The entire family went to receive Zoya at the Karachi Cantt Railway Station; Zara Imran, Erum Imran, Rawah (Zoya’s friend), Engr. Iqbal Ahmed Khan, Zoya Imran, Mrs. Rudaba Irshad, Engr. Taha Khan and, in front, baby Ayra Khan.
The following report was written by Zoya Imran, granddaughter of Saudi Aramco Ex-Employee Engr. Iqbal Ahmed Khan of Karachi, Pakistan.
The All-Pakistan Math Olympiad (APMO) is organized by the GIKI Mathematics Society (GMS) of the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (GIKI) located in Topi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Every year GMS arranges APMO to provide a platform to students from all over Pakistan to compete, share ideas and garnish their mathematical skills. A total of 13 schools and universities participated in this Olympiad from all over the country including my institute, Generation’s School which had a total of 52 participants–the largest group among all the delegates. A total of 5 modules were divided in this 3-day event along with 3 social events. The events were from the 15th of December to the 17th of December, 2023 and the socials included a concert, hiking, and a theme dinner.
Another group picture of the entire Generation’s School Delegation looking proud with their certificates in their hands.
Zoya Imran Certificate of participation in the three-day event.
Since our school was travelling by train, we were set to leave on the 13th as the journey from Karachi to Islamabad via railway is 23-hours long. Even though this was my first time travelling alone, I wasn’t as anxious as I thought I would be and was quite calm and excited about this new experience. The departure time for our train was at 10 PM and we were required to be present at the Karachi Cantt Railway Station by 9 PM. I reached about half an hour late and the hustling and bustling before departure was bubbling around. I bid goodbye to my family as they stood outside on the platform and I climbed up on the train to find my compartment and was greeted by 5 of my batch mates in “compartment C”. These 5 people were Rawah, Eshal, Elana, Mahnoor and Eeshah - and we grew very close to each other by spending almost every moment with each other for 7 days straight. Through countless moments together, we evolved from batchmates to an iconic bunch, each shared experience forging a bond that turned our group into something truly special. Our time on the train and on campus is something I’ll remember forever, the threads of camaraderie wove seamlessly among us, creating a tapestry of friendship that grew richer with every shared laughter, and late-night jamming sessions, morning walks to the tuck shop, getting ready for modules and inside jokes.
Zoya along with her friends of "Railway Compartment C" all set for the train's departure.
A beautiful view of sunrise from inside the train compartment.
Engr. Iqbal Ahmed Khan along with Zoya Imran and her friend Rawah at the Karachi Cantt Railway Station on their arrival from their trip.
Main entrance Gate of “Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Science & Technology”.
Due to a minor delay, we reached the Margalla Railway Station at 10:30 PM on the 14th of December. Everyone was in charge of their own luggage so after unloading our suitcases on the platform, we walked towards the gateway of the station where the buses sent by GIKI awaited us. The weather was noticeably chilly now compared to Karachi, more so because it was nighttime. We got seated in the bus and our 3-hour journey from Islamabad to Topi began. Everyone was utterly exhausted so the ride was quiet and peaceful and we reached the university by 1:30 AM. We were made to get off for identification and registration purposes for a little while; they collected our ID cards and we started shivering due to the chilly winds while waiting in line as were weren’t used to this weather.
By 2 AM we reached our hostel, I was lucky enough to be accommodated into a room with all my friends from “compartment c”, so there was a sense of familiarity. We adjusted quite quickly into our new home for the next few days and quickly claimed our spots and prepared ourselves for the event awaiting us.
A group picture of friends at the Lahore Railway Station.
The beautiful greenery can be seen inside the University Campus of GIKI.
Enjoying a hot cup of coffee in the cold and chilly weather of GIKI.
Zoya Imran having a blast on a slide in the playground of GIKI.
A panaflix of APMO 2023 at the opening ceremony of the three days events.
