Inspiration Pakistan: A Worthy Ambassador

Posted on September 20, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Pakistanis Abroad, People, Society
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Adil Najam

We write here often about corruption games and misappropriation deals by politicians and others. But we also want to honestly depict the actions of those many — many, many, many, in fact — who live by the principles of hard work and honesty that we all cherish. I am convinced that despite the cynicism that we all exude, the good amongst us are far more than the bad amongst us.

I was reading Gulf News in the plane last week and saw this story about a great ambassador for Pakistan. After reading everything else in the paper about Pakistan this made me immensely proud and hopeful.

Abu Dhabi: It is not the first time Rahim Khan Khilgi, a limousine driver, had found valuables left behind by passengers. “I have returned more than 18 mobile phones left behind by passengers. Besides, I also got Dh14,000 on one instance and $2000 on another. At all times, I have ensured that the passenger got back his/her belongings,” said Khilgi. Recently, Khilgi, a Pakistani driver working for Fast Limousine, was surprised when he realised that a passenger left behind his wallet containing Dh40,000 besides credit cards, cheques and other important documents. “On April 19, at midnight, a passenger from the business lounge of Etihad Airways boarded the limo. After I dropped him off at Dubai Marina I stopped at a fuel station to fill up. I got out of the car and as I was about to take my bag from behind I noticed a purse on the back seat,” said Khilgi.

He immediately handed over the valuables to Captain Ahmad Al Merri, the police duty officer at the airport. He has been working with Fast Limousine for the past three years. Earning Dh2,600 on an average every month, Khilgi said he wouldn’t say that money is not important to him. “Money is the most important thing these days. But can it give happiness? No. whereas the gratitude and happiness of a person who gets back his belongings are immeasurable.

“Most people ask me why I chose to return the money, but only my wife and a friend said that I did the right thing by returning the money,” he said.

Moved by the driver’s honesty, Captain Ahmad Al Merri wrote a letter to Fast Limousine’s management who in turn brought the incident to the notice of the Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC). Two weeks ago, ADAC honoured Khilgi ‘for demonstrating a high sense of honesty and personal integrity while serving customers at Abu Dhabi International Airport’. Recently, Khilgi was the guest of honour at a special ceremony hosted by ADAC Operations Department to present him a cheque of Dh4,000 in recognition of his exemplary attitude.

43 Comments on “Inspiration Pakistan: A Worthy Ambassador”

  1. iSharuk says:
    September 20th, 2007 8:47 am

    Awesome! He get rewarded for his honesty

  2. Ahsan says:
    September 20th, 2007 8:58 am

    Adil,

    Very touching story. Khilji’s honesty is remarkable. Alas, he does not belong to the catagory of important Pakistnis who represent the country. He belongs to the people (masses). I am afraid you have chosen a wrong person to represent Pakistan as an honest ambassador (official). Of course he can be an ambassador of honest Pakistani people but not that of Pakistan the country.

  3. September 20th, 2007 9:01 am

    These kinds of people are rare in our society. I oftenly say “once we used to pinpoint corrupt people in our where abouts and now we pinpoint honest people in our neighborhoods”.
    I admire the honesty because it is not easy as the driver accepted by himself. So far only his wife and one friend said he did right things but rest of them not because they are influenced by corrupt society.

  4. sidhas says:
    September 20th, 2007 9:11 am

    Adil

    People like him define character and make our nation proud. 2600 Dh per month is a low salary for Abu Dhabi. Situation in UAE is pretty bad if you fall victim to the lower and lower middle income class. People can not afford an apartment therefore they share room and bedspaces. It is a pretty shabby place underneath all the glitter. I was told that this was not the case but since the 9/11, all the new investment etc have fueled housing cost in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and even once affordable Sharjah has gone past average person.

    Considering how in recent years rise in cost of living has spiked and Mr. Khilgi’s meagre salary, I salute him for his honesty. May God bless him.

