KARACHI: From stealing our hearts with his music to clinching our reverences with his passion for education, Shahzad Roy, it seems, has always tugged at the heartstrings.
The philanthropist has now become the honorary brand ambassador for population and family planning.
In a notification, the Ministry of Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination said: “Reference to the fifth meeting of Federal Task Force on Population headed by honourable President of Pakistan, Mr Shehzad Ro[y], renowned singer and social activist has been named as honorary brand ambassador for population and family planning.”
The population of Pakistan could reach an uncontrollable and alarming level of 403 million by 2050, according to a projection of the United Nations.
It is unimaginable to think how the government would be able to provide employment, water, public transport, and food to so many people in the country when the provision of these basic necessities is a challenge even today with a population of 207 million.
Roy, with his untiring services for the field of education, fits best to aid the Prime Minister Office in devising strategies for population control.
The 45-year-old star was initially known for only his nostalgic love songs but his legacy has been further extended by his humanitarian works and services in the education sector.
He has remained at the forefront of activism for several years.
In 2018, he represented Pakistan at the 61st session of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna, Austria. In March 2018, he was awarded his second Sitar-e-Imtiaz.
The philanthropist received his first Sitar-e-Imtiaz for his organisation’s rehabilitation work after the 2005 massive earthquake.
Roy has always been very vocal against child abuse and rampant child-hitting cases in the country. He is of the opinion that the hitting culture in our society has extended to a level that the idea has taken root in our minds that issues can only be resolved through violence and beating.
He stresses establishing a strong child protection unit, under which the police and the health, education, and social welfare departments should work. He believes that when child abuse occurs in the school or at home, it is less a law and order issue and more a societal one, which is why the social welfare department has to step forward.
In a major reform for the education sector in Sindh, Roy’s Zindagi Trust successfully helped the provincial government change the teachers’ performance evaluation format for government primary schools.
There’s an Annual Confidential Report (ACR), based on which, every government official is assessed for their performance and given a promotion.
However, the problem is that the ACRs of police, teachers, doctors, and other government employees are similar. This means that a policeman and a teacher are evaluated under the same generic criteria, notwithstanding the altogether different nature of their work.
Singer, activist, and Zindagi Trust founder Roy took up this issue with the Sindh government, and now Sindh is the first province to approve a new teacher performance evaluation format for government primary school teachers, including teachers of basic pay scale nine to 15.
The nonprofit Zindagi Trust now seeks to get new evaluation formats approved for teachers of secondary schools and colleges.
Originally published in