Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Real Pakistani: Zahid Baqir

Zahid Baqir* is doing his M.Phil from Singapore on a scholarship from the government of Pakistan. Anyone studying abroad on a government scholarship is envied and considered to be from a well-connected family. It's not true in case of Zahid. He secured his scholarship in a hardway.

Zahid is from a lower-income family. His father used to be a Pakistan Railways employee with a very meagre pay. All was going in a smooth (hand-to-mouth) way until Zahid's father lost his job in the railway.

With a family to feed and no other source of income, Zahid's father started selling clothes on railway stations and in trains. This transition from an officer to a street vendor changed the family's view towards everything. Kitchen budget was cut drastically, many needs were declared wants and wants luxuries.

Being an elder sibling, Zahid went one step ahead and stopped asking money even for his needs. He didn't blame fate or honesty of his dad or being born in poor family, but instead started looking for a job.
He soon realised that a undergraduate student with no skill won't get a job. He didn't loose hope and was able to find tuition which funded his education.

He also contributed saving from his meagre income to his father. Time passed and he appeared in the Punjab Public Service examination and passed it.

He was a grade-17 officer with a handsome income and upper middle class standing. Having seen harsh days, he found a job in a leading newspaper as copy editor to augment his income because he didn't want his children to experience the days he underwent through.

His day would start at 6am and end at 2pm. For years, he could not enjoy a proper lunch or afternoon siesta as he had his evening job which ended until 2am, giving him only four-hours of sleep daily for 6 years.

He kept two secrets on his jobs. The government and the media did not know that he was doing two jobs. This small lie and two jobs were a lot better than justifying corruption.

Zahid has just quit his second before going to Singapore for higher studies in public administration.

Other options available to him: He could have committed suicide, became a robber, found recourse to drugs, taken bribes, cursed Pakistan but he didn't.

Family connections: No one among his relatives is a general or a parliamentarian or a bureaucrat or a business tycoon.

* The real name is withheld to protect the identity.


  1. Dear Hamid,

    I enjoyed reading your blog, good work. Pakistani's have a habit of cursing themselves and undermining their system and abilities and it has become a national characteristic. I discovered it when I went to India for a personal trip and found Indians to be far inferior than Pakistani's, but my fellow Pakistani's were still cursing Pakistan in India. Internet is a good place for people like you and me to spread positive views about Pakistan.

  2. Irfan, thanks for the feedback. None of my acquaintances praise Pakistan. You are among a very few people, I have come across, who do not curse Pakistan.