The next day, the first official day of our Olympiad had begun. We were required to report for the opening ceremony and module at 4 PM so after waking up we made our way for breakfast to the tuck shop and campus restaurant. We ran a bit late and our chaperone Miss Ghazala had left with a bunch of students before us so we were unsure of where we had to go – which is why we also got lost on our way and had to navigate it ourselves but luckily we were able to successfully reach our destination. As it was already noon and too late for breakfast, we just settled on having brunch and then made our way back to the hostel to change for the module. However, on the way, we spotted a playground with swings that captured our inner children and we couldn’t resist just moving on without playing on the swings! Finally, an hour later after swinging and sliding until our hearts were content, we walked back to the hostel to get ready. After getting ready, we made our way towards the Agha Hasan Abedi Auditorium which was a 1.5 km walk from our hostel. The sun was about to set and the sky was displaying a wide array of orange and pink hues as we were walking, which looked absolutely beautiful. We got seated in the huge auditorium for the opening ceremony where they warmly welcomed all participants and then introduced us to the schedule for the upcoming days. Shortly after, they presented the first module “Mind Maze” in which we had to solve 5 ciphers in a group. Later on, after working on the ciphers for a bit we made our way back to the hostel to get ready for the musical concert. As the venue for the concert was quite far and we were a little tired as well, our teacher arranged for a car to take us there. The concert started at 8 and initially, GIKI’s music society was performing but by 10 PM, the star of the show, “Abdul Hannan” had arrived and we had a blast singing and jumping along to his performance. Moreover, my friend and I were also lucky enough to get a picture with him right as we were leaving the venue!
Rawah, Eshal and Zoya having a blast at the musical concert.
The girls are all dressed up for the night as they wait for the singer to arrive.
The girls are all ready for the day as they pose for a picture in front of the evening sun.
The examination Hall moments before the MENSA IQ Test Module took place.
The Chess module “Queens Gambit” is in full swing.
The next day, the 16th of December, the entire hostel had awoken early as our module was starting at 9 AM. For this, we quickly got ready and walked to the exam hall where our module, “Mensa IQ Test” took place. This was a 75-minute test in which we were given a test paper with 50 questions surrounding various themes like numerical, logical, general knowledge and more. After me and my friends were done with the test, we took a break and went for a walk and then went to eat at the tuck shop. The second module of the day was the “Queens’ Gambit”, a.k.a the chess competition. Our teams won the round within four moves and were qualified for the final round as well, but were sadly unable to succeed in that. As our day unfolded into the gentle warmth of the afternoon, we freshened up and were set to walk back to the venue we were supposed to reach for the scavenger hunt. As we were walking, we spotted a rickshaw and just for the experience we took our first ride in the rickshaw to the venue! As we reached, all teams were given an envelope of clues and had to rush to the spot as fast as they could. Even though we were way too tired from the excursion, we rushed to where the clues took us, adrenaline pulsing through our veins and the thrill kicking in. We did, however, get lost halfway as we were going towards the helipad and the module ended. For the surprise module, we were made to be seated in the lecture hall in teams of 6 and were given a sheet where we had to solve a mathematical question to “Escape the Room”. Only 10 teams could qualify for this module and we were able to, Alhamdulillah! As the evening dawned and it was getting darker, we had to get back to our hostel and get ready for the themed dinner. The theme was “black” and semi-formal clothing had to be worn. This was also coincidentally the coldest night of our entire trip when the temperature dropped down to 2 degrees Celsius. The dinner was in open air, decorated with fairy lights and tables spread across the lawn. The ambiance and food was absolutely wonderful but because we were quite literally freezing, it was hard to enjoy the food! We took lots of group pictures and once again, in a rickshaw were dropped off to our hostel.
The girls pose for a picture with ABDUL HANNAN, the singer who also sang the musical concert.
Zoya Imran smiling for a picture as the mountains and scenery stand in full glory behind her.
A gorgeous tangerine tree full of fruit inside the GIKI Campus.
