Person of the Year 2015

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When did Sabeen Mahmud’s life change?

It is the summer of 1989. She discovers a Macintosh computer or – as a friend of hers put it – she “intellectually fell in love with the idea of computing”.

It is 1997. She is considering several offers to move abroad. One evening, she accompanies her mentor Zaheer Alam Kidvai and his wife to meet their friend Dr Eqbal Ahmed, the famed scholar and anti-war activist, who has just returned to Pakistan from the United States. Ahmed takes her aside. One private conversation later, she decides to stay home.