  5. Daniyal says:
    September 20th, 2007 9:25 am

    When I first came to Dubai to look for a job, I had to go to a lot of offices for interviews and many times the cab driver would be a Pakistani. I’d usually talk to these guys, ask them where they were from, when they came here, how often they went back, etc. On many occassions, the cab drivers refused to take money from me… saying they could not take money from a compatriot looking for work and wishing me luck in my job hunt. I was touched by their simple generosity, even though these guys were making less than $250 a month and it was obvious from my suit, manner of speaking and the offices I went to that I was fairly well off. This story is repeated by many of my other Pakistani friends working in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I believe the average Pakistani is honest, generous (to a fault), simple and perhaps even moderate. The people we read about in the papers, who represent us locally and abroad… are not a true representation of our nation.

  6. Kalim says:
    September 20th, 2007 10:00 am

    Am I the only one thinking he lost all this money and only got 4000 as a reward, where I come from this is bad economics bro. I need to sit down with him and give him some ECON 101 lessons.

    :)

  7. Khalid says:
    September 20th, 2007 10:06 am

    People like Khilji are NOT rare at all… tehy are everywhere…. most people are good and honest most of the time… usually honesty does not make a good story but dishonesty does so we hear much more about the corrupt…. thank you PAKISTANIAT for highlighting the good people….. you rightly say that there are many many of them out there everywhere

  8. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    September 20th, 2007 10:07 am

    “Of course he can be an ambassador of honest Pakistani people but not that of Pakistan the country”.

    Dear Ahsan. I missed your point. All of those living outside their country of origin are ambassadors of their mother country. People form opinion about others by what they see and hear. An honest Pakistani cab driver on the streets of New York or Washington D.C. is as much ambassador of Pakistan as the official ambassador sitting in the embassy. I wish this point is taken by ALL of our ex-pats all over the world. Our doctors in America because of their work and attitude enjoy good reputation in that country. They bring good name to Pakistan in spite of the media onslaught towards Pakistan and Muslims in the post-nine eleven period. Governments and systems come and go but you can not separate country from its people. People make the country. People are the country. If you do not approve of the government, change it by all means. If you are not happy with the society, try improving it. But do not pooh-pooh our country. It is sacred to us.

  9. ali says:
    September 20th, 2007 10:17 am

    I am touched

    Our Politician with billions in pockets should take a note.

    Honesty is a rare thing in Pakistan.

  10. Ahsan says:
    September 20th, 2007 10:52 am

    Dear Pervaiz,

    Of course all the Pakistanis living in foreignc ountries are representatives of Pakistan. You simply missed a word “official” in my comments.

    “I am afraid you have chosen a wrong person to represent Pakistan as an honest ambassador (official).”

  11. September 20th, 2007 12:54 pm

    Khilji’s commitment is remarkable but i know too many people in UAE driving taxis of different companies that keep every thing left by others as a bounty.

  12. ali raza says:
    September 20th, 2007 1:06 pm

    Pakistanis like Rahim Khan Khilgi are not rare. In the USA there are dozens of stories every year where Pakistani cabbies return valuables left behind by customers. These honest and hardworking people are always a source of inspiration and pride for the expat community. At the same time they serve as great ambassadors for the whole of Pakistan, painting us all in a good light with their high morality.

    Thanks Adil for bringing this positive piece to light. Pakistanis are great people.

  13. September 20th, 2007 1:18 pm

    I would certainly salute a person like that, he’s the rare breed that can be trusted with

  14. Wasiq says:
    September 20th, 2007 1:40 pm

    Pakistanis are good people and Mr. Khilgi is one of millions of good Pakistanis.

    This story makes us feel good but it is like answering a question that has not been asked.

    Most people around the world would agree that there are millions of good and honest Pakistanis.

    I think we should not confuse international criticism of Pakistan’s militarism, organized violence, lack of constitutionalism and badly behaved rulers or elites with condemnation of Pakistanis as being bad.

    The debate is never about individuals within a nation. It is always about the collective political behavior. Thus, when people criticize the U.S., they are not criticizing average Joe (or many of us who have U.S. citizenship). They are criticizing U.S. global policy.

    Similarly, excepting a handful of bigots, most critics of Pakistan are critical of Pakistan the political entity, not Pakistan the people.

    I feel good that Adil has shared with us the goodness of one of my countrymates. But Mr Khilgi’s good individual behavior does little to assuage my concerns about Pakistan or how it is viewed around the world.

  15. khalid says:
    September 20th, 2007 2:03 pm

    In AbuDhabi 90%of cab drivers are from Pakistan and mostly from NWFP area ,they are very hardworking and honest people . There are lot of incidents like this and they always return valuables or any thing they get in their taxis.

