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Pakistani pop star focuses on philanthropy

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10 2012 9:27 a.m. MDT

The famous Pakistani singer Shehzad Roy, right, uses his fame and wealth to improve the lives of his countrymen.

Associated Press

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The famous Pakistani singer Shehzad Roy leverages his fame and wealth to enhance the lives of his countrymen, NPR reported last week.

By way of illustration, in 2007 Roy’s education-focused Zindagi Trust took over management of the Fatima Jinnah girls' school that serves 2,100 students. The school is in one of the worst neighborhoods in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city with a population of more than 18 million — a figure that exceeds the combined populations of New York City, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago.

“Hungry stray dogs used to roam the classrooms (of Fatima Jinnah girls’ school),” NPR’s Lauren Frayer reported from Karachi. “A former principal ran an illegal side business renting out the schoolyard for weddings. Leftovers and trash attracted rodents and wild dogs. Rubble piled up in the place of desks. Raw sewage ran in the drinking fountains. … Zindagi Trust has rebuilt the (school), installed computers, trained teachers and started the first-ever lessons there in art, sports and chess. The trust is moving on to other public schools and also runs after-hours programs for child laborers.”

Last year The Express Tribune of Pakistan noted the connection between the 34-year-old Roy’s charitable work and his song lyrics: “It was some of the problems he faced while building Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School in Karachi that formed the basis of his song ‘Laga Reh’” — a title which roughly translates to “Carry On.”

Jamshid Ghazi Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at jaskar@desnews.com or 801-236-6051.

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