Reality can be much stranger than anything that fiction can muster, which is probably why none of us could have imagined how the son of a samoosa vendor from Malakand can top the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) examinations.
Shah Faisal, 18, bagged the top spot in FSc computer science group, results of which were announced on August 1.
But for all of his marks, all 869 out 1,100, the happiest moment for Faisal was the gleam that it brought in his father’s eyes after hearing about the result.
Faisal recounts that he was overcome with emotion when later his teachers from his school and college visited his house to congratulate him.
But road has not been this kind to the Malakand native.
While his father ensured that he attended school, after class, time was spent at the roadside establishment where the father-son duo sold ‘samoosas’ to feed eight family members.
Faisal’s remaining time is spent teaching kids in his village.
After passing his matriculation with flying colors from Government Higher Secondary School Chakdara in Lower Dir, Faisal applied in a number of colleges for enrollment in FSc. But the colleges only extended him admission on self-finance seats, fees for which he could not afford.
Not one to be discouraged, Faisal soldiered on and managed to get admitted inot Government Degree College Gulabad, Chakdara.
Armed with his marks, Faisal tried out for the Computer System Engineering Department at the University of Engineering and Technology (UET). There he secured 487/800 marks in the entrance test, 57th position.
But there is something else which worries Faisal more than his low scores in the UET entrance test, the struggle to pay high fees again. His, he says, has not been able to arrange the necessary funds for him to go to university.
But light may yet be on the horizon. Wasil Khan, who was recently elected to the local government, has assured Faisal of financial assistance. But much will depend on the final merit list of the university.
“My father has to look after eight family members, he works in the morning too in order to fulfill the family’s expenses and pay for our education.”