Diya – a Hero's Daughter

Text & Photos by Fauzia Minallah

 

 Diya with her father Pervez Masih’s photograph

Diya is only three, she is lost and has many questions about her father Pervez Masih. Pervez was a janitor at the International Islamic University. On the fateful day when IIU was attacked by suicide bombers, he was the hero who stopped the terrorist from entering the cafeteria for female students. Pervez lost his life, while saving the lives of more than 300 students.

He will always be remembered as a true hero by us. Diya will always be known as a hero’s daughter by us.

 Diya 3 and her mother Shaheen

The Minister of Interior, Mr. Rehman Malik, publicly announced that his family will receive a compensation of approximately $10,000. According to his widow Shaheen and sister Perveen, so far, the family has not been contacted by anyone from his office. The IIU administration helped the family with Rs. 10.000 for the burial costs, employed his widow Shaheen as a sanitary worker and promised to help with Diya’s education. Other than that there has not been any help from anyone for Pervez’s family. The only person who has helped this hero’s family so far is a young student of Behria University, Maham Ali. She motivated her friends to donate funds for Pervez’s family. She collected Rs. 52,500 and bought toys and clothes for Diya.

 

Maham and Diya.

We might be going through tough times, but even in this darkness there is hope. And for me that hope is in young people like Maham. She was our pillar of support by collecting funds for our effort in helping the internally displaced Pakistanis.

As a society we need to recognize our heroes, we need to rise above our prejudices and name streets, buildings and squares after Pervez Masih. So what if he was a poor Christian sanitary worker, he saved the lives of 300 Muslim students. Shaheen is happy that the IIU administration have employed her, but we should ask ourselves, is it fiiting for a hero’s wife to remain at the bottom of the social order? Doing the most menial job?

At least on November 16th on the ‘International Day of Tolerance’, Maham was there to cheer up Diya- a hero’s daughter.

Here is a CNN story on Pervez Masih:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/11/11/pakistan.hero/

Cross-post from Helping the Internally Displaced

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