PESHAWAR - Poor financial condition of the family has compelled a brilliant boy from Bajaur Agency to sell dust masks and other items in Peshawar.

Abdur Rahman, son of Mohammad Ajan, stood second among his class fellows in the sixth grade. However, the boy has to sell masks and other items along the roadside in Saddar Bazaar to support his family and care for his ailing father.

The boy wishes to become a pilot. “My father worked as a daily wager, but a few days back he was injured in a traffic accident and later developed muscular pain, due to which he is no more able to continue with working as a labourer,” Abdur Rehman narrated.

The boy studies in Government Shaheed Mohammad Waqar Higher Secondary School, Peshawar. He said his teachers are very much cooperative and want to see him successful in his studies. He said his father does not want him to earn for the family, but added that he had to sell various items for his family.

He said that due to the prolonged dry spell, demand for masks had increased considerably owing to dust in the atmosphere in the city.

He said he was earning up to Rs500 per day but if he would work for half the day, he would hardly make Rs300, because he has to attend his school in the first half of the day.

Abdur Rehman was happy, saying his income will increase during the recent ten-day winter holidays.

He said he was selling one mask for Rs40, thus saving 15 to 20 rupees on whole sale rate. Some well off people also pay tip which increase my income, he said. When asked regarding his future profession in the line of education, he said he wanted to become a pilot and make a good name for the country. He said he was giving special attention to mathematics and always getting 90 per cent marks in the subject.

 “If there were no financial constraints then my position would have been far better than the present as there is also difference in the level of teaching of government and private schools” Rahman mentioned.

He said hundreds of children like him were wandering in Saddar Bazaar to support their parents as daily expenses, house rent and utility bills were putting extra burden on their parents’ shoulder and that is why they were compelled to help them.

Due to the prolonged wave of militancy in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the educational infrastructure has been badly affected and the federal government has turned deaf ears to the demands of tribal residents who are completely ignored in terms of education and employment opportunities.

Ultimately, the residents of all seven tribal agencies have preferred to go to nearest cities in settle areas to get health, education and employment opportunities. The military operations in Bajaur, Mohmond, Khyber and North Waziristan agencies have pushed most of the tribesmen to Peshawar where provincial government has adjusted them in government schools with huge influx.