Unforgettable Taxi driver Hard times; educated but unemployed


I have lived and grown up in Islamabad and Rawalpindi for a good period of my life. With my meager resources and living there as a student I often had to resort to using the public transport to navigate my way around the twin cities and mostly preferred taxi’s since they took me to my desired location. However most of the time the trips ended in silence, with me paying the taxi driver as he dropped me off to my desired location. Mundane days, with mundane endings.
And it was just another day, as I sat in a broken down Suzuki fx heading home from college. It seemed just like any other, the only difference being that this particular cab was so broken down, that it was creaking and cranking from every nut and bolt as it whizzed its way slowly towards my home. The taxi driver, a dark guy with a moustache wearing an old ragged Shalwar Kameez seemed like a silent man. It bumped its way towards home.
I had no intentions of chatting up with the guy, Jalaludin was his name I later found out. I received a call from a friend and I started conversing with her in English. “The taxi is really broken down, I can barely hear you, I’ll call you when I reach home,” I told my friend. “My apologies, sir for the broken down Taxi,” the taxi driver said in impeccable English.
I stared at him, and kept staring at him, my mouth half open in astonishment. “How do you know such good English?” I asked him completely surprised and taken aback.
He smiled, “I completed my bachelors from Karachi University in Political Science. I was previously working with HSBC bank, as customer relations executive. I was recently fired. Previously, I was working with MCB in credit card sales,” he said, and noticed my reaction which hardly hid my disbelief as he talked to me. He chuckled, and said, “You don’t believe me do you sir?” “Well, it is pretty hard to believe that you were working with HSBC,” I replied. He took out his wallet, opened it and revealed his HSBC company card with his picture. It was the same man, wearing a suit, looking very presentable and hardly recognizable. I think it was the absence of the moustache. The card read, Jalaludin, Customer relations executive HSBC.
I gave Jalaludin my phone number and email address. I asked him to send me his CV and I’ll look around for a job. He never called. But Jalaludin is one of many taxi drivers out there, forced by the lack of job opportunities and circumstance to rent taxies and roam around the cities of Pakistan. What stands out though, is that honourable men like Jalaludin are now opening up to professions like driving a taxi, in order to earn an honest living. For me personally Jalaludin stood out because he was a representation of the hard working Pakistani’s out there and how far they can go without compromising on their values.
For the youth of this country, Jalaludin is a reality check that questions the widely held belief of education enabling them to find a job. While this story is indeed quite unfortunate there does seem to be a tinsel of hope. What has started as driving a taxi, with Jalaludin’s education might enable him to utilize what he has earned to convert this challenge into an opportunity. One day, he might even have his own fleet of cabs, you never know.
Jalaludin is a testimony to the will of the Pakistani’s to survive, to not give up in the face of adversity and to stand up to any challenge irrespective of the odds stacked up against them. Here’s to celebrating people like Jalaludin and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy who remind us that Pakistan is more than just a failed state.

Comments and queries: [email protected]


  1. Mr. Jalaluddin is really a living legend in disguise. His life, based on an attitude of a honourable and hardworking earning, is exemplary for many around us.

    It’s really intresting to read unmatched comments of the main character of the article i.e. Jalalludin.

  2. Iam proud of Jalaluddin, he is Pakistan . I love my country wat ever troubles it may b going thru. My country may look rickety 2 some of us but remember this our country . U can go where u want they will not own u, they will say he’s a Paki . So own this country it needs u.

  3. Im so proud of Jalaluddin and many others like him working hard not only for their income but playing their vital role in running the wheel of the country's economy and giving hope to the youth of Pakistan for better future..

  4. Dear Bro,

    Thanks for the for the number & email.
    I am jalal ud din, and if you can see this message, you're the part of resistance. Money is just the number, on which whole humanity revolves.
    I am earning good, and i am satisfied for the efforts that i have being doing since 7 years. It took almost 5 weeks that you traveled with me.

    And the reason for not contacting you is, you're just like others.. SAME…. What do you think, i myself never had resources for asking for a job?

    I meet people like you everyday, and i do not want to hope that at the end of the day, A stranger is going to provide me a job.. Trusted many times and broken down..
    Anyways thanks for raising the voice.

    • Dear Jalaludin,
      I'm very glad to hear from you. I was hoping that you would get in touch with me but I never heard from you. You inspired me the day I met you, and you gave me the courage and faith in my country. Thankyou and do get in touch. My email address is given at the end of the story for the same purpose.

  5. i am proud of him,really inspirational story, we found people like jalaludin in every nuk and corner of pakistan who are contributing for the betterment of the nation. we are suffering from lack of leadership, we hav had leaders who always tried to fill up their stomach. this is the time for change and we must think about it otherwise. god knows what will happend. thnx to writer who highlight such a talent of a nation whozz texi drivers are graduate.

  6. this in NO way should be seen as a sad story. Of all things, this is a truly inspirational and motivating story. God bless all the hardworking people in the world.

  7. Well done Ali Rizvi and even better JalaludDin. I am sure JalaludDin must be sleeping better than Zardaris and Gillanis, and at the end of the day that’s what matters.

Comments are closed.