MULTAN: An unemployed father of four who lost his home in the floods died on Monday after setting fire to himself outside the prime minister’s home, officials said.
Muhammad Akram, 30, doused his body in petrol and lit himself with a match after being denied entry to Yousaf Raza Gilani’s private residence in Multan at the weekend, police said.
“We tried to save his life but he could not survive because his condition was serious,” said Dr Zafar Niazi of Multan’s main Nishtar Hospital.
“He tried to commit suicide yesterday. Police took him to the hospital and registered a case against him for attempted suicide, but he expired today,” said senior police official Mehmoodul Hasan.
Police and relative Abdul Sami said Akram lost his house in the floods and that his family is living in the open without a tent.
Relatives said Akram had to care for four children, a wife and two ageing parents at Jeewan Wala village, some 150 kilometres west of Multan, and lost his job as a factory watchman last May.
Akram searched fruitlessly for a job and decided to visit Gilani’s home to ask for a job recommendation. The prime minister’s security detail pushed him back and he set himself on fire, Sami said.
The prime minister was not in Multan at the time and neither was his office reachable for comment on Monday.
After the incident, police officials were instructed not to allow anyone to stand outside the PM’s house and to check people’s baggage to prevent such incidents from recurring. AFP (WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2010.