S. N. Peerzada
BOONI, Jan 1: The good news on the first day of the New Year is that little Sher Baz Khan has returned home happily thanks to all Chitralis living around the world and the administration of Mastuj at Booni who took pity on the little boy and helped him after a news was published in ChitralToday.
The nine-year-old student of Class 5 left his house in a hamlet called Bojum near Brok village of the Laspur valley to work as a labourer in Booni during the three-month-long winter vacation and started working as a helper at a Tandoor in the Booni bazaar.
After Sher Baz’s ordeal was published in ChitralToday on December 30, words of sympathies and announcements for monetary help started pouring in from Chitralis living around the world and within less than 24 hours quite sufficient amounts reached Booni to enable the boy to go home and pay his family’s loan.
On Thursday, Assistant Commissioner Minhasuddin arranged a police escort to take the boy to his home village.
At the time of his return to his home, twenty-one thousand rupees were received from Chitralis living outside Pakistan, Rs.2,000 came from some residents of Booni, AC Minhas announced to pay the Rs.9,000 dues the boy’s father owed to a local community, AC Saleh took the responsibility to bear the educational expenses of the boy. The child was taken to Mastuj by the officials of the Booni police station from where the Mastuj police would take him to his house near the Brok village of Laspur village.
Departing from here, Sher Baz Khan seemed very happy to return home so quickly after being able to clear his family’s loans. He said he wanted to continue his study and would also be happy to come back to Booni not to work as a labouer but as a student to take admission in a school here.
It may be noted that some people here have also offered to give proper education to the boy in Booni.
Talking to this correspondent, AC Minhasuddin appreciated ChitralToday for highlighting the issue. He said the media should focus on social issues to help the government resolve them on a priority basis.
The AC, however, warned parents that involving children in labour was a crime and they should avoid sending little children out to work as labourers. He also said that the Child Protection Unit Chitral should also open their office in Booni to resolve such issues.