A sparky Chitrali who dreams big! 

Hailing from Chitral, Sajid’s tale of coming to Karachi is a bittersweet combination. His journey begins from a small town of Chitral, where he lived until he was seven. His father is a seasoned labour in Karachi like many other low-skilled Chitrali workers who come to big cities with a sole purpose to earn livelihood mainly winter employment.  Furthermore, a fairly sizable population has also migrated to Gulf States for job purposes. According to the UN, a million people migrate to Karachi from other cities and mainly rural areas of Pakistan. Karachi is an economic engine of Pakistan and has the lion’s share of Pakistan’s GDP. It was a summer season, July in 1999, Sajid was playing with his friends in a fallow land when he heard his sister calling his name loudly “come home, you are going to Karachi tomorrow,” All the friends stared at him with a covetous sight. From a remote village where there are hardly any schools and making it to a private school in Karachi was the turning point in Sajid’s life that paved his way to the exploration of his capabilities. “I feel I am one of the luckiest to get this opportunity and I have to become an icon for many others from that underprivileged area,” says Sajid.  But this is the point I realized very late in my life, he added. He was living with his distant uncle, who had also employed Sajid’s father as a labour. “All my joys ended after reaching Karachi. I wanted to go back to my village and live my independent life. I was just shattered,” Sajid recalled. He faced perils of migrations like all others; new place, new people, personal displacement, language barrier and much more. He was enrolled in a nursery school where all his class fellows were four years younger to him. He faced communication barriers with them and sometimes these impediments led him to face corporal punishments. Sajid didn’t see his father for the next three months and more to his ordeal, his name was also changed as his school friends often used his name in native language as a funny sobriquet. “I don’t like when people from village call me with that old name even after several reminders that I am Sajid,” says Sajid. He completed his schooling and made new friends. At the age of 12, he started working in a shop for a part time. His uncle relocated him with other native boys right after Sajid completed his matriculation as he was old enough to fend for himself. He started working in a restaurant as a waiter with a daily wage of 100 rupees.  Since he was an astute observer, he learned everything very quickly and was promoted with an increase in his remuneration. “My dream is to be able to speak good English and to get a reasonable job in Dubai,” said Sajid, while underlining his aspirations. His impression of the city may not be the one to keep in good books, but gradually he forgot not-so-good old days of his native village. “I am more close to this family then my own and I cherish every moment I spent here because everyone has been so friendly and helpful,” Sajid says. “I love it here more now.” It seems experiences are entrenched in his heart and mind, also happiness and contentment increased gradually. Though he admitted that the idea of migrating to Karachi was very exciting but later some challenges unfolded. ‘I used to move freely in my village and used to come home in the evening but here we are only allowed to go outside in the evening for 2 hours to play cricket’ He said. Sajid, after completing his matriculation visited his homeland opined he had no desire to live there for the rest of his life. “I want to return to my village but I fear I may not succeed in professional life. There are very limited opportunities here.” said Sajid. Moving to Karachi has been a life changing event for Sajid. He is an independent individual supporting himself and also trying to help his family in Chitral to his maximum capacity. “It feels wonderful to study without depending on anyone and bearing my own education expenses. It provides a great sense of fulfillment,” said Sajid proudly. Despite all odds and a few tribulations, Karachi is now definitely a place where his heart lies. Note: Name of the character has been changed as he did not wish to be identified.]]>

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