Hundreds of residents of Lodhran’s tehsil Kahror have been visiting an eight-year-old pir seeking a cure for their illnesses.
According to locals in the Kahror Paka, Shahbaz Ali, 8, allegedly possesses superpowers and has the ability to cure terminal diseases. “He has the ability to take away diseases by placing his hands on the patient and reciting Quranic verses,” said Paka resident Jawad Aslam.
“I was told to see Ali a year ago and at first I didn’t believe that a child could possess such a gift but my entire family has been cured of their illnesses. My sister had epilepsy and after he touched her she no longer experiences any symptoms,” he said.
Police officials in the area said that they had tried shutting down the operation several times but they couldn’t because nothing illegal was happening.
“We were told about this child a year ago but when we tried to get the people to leave they just began showing up at his house,” said inspector Dawood Khalid. “Now it is a business. He sits at a shrine every day and there are amulet salesmen who sit with him. He earns nearly Rs3,000 to Rs4,000 a day,” he said.
Locals in the area said that Shahbaz Ali was like a messiah.
“He has helped save so many people and we think of him as a living miracle worker. He has a gift,” said Ishrat Hussain, a liver patient, who said that her illness had been cured after she began visiting Ali for over a month. “Doctors completely refused to even see me anymore. They gave up on my problem but he managed to cure me,” she said. Dr Akram Shah, from the Nishtar Hospital said that the boy had gained fame because the people were superstitious. “People who visit him are generally uneducated and they tend to believe in all magic men.
This boy has no cure but because they believe he does that fuels their passions. It is a kind of mental placebo,” he added.
Ali told reporters that he loved doing what he did. “I feel blessed that I can help so many people. My parents bring me to the shrine every morning and now this place is like my second home,” he said. Ali’s father Jameel said that he felt his son was a miracle. “He cured my wife when he was only four. He kept pressing her head and her eye sight began to improve. That was when we knew he had the gift,” he said. Ali said that he only charged people who were willing to pay. “I don’t charge those who are too poor to pay,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2011.
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