Original Articles

Those little girls on the street! -by Dr. Shazia Nawaz

You love Pakistan when you live in Pakistan, but you love Pakistan even more when you do not live in Pakistan anymore.

You do not love those poor children on the streets of Pakistan when you live in Pakistan, but you fall in love with them when you live outside of Pakistan and see rest of the world protecting their children. Children are any society’s collective responsibility.

Those little children that you have in your houses to clean, cook, and baby sit your children, I love them. I love those children on the street who try to sell you balloons and try to clean your car at every stop. I love them all. Most of them are my daughter’s age. Most of them are eleven or twelve years old.

I visited Pakistan a few months ago. Except for the constant fear of getting third degree burns all over my body in the hands of suicide bomber, it was fun. Met two balloon girls selling balloons in front of a shoe store. They were about my daughter’ s age, eleven or twelve.

I bought a balloon from each of them and gave each a 100 ruppees and then I asked them if they would like to take a picture with me. I wanted the picture for my blog. Both of them happily agreed.

Once my friend took our picture, one of the girls yelled,” take the picture again. My eyes were closed ”

That made me laugh. She was full of life. She was bold and clever. We took the picture again.

Once we were done taking pictures, she said, ” Baji I do not have shoes for school. Would you buy me shoes from that shop?”

She knew exactly where to hit. Newly wealthy, educated auntis from america who truly love their poor Pakistani kids, do not want anything more but education for their Pakistani kids.

I took her and the other one, who was not related to her and was rather shy, to the shoe shop near by. Both of them bought fancy heel shoes worth 1000-1200 rupees each.

Right after that the clever one said, ” Baji I have a brother too and he does not have shoes for school either”

That gave the shy one some courage and she too in a very shy tone mentioned her little sister.

Long story short, I bought five pairs of shoes for each of them for their whole families, calculated in my head, costed me about $ 200 and I had to put it on my credit card.

That was money well spent. The best part of my trip to Pakistan. It is not everyday that you experience happiness of that kind, when you make someone’s day. We hugged each other and I said, ” if you want to be able buy shoes for yourself, you have to go to school and study
like I did.”

Clever one quickly mentioned that she goes to school everyday.

Later sitting in my car, it hit me, did I just teach two girls my daughter’s age to ask for things from the vulnerable for free? No, that part did not make me feel as guilty, guilt came from the thought that how it makes these two little girls vulnerable themselves.

What if it is not a nice looking aunty next time but a pedophile uncle ?

What if that uncle asked for more in return than just a picture and a hug?

Did I just teach them to ask for money and things in return of a favor? Did that clever girl already know how to do it? Has she become an expert at getting free stuff? And what does not kill them, make them only stronger?

Would not lie to you. Loved those two girls like my own daughters. My heart goes out to those beautiful children on the streets of Pakistan.

There was a recent report out that how those kids are used for prostitution. Perhaps once we got rid of terrorism, we can spend some of that money on our little kids on the street instead of on making more and more bombs.

About the author

Junaid Qaiser


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  • I really liked your article, because you spoke from the heart,giving your writing the same element of life that was visible in the young girl who asked for a second picture with profound excitement. That was a moment to treasure, for it could the only bit of happiness, in a torturous day, for the homeless,impoverished child. And yet, while sharing this moment of happiness with these indigent children,you could not help comparing their plight with that of your own well dressed, well fed children. Now, that put you in a quandary.

    But you are not alone in this predicament. Well to do Pakistanis, while sitting in their cars, awaiting food orders, have to make a conscious decision every time such a child knocks at the car window. What should we do, how much should we help them and more importantly, for how long? While you were gracious enough to buy them five shoes, others should just as easily have lent a blind eye to their deplorable plight. In a society of have and have-nots, such scenes are becoming increasingly pervasive.

    “What if that uncle asked for more in return than just a picture and a hug?” Now, how do you answer this question? What if it was your child standing outside the car? Your child having to compromise his dignity, just to feed an empty stomach. I would not normally ask such a question, but these times we live in are not normal-and by extension-extraordinary times beckon extraordinary measures. The elite of our country should bear responsibility for these unfortunate children, not only because of their duty as citizens of the land of the pure but also because humanity entails a degree of compassion and morality.

    On a side note, I would like to offer you a humble suggestion, which you may disregard or embrace. I see that you are a doctor, practicing in the United States. And you dont have to explain your decision, to me of all people. But I once read that a good chunk of Pakistani doctors practice in the United States, and this struck me as an astounding statistic. Especially given the horrid condition of our own hospitals, where every day, human lives are lost, just because of the dearth of qualified faculty. If you want to be part of the solution, then why not move to Pakistan, where you are needed with utmost urgency. Think about it, it may not be a bad choice, all things considered( Besides, you see like a compassionate soul).

  • Join for support of poor worldwide and for that separate religion from politics , add social justice to government policies . End discrimination .

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