her artistic and polar exploits Namira Salim also promotes peace and goodwill for which she has been honored.

Namira Salim – Honorary Consul to Monaco

Being a resident of Monaco, Namira was involved in diplomatic gestures between Pakistan and Monaco and in 2009 this led to diplomatic accreditation between Pakistan and Monaco. On 1st August 2011 she was allowed by Prince Albert II’s to become the First Honorary Consul of Pakistan to the Principality of Monaco.

Following this, the first Pakistani consulate was inaugurated in Monaco in March of 2012.

More of Ms. Salim’s Exploits

In addition to the above, Ms. Namira has multiple achievements under her belt. Some of these are:

  1. She is quite an explorer and in April of 2007 she became the first Pakistani to reach the North Pole. Following that, in January 2008 she became the first Pakistani to reach the South Pole. Thus she is the first Pakistani (not Pakistani woman) to have reached the North and South Pole.
  2. She is also credited for being the first Pakistani (yes, first Pakistani again) and also the first Asian to have sky dived over the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest in 2008 during the First Everest Skydives.
  3. She has the distinction to have been recognized as the first Pakistani Astronaut by the Government of Pakistan when she was officially recognized by our Ministry of Interior.
  4. She is the recipient of Pakistan’s highest civil award, the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, conferred to her by the President of Pakistan in 2011.

These achievements of Namira are nothing short of amazing considering her Pakistani origins. Some people argue that she is not really Pakistani as she has never really lived in Pakistan, but in my humble opinion, where ever you live if your origins are Pakistani you are always Pakistani at heart.