Story of a bus hostess in Pakistan

Sumaira Rajput
Posted June 8, 2020 from Pakistan
Story of a bus hostess in Pakistan

I was travelling for Lahore from Islamabad as I rejoined office after the sudden demise of my father.

Every inch of thoughts was drenched in chaos.

I wasn’t even taking my meals properly sometimes once in 24 hours either.

I left office at 10 by reaching Faizabad bus terminal I realized that I haven’t eaten anything since last 24 hours so I decided to pick some eatables from I-8 Markaz and grabbed food from a nearby restaurant.

At about 11PM, I was in my bus but as I wasn’t feeling hunger,  decided to eat in a while.

Thinking of my father,  his support,  his love,  his last breath, I didn’t notice the departure of bus and came back in my senses only when a bus hostess asked: do you need headphone? I declined.

She was sitting beside me when I started eating and asked her to try food as the food was delicious; she refused at first but then started eating while eating she said she haven’t eaten anything from last two days. I just left food and ask her to finish it … she asked what happened?

“It’s not my eating time,” I replied.

As she finished her food and started distributing water and other stuff in passengers. I was left with a number of questions.

At Kalar Kahar, she brought some tea and snacks for me, I was surprised but asked her to sit with me.

When she joined me,  I asked why she didn’t take food from last two days??

Her reply, her expressions were enough to make me uneasy.

“I am on a journey for last two days. I took the bus from Lahore to Faisalabad and then from Faisalabad to Lahore. As I reached Lahore, a bus was ready for Islamabad so I took that bus and now I am traveling with you for Lahore. The bus for Sargodha will be there for me onward,” she replied.

For a second or two I didn’t believe what I heard a minute before, and asked what???

Without any rest?? Where did you sleep then?? Her answers where more heart shaking than my questions.

“This isn’t a routine of this week..  I am doing it for last three years of my career as bus hostess ” she replied.

In my media career, I have gone through several stories but this was something shocking, something I haven’t heard before.

In recent months, due to my job in Islamabad I have to travel every week to my native city and started exploring these kind of stories which are in thousands.

I got so worried about her and many other like her but then she told me that she is from a poor family of Sargodha and is doing this job to support her family.

She added that she has a 13-year old sister who she is trying to marry off for her would be in-laws have threatened them.

“They say they will send back my elder sister (married in the same family), if we don’t marry the 13-year old in their family,” said the hostess.

I was taken aback by this revelation, we talk about child protection all the time on our TV shows but just few miles away from Lahore, I am hearing the news of a 13-year old getting married against her will.

This was not all, she had a spinal injury as a result of an accident on motorway but can’t get proper medical treatment due to financial restraints. Moreover, she keeps it a secret in Sargodha that she works as a bus hostess for her Mohallay wallas might throw her family out.

 

I then asked her about the environment of a bus like does she face  harassment?? she replied in affirmative, adding that sometimes passengers try to molest her.

What is the policy of bus service regarding harassment ??

“They don’t take action against the passenger as they don’t want to lose them,” she replied.

I was in utter shock.. her tired face, her sheepish eyes left me shocked and ashamed.

I had no words to console her… no words.

After a few moments, however, I promised her that I will try my best to find her a good job so she didn’t have to bear all this.

While reaching Lahore I hugged her and paid my salam to her.

Till today, some questions aren’t allowing me to think straight.

If a girl is a bus hostess, it means she is available for every man?? Why is being a bus hostess so disgraceful for Mohally wallas?? where is child protection bureau?

Comments 35

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Ruba AlZubi
Jun 08
Jun 08

Still a long way to go.... what a shame :(

Sumaira Rajput
Jun 08
Jun 08

for a women in developing countries its always be like..

SUZAN
Jun 08
Jun 08

Incredible. This is exactly what the world isn't paying enough attention to. Women and young girls are like pawns in a game of chess. Just push them and use them as you like. It's so sad the story you shared but these are realities we must combat. I had a similar case with a widow whose in laws despised her and took away the late husband's assets. They left her sad and depressed with 3 kids. The rights of women and young girls needs to be strengthened.

Sumaira Rajput
Jun 08
Jun 08

exactly its the reality women faced a lot and are facing. moreover I am trying to be voice of many like her through my stories and whatever i can in my personal capacity.

Chi8629
Jun 08
Jun 08

Thank you for sharing.

Sumaira Rajput
Jun 08
Jun 08

I am trying to be voice of many like her through my stories and whatever i can in my personal capacity. thanks for the support :)

SUZAN
Jun 09
Jun 09

You are welcome dear. Please keep the spirit up.

Amida Oluwatosin
Jun 08
Jun 08

Amazing, thanks for sharing

Sumaira Rajput
Jun 08
Jun 08

I am trying to be voice of many like her through my stories and whatever i can in my personal capacity. thanks for the support :)

Jill Langhus
Jun 08
Jun 08

Hi Sumaira,

Welcome to World Pulse! Thanks for sharing this sad story. When did this happen, and have you been able to find her another job? I'm glad you're bringing more awareness to these situations so more people aware of them, and hopefully then be rectified sooner rather than later. I'm looking forward to seeing more posts from you and learning more about your work, and goals, too.

