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:

Cross-post from Helping the Internally Displaced


Filed under Children, Citizens, human rights, minorities, Pakistan, poverty, Taliban, Terrorism

7 responses to “Diya – a Hero’s Daughter

  1. Milind Kher

    PTH has done a wonderful thing by highlighting the heroic act of Pervez Masih. Laying down one’s life to save that of others is the ultimate sacrifice that one can make, and such acts must be made known.

    It is to be hoped that the daughter will get reasonable support for her future education. Maham’s intitiative needs to be applauded. May her tribe increase.

  2. Can someone please put it in bold that this brave soul was a Christian, a so-called non-believer, who laid down his life while saving lives of so many others.
    I wonder how many Friday sermons will have prayers for Pervez and how many will have the guts to admit it from the pulpit that a Christian can be a better human than a Muslim?

    May Allah bless Pervez’s soul!

    Just my 2 cents!

  3. Milind Kher

    There is no guarantee that a Muslim is a believer.
    When the bedouins claimed to be Momins, the Holy Prophet (SAWA) at that point asked them only to assert that they were Muslims. Please see below:

    The wandering Arabs say: We believe. Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Ye believe not, but rather say “We submit,” for the faith hath not yet entered into your hearts. (HQ 49:14)

  4. mohammad

    Pakistani christians are one of the sections of society which are working for the betterment of it. From thankless jobs like cleaning and refuse collection and disposal to running successful charity hospitals and prestigious schools their contribution is under appreciated. Though I never studied in hit, but have merry memories of representing my university in a marathon organised by the said institute, the day terror struck IIU , it felt awful. This story truely lifted my spirit, as it high lighted positive side of humanity. In the war against terror,there is no question of muslim or non muslim but human or inhuman. As well as the bereaved family is concerned they will be helped for sure.

  5. Anwer Zahidi

    A poem in Urdu written recently is pasted over here.
    کوی دلدار موسم ا ب۔۔۔۔۔۔۔

    کوی دلدار موسم اب
    نہیں دل پہ اثر کرتا
    کوی مانوس رُت
    صحن چمن میں اب نہیں آتی
    فصیل شب پہ تارے جھلملاتے ہیں
    نہ اب آکاش پہ مہتاب روشن ہے
    ہوا چلتی ہے یوں سہمی ہوی
    جیسے تعاقب میں کوی آسیب چلتا ہو
    دھماکے ۔۔۔آگ کی بارش ۔۔۔لہو بہتا ہو اہر سو
    گھروں میں خوف سے دبکے ہوے بچے
    بڑو ں سے پوچھتے ہیں
    کب شب تاریک ہوگی ختم۔۔۔۔۔؟
    اور دن کا اُجالا پھر سے اُبھرے گا
    بھلا پھر کب سے پڑھنے جایں گے
    اسکول ہم اپنے ۔۔۔۔۔۔؟
    دھماکے ۔۔۔آگ کی بارش ۔۔۔۔لہو بہتا ہوا ہر سو
    میں کیا بتلاوں بچوں کو
    کہ کب نکلے گا سورج امن کا۔۔۔۔؟
    اور کب بھلا عفریت دھشت کا ملے گا
    روز آخر سے۔۔۔۔؟
    وہ دن کب آے گا۔۔۔۔۔؟
    کہ سکھ کا ساون چھاے گا پھر سے
    کہ یہ وہ ظلمت شب ہے
    جسے خود ہم نے سینچا تھا۔۔۔۔۔

    انور زاہدی

  6. thegoriwife

    I saw a CNN video about this. So sad. And in it the little girl was asking for Baba and her mother had no way to answer her. She said something like yes, I’ll get baba for you, one minute. Such a terrible tragedy for this family, and for what reason?

  7. D_a_n

    I wonder if kashifiat and his ‘business women’ ,ie, Dr. jawwad, Ummi, talkhaba would have been able to muster the courage if they were working in a convent school full of nuns and act like pervez masih…

    I think NOT…

    bloody cowards would have ran out on full after burners…