  16. saadullah says:
    September 20th, 2007 2:43 pm

    we worry lot about Pakistan’s image outside, but reading these comments the real problem is Pakistans image amongst Pakistanis. Seem most of commenters here do not have a good image of Pakistan themselves. I agree that there are far more good Pakistanis than bad ones. THanks for a good entry.

  17. libertarian says:
    September 20th, 2007 7:39 pm

    Isn’t “keeping” the money the same as “stealing”? Also doesn’t Dubai have punishments for theft where your hand and the rest of you go their separate ways? At least a few lashes?

  18. September 20th, 2007 8:37 pm

    It was very cheerful to read about Rahim Khan Khilgi[Khilji] and his honesty.More pleasure was his reporting in the newspaper ” Gulf News”. It is matter of honor for all Pakistani and a lesson for reviewing our behaviour wherever we are specially outside Pakistan.Last week in Australia,I met with a person from Nepal and when I introduced myself and my land(Pakistan) he narrated some awaful stories of some Pakistani in Singapore. I felt uneasiness and shyness but Khilji has made me compensated and feel proud.I appreciate him. May Allah reward him on the day of judgement.Ameen!

    Dr.Nabi Bux Jumani

  19. JayJay says:
    September 20th, 2007 8:40 pm

    Why this story, when honesty is expected of everyone, especially the one in the position of public trust such as a limo driver, as a matter of routine and normal behaviour. What next; someone stopping at a red light will be portrayed as a hero.

    A dog biting a man is not news; it is other way around.

    The world and the modern civilization survives on trust and honesty.

  20. Zia says:
    September 20th, 2007 8:52 pm

    Nice post to recognize Mr. Khilgi.

  21. Faraz K says:
    September 20th, 2007 10:11 pm

    Frankly I am a little surprised that so many people are so strongly impressed. This is proof of how low our expectations are from fellow Pakistanis.

    There may be good people in our country. But obviously there aren’t enough of them doing enough to change anything. And that’s the bottom line of virtually everything that’s wrong with this country.

  22. Reluctant Expatriate says:
    September 20th, 2007 10:31 pm

    Mr. Khilgi has made me proud of being born and educated in Pakistan. I hope we can follow his example. Then Allah will bestow us good rulers unlike the current dictator and previous corrupt prime ministers.

  23. September 20th, 2007 10:35 pm

    great work they are the true ambassadors of pakistan. yeah thats true that the corruption or mishandling becomes the news honesty is left behind, as a consequence we think everyone is a fake thug et cetera. We should put these things forward for ppl to recognize the positivety in culture.

  24. Roshan says:
    September 20th, 2007 10:44 pm

    Jay Jay,
    Trust and Honesty should be the fashion of the day but the fact of the matter is both these features are rare in this modern civilization not at micro level but even on mezzo and macro level too.
    I think Khilji sb proved that respect is more important than material benefit. Yes ofcourse, every individual represents his/her nation, therefore it is very necessary to behave and present yourself in a way that you are representing your self at individual, community and national level.

    Hats off for Khilji Sb!!!!!!!1

  25. asheikh says:
    September 21st, 2007 12:04 am

    Wonderful!

  26. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    September 21st, 2007 9:47 am

    “Seems most of the commenters here do not have a good image of Pakistan themselves. I agree that there are far more good Pakistanis than bad ones”.

    saadullah: You have touched upon an important subject. An explanation to your query lies in analysis of the group of commenters (including you and I) on this post and in fact on Internet the medium. Internet allows us to be anonymous, so hiding behind a pseudonym we could say any thing we want to say without taking a personal responsibility of our words. This could be more true about those who do not have any vested interest in the safety and stability of Pakistan. Thanks to the ineptness of Pakistani rulers and repeated involvement of military in governance both civilian politicians and military are discredited. But look at the commenters here. We, if we are Pakistanis at the first place, have no direct connection with the military or the government of Pakistan. Meaning our career paths are different from those who carry the noble cause of serving our country in or out of uniform. We are neither involved in building a good image of Pakistan nor it affects our daily lives. We for the most part are bystanders and spectators. Just commenters.

