Another disheartened jiyala is dead. Forty-year-old Wazir Ali Rajpar struggled for more than a year to clear his name in a bank fraud case, but set himself on fire on June 12 to end his misery. He finally succumbed to his burns at the Civil hospital’s Burns Centre on Friday evening.
Wazir, a diehard Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) activist and a former naib qasid in the district education department, was on a hunger strike for the past 14 months before attempting suicide.
He was rushed to the Naushahro Feroze district hospital in a critical condition, from where he was referred to Hyderabad and then to Karachi. Neither the education department nor the district leadership visited him at the hospital.
The Naushahro Feroze Deputy Commissioner was kind enough to give Rs100,000 to his family. He handed over the money on Thursday in Karachi – a bit too late.
The deceased had no children of his own, but had adopted two of his elder brother’s sons.
Wazir’s brother-in-law, Taj Muhammad Rajpar, told The Express Tribune that Wazir had contacted the Sindh High Court registry in Sukkur in search of justice, but his case is still pending there. “He was on hunger strike along with the minor children outside the press club for over a year, but justice was denied,” he added.
On the International Labour Day on May 1, Abdul Razaque Ansari, another PPP jiyala and former vice president of Badin city, had attempted self-immolation to protest the non-payment of his salaries. He later breathed his last on May 8.
According to Taj, Wazir was appointed as a naib qasid in the Naushahro Feroze education department in 1996. A decade later, a clerk at his workplace, Mazhar Ali Umrani, fraudulently withdrew 15 advance salaries from Wazir’s bank account. Within a couple of months, the deceased was relieved from his service. “After he was cheated in 2006, he started driving a rickshaw to earn his livelihood,” said Taj.
In 2010, Wazir’s received the shock of his life when he was served a legal notice from the bank, asking him to return a loan of Rs28,000. Taj says it was a scheme against an innocent person for which Umrani and Irfan Rajput, a bank official, were responsible. “The bank records say Wazir had died earlier; the education department says he was never its employee; then how did he get the loan in shape of advance salaries?”
As Wazir was also a union council member of the PPP, he contacted the party’s district leadership and the constituency representative, MPA Dr Abdul Sattar Rajpar, for justice. “All of them assured of their support, but no one actually did,” bemoans Taj.
District Officer Abdul Ghaffar Mehar told The Express Tribune that Wazir was not an employee of the education department. “I had conducted an inquiry into the matter and there was no record to prove he was our employee,” he said. “The deputy commissioner has also constituted a committee which will conduct a transparent inquiry into the case.”
Before Wazir died, the Rajpar community observed a strike against the education department in Naushahro Feroze on Friday. His death has pushed his mother into a state of shock. Two of her have already died. One of Wazir’s brothers is a farmer while two work at hotels on daily wages.With additional information from Imtiaz Soomro
Published In The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2012.