Balochistan’s snowstorm hero says mother trained him to help others

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KARACHI: A 31-year-old resident of Balochistan, who rescued more than 100 people trapped in a snowstorm in Pakistan’s southwest, says his mother always taught him “to help others during their time of need.”

Suleman Khan got a chance to live up to that expectation three days ago when heavy snowfall blocked the Quetta-Zhob highway. Hundreds of commuters were stranded due to harsh weather, many of them with women, children and elderly relatives.
Khan not only rescued these people – providing them fuel and mechanical support – but also took them to his residence to offer food and shelter.

Habib Ullah, one of the many commuters saved by Khan who spoke to a local news channel, said that Khan helped more than 100 people.

“During my childhood, my mother advised us to help others. As I started helping people in the snowstorm, I called her and said I would not return home on time. She prayed for me and wished me good luck,” he told Arab News from Quetta on phone.

Khan was invited by Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan who presented him a shield for his heroism and bravery.

“I did what I did to please God,” he added. “I didn’t want to be seen on social media websites. At some point, however, someone shot videos and shared them with others.”

Khan said he was praised by many, hoping that his good deed would also motivate others to help people around them.

“I was busy rescuing others when someone filmed me and made me famous like the Chai Wala,” he smiled while referring to a worker at an Islamabad tea shop who shot to fame after a photographer shared his picture on her social media accounts.

Khan left school while he was still in the fifth grade. This was due to abysmal poverty, though he made a good fortune for himself by working hard and has a mine of chromite mineral along the Quetta-Zhob highway.

He said he went to rescue his workers but noticed a woman who was expecting and needed help.

“Some people suspected they would die in the snowstorm,” Khan recalled. “There was a lot of breeze and it was clear that aerial help would take time to reach the place. That’s when I called my mother, took her blessings and returned to help others.”

He added that he continued rescuing people until about 8pm.

Khan also made a video after the incident, urging young people in Kuchlak, his hometown, to help people who are caught in such catastrophic situations.

“As more snowfall is predicted in the coming days, people will need help … We need to maintain good communication so we manage to deliver food to people who run out of rations,” he said.

“It is not just the government’s responsibility: We are also required to help those who need us. This is what we have been told since childhood,” Khan continued.