“I just wanted the money to go back to whoever lost it, nothing else,” he told The Express Tribune on Sunday. He said that he informed the journalists there about the amount, requesting them to publish a story so that the person can come to him and collect his money. “It has been four days since then but nobody contacted me for the money,” he said, adding that the cash was still with him.
Shahid Karim lives in Gilgit and works at a private printing press for a salary that he says hardly meets his daily transportation expenses. He says that it is poverty that kept him away from school in his childhood. He says that his four brothers are also illiterate like him, and have been working for his father, who owns some land in Danyore.
Karim said that when he found the money, the first thought that came to his mind was how helpless the man who lost it must feel. “If I kept the money, I could have covered my expenses for six months easily,” he said, adding that his parents always taught him to be honest.
Amid the negative publicity from terrorism and political unrest, politicians termed the housekeeper’s honesty, “the real face of Pakistan”.
Last year, a hotel employee in Gilgit became a local hero after he found and returned over $50,000 in cash to a Japanese hotel guest.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2011.