Zoya –Rawah with their Teacher Miss Ghazala Abid.
A breathtaking view of the trees along Zoya’s morning walk.
All the girls are gearing up energy through breakfast at the tuck shop before their morning hike.
The climb up the trailhead for the hike has begun!
On the final day of the event, the 17th of December, we had to wake up at 7 AM as hiking was scheduled for the day. Everyone was supposed to gather in front of the library for a head count and by 9 AM, we had begun climbing upwards. The university is situated beside the Indus River in the mountains of Tar Bela and Gadoon-Amazai. My friends and I steadily climbed up the trailhead, enjoying the crisp morning and the golden glow of the sun which had begun to filter through the trees. The trail took us through a lush forest, the scent of pine filling the air as the towering trees provided a comforting shade. The sounds of our laughter and the rustle of leaves created a harmonious soundtrack to our journey. As we ascended, the forest gave way to occasional clearings, revealing breathtaking views of majestic mountains and valleys below. We paused at these scenic spots, capturing the beauty with our cameras and indulging in snacks from our shared stash. The rocky terrains were a bit scary at first, and of course, we got tired along the way but it was still an amazing experience. The climb was challenging and exhilarating, our hearts pounded and muscles ached but together, we shared jokes, laughs, and songs and made the journey bearable. Tired but content, we walked back down the trail after a 5-hour long hike and recalled the immense beauty of nature we had just witnessed. Around 4 PM, after resting and regaining our energy we made our way back to the lecture hall for another module called, “The First Responder”, this was the second part of the qualifying round and we had to use our rapid response and decision-making skills to solve a criminal case. In the evening, we began packing our bags and suitcases before leaving for the closing ceremony. Alhamdulillah, 5 runner-up awards and 2 winner awards were secured by Generations’ School and came in runner-up overall in the APMO. The auditorium erupted in rounds of applause as the 3-day event came to an end. We walked back to our hostel one last time, soaking in the beauty of the campus and reminiscing the memories we made together these past few days.
Zoya Imran posing for a picture in front of the amazing view.
A beautiful view from the top of the mountains.
Zoya and Rawah after completing half of their hike; a bit tired but still enthusiastic!
The girls look beautiful as they walk back to the hostel from their module.
The girls and Sir Hassan are resting for a bit before continuing their hike.
As the trip comes to an end, the girls are seated at Savors Foods for lunch in Islamabad.
A highlight of my event was definitely the “suji ka halwa”, my Choti Nani prepared for me or as it is traditionally called in our house, “travelling halwa”, and a symbol of me travelling alone for the first time.
On the morning of the 18th, we bid farewell to GIKI and along with our suitcases got on the buses – en route to Islamabad. This was another new experience as I had never visited Islamabad before this. As our train was at 3 PM, our sir proposed stopping at Savor Foods for lunch. We had their special pulao, kabab and mint margarita. Finally, we were off for the station and were on our train by 2:30 PM. The ride back home was a blur and in no time, and by the next day we were back in Karachi.
The entire Generation’s School Delegation looks dashing in this group picture.
Mahnoor, Eshal, Elana and Zoya with their chairman Sir Hassan and GMS Member Sir Sarim.
Elana, Zoya and Eshal having fun at the themed dinner.
Mahnoor, Rawah, Zoya and Eshal trying to fight off the cold and are ready for their ride in the auto rickshaw inside the campus.
As our journey comes to an end, I find myself overwhelmed with a profound sense of gratitude and nostalgia. The memories we created in this charming place will forever be etched in our hearts, serving as a testament to the beauty of friendship and the joy of exploration. From the picturesque landscapes to the laughter-filled moments we shared, GIKI has become more than just a destination; it is a repository of cherished experiences.
Saudi Aramco Ex-Employees Association (SAEEA) congratulate all the Generations School students who participated in all the events and got the second position in overall three-day events for their school. Good job kids we pray for you all a very successful and bright future in your future life. ~Ameen.