Sumaira Rajput
Jun 08
Jun 08

It happened before pandemic and situation is even worse in pandemic I am in search of job for her but currently here in Pakistan we are having lock down due to covid19 which is suppose to be a great hurdle

Jill Langhus
Jun 10
Jun 10

Oh, I see. Yeah, I can imagine.

Yes, that is a challenge. Please keep us posted on an update.

Hope you have a good, safe rest of the week!

Audrey Bake
Jun 08
Jun 08

This is really inspiring. At least the world will put more attention to real matters.

Sumaira Rajput
Jun 08
Jun 08

I am trying to be voice of many like her through my stories and whatever I can in my personal capacity. thanks for the support :)

Hello, Sumaira,

Welcome to World Pulse! What a joy that a new voice from Pakistan is rising up!

How strong this woman is for being able to endure many levels of challenges in her life, and yet it is heartbreaking to know how much one woman suffers.

Thank you for sharing this with us. We're looking forward to reading more from you. Please keep writing.

By the way, I would like to invite you to join the Encourager Program. You seem to care so much like giving a hug to the woman in the bust. Kindly check this link just in case you are interested: https://www.worldpulse.com/world-pulse-leaders/encouragers

Welcome again to our growing sisterhood!

Sumaira Rajput
Jun 15
Jun 15

sure Karen I would love to join, humble on such warm welcome

Great! Kindly click on the link I sent above. I hope you receive a World Pulse email. We will have an Encourager Party on June 26 via Zoom. Hope you can join us there, too.

Patience Nyange
Jun 09
Jun 09

Wow! Incredible. So sad.

Thanks for sharing.

Raziyaa
Jun 09
Jun 09

Thanks for sharing
This is so sad and yes in developing countries women are suffering....

Chidimma
Jun 10
Jun 10

Hello Dee Sumiara, this is so sad. Women are going through a lot just to survive. Thanks for sharing.

soul on fire
Jun 12
Jun 12

Thank you for sharing this story. Looking forward to hearing your stories and about her❤️

Sumaira Rajput
Jun 15
Jun 15

sure love

Shirin Dalaki
Jun 12
Jun 12

Dear Sumaira,
Welcome to World Pulse and thank you for sharing your story, you show love and compassion.
This awareness and the conversation that was happening is truely sad. Women have so much value and are the heart of the world. My sincere hope is that every girl and woman get proper education and rise up from this hardship that we keep witnessing and claim the power that is our birth right.

Sumaira Rajput
Jun 15
Jun 15

thank you for such warm welcome

Ivonne Abreu
Jun 13
Jun 13

Hello Sumaira, I cannot even imagine what it’s like for her to be on that bus. What will it take for men to acknowledge that women cannot be subjugated to such torments? please let us know what happens to her and if you are able to see her again. My heart goes out to her and all the other women and children in this predicament. Thank you for sharing her story.

Sumaira Rajput
Jun 15
Jun 15

It happened before pandemic and situation is even worse in pandemic I am in search of job for her but currently here in Pakistan we are having lock down due to covid19 which is suppose to be a great hurdle

Tamarack Verrall
Jun 14
Jun 14

Dear Sumaira,
Thank you for telling us this story. We are documenting and taking to heart all the many ways that women and girls are so unfairly, so cruelly treated, and how dangerous life is all too often, just trying to survive. That young women have to do this to survive, is the shame of this patriarchal system, and of those who support it by doing nothing because they benefit. It is your response, as a true sister, that shows how important the work is that is being done by you and by sisters here like you.

Sumaira Rajput
Jun 15
Jun 15

thank you so much I am touched by your words. I am helping her in my personal capacity

Colleen Abdoulah
Jun 14
Jun 14

Oh my goodness I feel such anger and pain about how this type of circumstance is the reality for so many women - I am grateful for heart and passion to be their voice and to raise awareness and do what you can. Have you been able to keep in touch with her and help her get another job? May you continue to have the strength and ability to be an advocate and spokesperson for these sisters

Sumaira Rajput
Jun 15
Jun 15

thank you so much I am touched by your words. I am helping her in my personal capacity It happened before pandemic and situation is even worse in pandemic I am in search of job for her but currently here in Pakistan we are having lock down due to covid19 which is suppose to be a great hurdle

Tomasa
Jun 19
Jun 19

I am so sorry for your loss.
Thank you for sharing this story. This is so sad and unfair. There is so much work needed to make the difference. Awareness regards to these abuse against women and girls is so important, so thank you again. Looking forward for your posts.

Sumaira Rajput
Jun 23
Jun 23

I Will for sure thanks for kind concern

tsungEQX
Jul 09
Jul 09

Thank you for sharing and being a kind-hearted person

louise.isaac
Jul 22
Jul 22

Thank you for sharing your story Samaira, how lucky was this lady to have met you. I'm sure your conversation gave her strength and courage. There is such hardship in the world :-(

Nab
Jul 23
Jul 23

This makes me angry. That young woman is trying her best to make a life for herself and her family. She's trying to save her elder sister's marriage and save her younger sister from being a child bride. On top of it all, she's being harassed while working.
Thank you for highlighting this issue.