A 45-year-old man committed suicide by self-immolation within the Red Zone in Islamabad on Friday leaving a trail of questions both about its circumstances and the quality of security in the sensitive area. The unfortunate man burned himself to death in the Red Zone, an area which is supposed to be heavily guarded, in the capital city. The man walked into the highly fortified zone carrying a bottle of petrol and a match box, sprinkled the petrol on his body and set himself on fire. He was rushed to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) hospital where he died. The ease with which the man entered the Red Zone with a bottle of an inflammable material puts a question mark over the quality of security provided and the alertness of the personnel deployed there.
There are several versions of the circumstances that led the unfortunate man, a resident of Murree, to take the extreme step of taking his own life. The police said a case had been registered against him in Murree of child abuse around seven years ago, and he was disowned by his family. On the other hand, his brother said he was unaware whether there were any police cases against him. The man named Faisal Mehmood in his dying declaration in the hospital blamed the police for harassing him. A suicide note found in his pocket too alleged that the police registered ‘false cases’ against him and caused him harassment that was leading him to kill himself. How a suicide note was discovered from a man who died on serious burn injuries? Why did not the suicide note reduce to ashes is something bewildering.
A judicial inquiry has been ordered into the case to ascertain the causes leading to the suicide and how the man entered the Red Zone on foot without being offered resistance by the security personnel then present there. The probe will, hopefully, clear the mist.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2020.
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