Pakistani students beat more than 200 competitors, win international debating competition


Three students from Pakistan outshined candidates from 45 different countries at the Karl Popper Debating Championship, which is one of the largest high school debating tournaments in the world, on Sunday.

The Pakistani team won the entire competition after six preliminary rounds, three elimination rounds and a grand-final against South Korea. The three participants – Zainab Hameed, Azeem Liaquat, and Ahmed Shujaan – were even listed in the top 10 speakers of the tournament.

Zainab, a student of Karachi Grammar School, was named the top speaker. Azeem, who studies at Salamat International Campus for Advanced Studies in Lahore, came in second, while Ahmed from Aitchison College came in fifth position.

The 18th edition of the International Debate Education Association (IDEA) Youth Forum, held in Mexico from July 2 to 15, had teams from 45 countries and more than 200 competitors to debate in a variety of motions.

The topic for the final debate was “Guantanamo Bay prison should be closed down immediately.” The Pakistan team had the luxury of defending the motion while team Korea was not able to prove that it should not be adopted.

The competition had two different events – a team-based competition and an event-based forum where debaters where paired with a member from another country.

Daniyal Asad, team Pakistan’s coach as well as the general secretary of the Debating Society of Pakistan, praised the team for its accomplishments and noted that “it was the first time that Pakistan participated and also the first time that any team won with all nine votes of the judges in its favor”. Asad also won the best coach-cum-adjudicator award.