A 12-year-old boy committed suicide by self-immolation in despair over not being able to afford a new school uniform.
Kamran set himself on fire on March 25, 2012, and died of severe burns on Friday in Subhan Khwarh village, Charsadda district.
A student of Class-VII, he had asked his mother to buy him a school uniform when he came back from school last Saturday. He only had two pairs of clothes, both of which were already worn out.
“My son demanded money for a new uniform, which I failed to provide,” his overwhelmed mother Shandana Bibi told The Express Tribune, adding that her son lit himself on fire when she denied him the request.
“I refused to buy a new uniform because I didn’t have the money to even buy food; where I would buy a new uniform from?” she asked.
She said her son got petrol from a nearby petrol pump and torched himself. “We rushed him to the hospital where he was admitted for five days in a critical condition before he died.”
Kamran’s elder brother Saleem told The Express Tribune that their father had borrowed money from friends and relatives and went abroad in hopes of finding a job to lift them out of poverty. However, he is still unemployed since the last three months.
“We are homeless, that’s why we are living in our aunt’s home now,” Saleem said, while holding the “whole system” responsible for his brother’s death.
“Doctors demanded Rs500,000 for Kamran’s treatment and we didn’t have it,” he said. “We don’t even have money for food.”
Zakir Khan, the principal of Kamran’s school in Pir Qilla, told The Express Tribune that Kamran was one of his best students and that he held second position in the whole school.
“Due to poverty, Kamran was unable to continue his studies, so he left the school and started collecting scraps with his uncle but I readmitted him without demanding any tuition fee because he was an asset for the future of this country,” he said.
Khan was also critical of the doctors for demanding Rs500,000 for Kamran’s treatment.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2012.