By Fazal Amin Beg
Like all animals or plants among the biotic kingdom, each human has the utmost requirement to spend his or her life with the fundamental rights until and unless he leaves this mortal world.To what extent the fundamental rights a human receives as an individual or family or group of families and community is a genuinely serious question to be raised, explored and understood in different contexts within and across societies, cultures and nations.To what extent the fundamental human values, centuries and millennia old inclusive , justice-based and dignified, are honestly and with true faith in practice today are, without any doubt, valid points of concern on the ground or radar of universal human value system.
Well, when we observe today’s human societies and individuals or citizens in a comparative contex with the animals world, to a significant level , the notion of “survival of the fittest” of Darwin sounds valid. The big fish eats the smaller ones and each individual strives and thrives hard to survive at any cost, whether by hook or crook. However, there are yet a certain amount of people in the world who try their level best within their limited capacity to firstly prove themselves truly human and also press others to make justice with other people if claimed to be a human and elevated among other animals and creatures.
We need to generously recognize that among the population of billions of humans across the globe and mainly distributed by the nation states and divided by the political boundaries, a lot of bitter realities and challenges are witnessed among the various ethno-linguistic, regional and religious entities. Uneven distribution of material wealth is so common every where within all economic models whether capitalism, socialism, Islamic or any other model (if persists).The poor segment of all societies are quite obvious and visible who have been deprived from the required and desired material resources mainly due to the greed of those groups who have occupation over them, whether lawful or unlawful.
Moving ahead, to what extent the knowledge and skills have true meaning before those who are in power or have the authorities in political and organizational context (whether public or private sector or NGOs) is another big question to be deeply and fairly explored in order to get the true pictures and valid answers. What we could observe, at least in the context of the developing or poor countries, the enriched knowledge and skills of various indivisuals and groups are seen exploited in many ways. Consequently, those individuals, who honestly work hard and contribute significantly are deprived from their genuine parts of remuneration and that leads towards various types of frustration and injustice.Such social phenomena thus deprives or marginalizes not only the working individuals but rather their entire family dependent upon them. Many working individuals thus rise up in reaction and sometimes react violently against those who exploit them. Some bear the exploitation on them and keep silent. Some may get aside and begin their own ventures around different pathways, whther socially acceptable or unacceptable. The humans as individuals and families in their respective societies thus move on and continue their life journeies with diverse experiences and acquired knowledge around different fields and produce different cases of life struggles as part of survival of the fittest.
In this small contribution, I’m therefore going to explore, understand and present a brief case of an outstanding and a highly qualified human fellow from the Northern Pakistan who has crossed half a century of his life and has worked with different reputed organizations at national and international scales like the Aga Khan Education services, Pakistan (AKESP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Afiyat Nazar son of Sultan Nazar, 52 years old, is in his middle age and belongs to Gulmit, Hunza Valley of Gilgit-Baltistan Region in the Northern Pakistan. He got his school education from his hometown and left for Karachi. From there, he acquired his intermediate level education and then got admission in Karachi University from where he got his Master’s degree in International Relations. Afterwards, he also got his professional Master’s degree in Education (M. Ed) from the Institute of Educational Development of the prestigious Aga Khan University, Karachi. In professional capacity, he formally worked on different positions with different organizations such as Principal of Al-Amyn Model School in Hunza Valley, worked for a significant level of time with the Aga Khan Education Services, Pakistan (AKESP on different positions), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and many more.
Furthermore, Afiyat Nazar has carried out some fieldwork when doing his M. Ed from Aga Khan University (AKU), Karachi. He also contributed articles to various News papers of Pakistan in addition to some of his research-based papers, especially connected with educational development, from the historical to current contexts and have presented them to different professional conferences and workshops. Besides his mother tongue (Wakhi), he is fluent in English, Urdu and Burushaski, and has studied Persian and the academic Arabic for the Holy Quran. Apart from his professional endeavors and services , Afiyat Nazar has also contributed significantly in voluntary capacity to the different civil society organizations of his hometown and at regional scales.