  27. sohail says:
    September 21st, 2007 12:36 pm

    Honesty is the best policy . Thanks for sharing the story.

  28. Shehzad Ahmed Mir says:
    September 21st, 2007 12:48 pm

    Adil, you get impressed too easily. The basic premise of your story seems to me assuming that all Pakistani’s are CHOR’s and only a few among us exist who are the beacons of honesty? I beg to differ sir. Though a good story but indeed most Pakistani’s are honest and do their jobs with the same spirit as this limo driver from Abu Dhabi.

  29. JQ says:
    September 21st, 2007 8:57 pm

    Incidently, i came across another such person today(or so he claimed) Ironically, I lost my mobile phone yesterday after college! I think i lleft in in the cab by mistake. Tried calling the phone, someone chose to reject by many calls. I then called the cellular company to get the SIM card blocked, which was done. In another cab, i vented my frustrations at that taxi driver with all sorts of things like ‘hum be-imaan hain sab’ , ‘naam ke musalman hain’, ‘ sab janvaron se bhi gire hue hain’ and the sort. I told him the whole story, and he was like ‘sir ji, hum to humaisha mobile wapis kar daite hain, aaj tak 6 moblie wapis kar chuka hun Allah ke karam se… aik ki qeemat 90,000 thi… hum ne aaj tak aisa ghalat kaam naheen kya…’

    Thing is, maybe you’re right that the pious and honest are there amongst us, but dear all, quite frankly i’ve yet to experience first hand such claims of piety being realised.

    If Mr. Khilji really did all this, he will get his reward in one form or the other definately. We all salute him!

    About the dishonest lot, well, what goes around comes around… *sigh*

  30. Fauzia says:
    September 22nd, 2007 4:10 am

    Some people seem to be missing the point. As I see it the post is saying most Pakistanis are good but we need to talk about the good actions too rather than only the bad

  31. anonymousindian says:
    September 23rd, 2007 11:48 am

    Very nice. I hope more people in the Indian subcontinent realize that honesty will take them places. I mentioned Indian in my name because traditionally (politically), we are supposed to be enemies – but I have no hatred for Pakistani citizens. We are all similar in many ways.

  32. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    September 24th, 2007 9:29 am

    “I mentioned Indian in my name——- but I have no hatred for Pakistanis.” says anonymous indian

    A very encouraging statement. Every positive gesture must be welcomed. We are similar in many ways and different in many. Once we learn to respect our differences and learn to live as peaceful neighbors we will be alright.

  33. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    September 24th, 2007 11:19 am

    majority of Pakistanis were, are, & will be honest as it is quite normal, so, ” LONG LIVE KHILJISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
    Khiljis Zindahbaad.

  34. January 21st, 2008 3:50 am

    i am rahim khan khiji and this is my cel no 0092 0334_9429312 and the uae no 00971507911073 and my home adress is district nowshera village badhrasi mohalla easha khel near speen masjid & my fax number is 00971_42996115

  35. January 21st, 2008 1:05 pm

    superb ……..amazing…..awsome……….fentastic ….

  36. DR WAJID says:
    February 2nd, 2008 12:16 pm

    we r proud of u really

  37. DR WAJID says:
    February 2nd, 2008 12:18 pm

    well done/ we r proud of u

  38. Rabi says:
    November 7th, 2008 9:55 pm

    Khilji four President.

  39. Naghmana Khan says:
    November 25th, 2008 8:47 am

    There is hope for us as a nation. A few bad fish cannot ruin the sea.

  40. June 8th, 2009 7:13 am

    Slam means God bless u american ambassador is doing a good role against terrorism and helping pakistan in the need of hour.hafiz ahmed madni mobile no +923006137202

  41. June 8th, 2009 7:36 am

    Slam dear madam ambassador Dr Afia should b sent back to pakistan by forgiving her and respecting women rights and of her children.

  42. May 6th, 2010 6:17 pm

    What is Pakistan’s exact stance on this issue?

  43. Watan Aziz says:
    September 19th, 2010 8:29 pm

    Pakistanis are decent, honest, hardworking people who are caught up in a bad system of governance.

    Good people have a sense of “common” sense.

    By discussing the good, the bad and the ugly, Pakistanis will be able to muddle through their problems. It is only a matter of time.

    And sooner the better!

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