Pervez Masih: Unsung Hero of Pakistan – by Ali Abbas Zaidi

Masih's daughter with the picture of her father

I have written on him before, but I want to write more. [click here to read: Daewoo Gang-rape and Pervez Masih] — To the unsung hero of Pakistan!

Heroes come in different types, heroics vary with the impact they disseminate. In our society, for some Ali Zafar is a hero, for others Atif Aslam and maybe, Ali Azmat with his neo-con story. Some might consider war-heroes of ’65 to be the real heroes of Pakistan and some call Mullah Omar or Osama Bin Laden — heroic personalities par excellence. A particular segment of the society thinks every man in uniform is a hero, and apologizes with the not-so-heroic deeds they do.

To better comprehend what “stuff” heroes are made of it maybe necessary to describe what a hero is not. We see how Television glorifies athletes and celebrities as being heroes, but are they? To me, nada! Possibly role models in their respective fields but not real-time heroes. The title heroic is not given by occupation, rather by achievement — and to me there isn’t a bigger achievement than saving human lives. The icing on the cake, or the crown of heroes should go to the man for whom it wasn’t a call of duty and he acted on his own.

Such a hero was born in Islamabad to a Christian family. [Here, also the point to be kept in mind is the discriminating laws against religious minorities in the country]. He was a janitor by profession and he swept floors for a living. Imagine how sweeping floors would have made him heroic in true sense of the word but like said above, a hero is not dependent on his occupation to be called a hero. This 40 year old saved the lives of hundreds of girls at IIU (Islamic International University) when a suicide bomber tried entering the girls’ cafeteria having over 400 female students.

“There would have been dozens of deaths had the suicide bomber not been blocked by Pervez Masih,” said Saifur Rehman, a senior security official of the IIU.

“The attacker clad in a black burka was heading towards the cafeteria for female students at a time when they were having their lunch. I felt something wrong as no girl student, even one who observes veil, wears a head-to-toe burka on the women campus. I intercepted the bomber, who shot me, and I fell down but Pervez, who witnessed the scene, understood the designs of suicide bomber and held him at the entrance of the dining hall where the blast took place.” – Mohammad Shaukat [a survivor of the attack who was shot by the bomber]

Pervez Masih is now a legend to us,” says 20-year-old Sumaya Ahsan [Student of Int’l Islamic Uni, Islamabad]

Why was Pervez Masih not given the premier award for bravery – Nishan E Haider? Or is it only reserved when you are on sarkari payroll for showing heroism?

Forget recognition in form of a medal like Nishan E Haider or Tamgha E Jurrat/Basalat, the government promised his family 10 lakh Rupees for having lost the only bread-earner in the house . This happened nearly one year ago and not till this date [20th July, 2010] as I have reconfirmed and re-checked, the announced grant has been paid to his family.

Some members of civil society of Islamabad tried to live up to their duty of honoring the real heroes of their country and collected an amount to be distributed to his family but the media doesn’t play videos in his remembrance, nor is there any pressure on the government to at least release the amount they promised. Recognition of what he actually did in saving lives of scores of women is so less that society doesn’t even remember his name.

‘A nation that forgets its heroes is a nation destined to be forgotten’.  – Calvin Coolidge.

Source: Plastictearz ( Ali Abbas Zaidi Blog)



Latest Comments
  1. Aman
  2. HafsaKhawaja