Afiyat Nazar is well known for his hardwork, dedication to his profession and professional and academic critiques. For such wonderful people in the professional environment and organizations in Pakistan, little space are evidenced to be provided. Although, COVID-19 brought uncountable challenges to the human community across the globe in different context, it also brought enormous opportunities for the people. The unemployment issues that got highly intensified especially after the notorious Regime Change Operation when Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Government was mal-intentionally ousted. A highest level of political instability emerged on the polital landscape of Pakistan. Serious challenges and issues are witnessed in different contexts from the unemployment to various types of insecurity, serious level of human rights violation to the socio-political unrest and harassment in Pakistan.
However, when the opportunities of employment ceased and hard time came over him to support his family, especially his children’s education, he had to look for online jobs, did some work out and also opted for a micro level enterprise in conventional way embedded in PKR 30,000 (thirty thousand Pakistani rupees) to sell the fruits despite the fact he used to get attractive salries per month when he was in employment with the NGOs and INGOs. At present, the value of Pakistani rupees in the current context is so grave that one dollar has risen to more than 240 PKR and spending one’s family’s life has become so much difficult when one’s children are grown up and study in the universities and colleges, despite the fact his wife is also employed in an organization and contributes to her family within her capacity but the ground realities of expenses and family investment on education and other social requirements are far above than one could expect for the middle class families.
Though, Afiyat Nazar gets offer of employment with a couple of organizations in Gilgit, he avoids to be employed for any organization as the issues and uncertainties of employment on contracts always persist like guns over a person. What could or should be done alternatively then? The smart Afiyat Nazar thus looks at the market and finds a lucrative niche with regard to the conventional model of enterprise starting from a micro level investment of PKR 30,000/-. He ventures to take an initiative of enterprise of fruit selling. He purchases a sizeable cart and courageously starts up his business at smaller scale. It becomes three months already for his business so far since August 2022 where he has been investing his tireless efforts, resources and time to contribute towards his family’s survival and his children’s education. He is so satisfied what he has been doing in his business as there is no boss of him unlike those who would dictate him in the organizations. He has thus been productively contributing to his family in different ways by working hard for 16 to 17 hours per day starting from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
We need to understand and realize that at this stage, it is not only Afiyat Nazar’s lucrative business with a modest approach in livelihood but rather also gets some time on the spot to quench his thirst of studies online and off-line around different themes and topics related with applied side of development, literatures, philosophy, religions and the like.
It is also noteworthy that when some fruits he observes that they are expected to become vulnerable, he grades them aside and does a practical social welfare and gives them freely to the studens, poor and labors coming across him.
I hope this individual case will open the eyes of the readers and especially all those who are in power politics and abuse power in many ways, or in public sector organizations or in the NGOs. Though, apparently, this is an individual case, it represents to a great extent the caes of those families who were of his age, stage and positions in the society. This is what the short story of Afiyat Nazar comes to an end.
A lot of lessons we could derive out of his fascinating life. Let me opt for two most important ones. Those who are jobless, especially the educated and non-literate youth, he shows them a clear pathway to opt for such ventures without any hesitation or shy as he is a well-qualified professional but opted for this micro-level business, which requires not degree at all but rather refined and friendly behavior with the customers he or she deals with honesty. Second, a full time to be invested in the enterprise without any lame excuse. Third and more importantly, there is a huge slap on the related senior management officials of the orgnaizations whether, public sector or NGOs or private, should rather must realize that avoiding to retain such enriched human resources is a big loss for the entire region and communities when their employments ar denied apparently or verifiably due to the professional jealousy and greed of different types of the bosses or otherwise.
To add and validate a bit, let me venture to conclude that this is not just a statement or argument for the sake of argument about Afiyat Nazar but rather based on the discriminatory organizational environment in Pakistan, especially in Gilgit-Baltistan Region. For instance, I myself have also bitterly experienced many related professional discrimination on the ground whether with the Aga Khan development Network (AKDN), especially Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) , or some related public sector orgnaizations such as the Karakoram International University (KIU) in Gilgit, Quaid Azam University , Islamabad, and the Department of Culture and Tourism Department, Gilgit-Baltistan.My employment or candidacy was simply ignored and they didn’t looked in my professional capacity, potentials and states of affairs and remained biased to a greater extent.
Note: Those interested to watch and listen Afiyat Nazar’s lively discussion in English can click on the following link of EaglesWorld:
For the Urdu discussion, you may click on the following link of EaglesWorld: