The life and death of Raja Khan, a victim of unemployment and poverty, sunk deeper into tragedy with the posthumous birth of his child barely two days after he committed suicide by self-immolation in front of the Parliament.
Khan’s widow gave birth to a baby boy in the Kandiaro district of Naushehro Feroz on Wednesday, Express 24/7 reported.
Khan, a resident of Naushehro Feroz in Sindh, poured kerosene over his body before self-immolating. Reportedly in his twenties, the young father left behind a letter saying that he was exhausted by poverty.
After he set himself on fire, police outside the Parliament House tried to rescue him and took him to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences. However, he succumbed to his wounds six hours later.
The news of Khan’s death came as a shock to his wife who was shifted to the hospital in poor health. With the newborn boy, Khan’s widow is left all by herself to take care of three children.
“I am responsible for my death. I am taking this step because I am fed up with my financial condition,” a police officer quoted Khan as having written in the letter. “If I die I should be buried in Islamabad. I have two children. The government should take care of them,” he continued.
HRCP expresses shock
In a statement issued here on Wednesday, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressed shock over the growing number of suicides and deaths caused by ‘poverty and helplessness’ and, more importantly, the government’s ‘lack of interest’ in the issue.
The HRCP said it was ‘disconcerting’ to see the government’s apathy in response to death of people by poverty and desperation in addition to several being killed daily in terrorist attacks and other criminal offences.
Questioning the absence and indifference of the relevant authorities, HRCP demanded that people should not be ‘humiliated’ for rights they are entitled to. The statement said: “Why must the people be humiliated to get what they are entitled to? Why must someone die before the authorities are woken from their slumber?”
The statement warned the government about growing frustration in society which might encourage ‘vociferous protests’ by the people in order to attract the government’s attention.
According to the HRCP almost 1, 600 people have committed suicide this year out of sheer desperation and hopelessness besides the 800 suicide attempts.
The HRCP urged the government to urgently address people’s concern while preserving their dignity. (ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AROOSA SHAUKAT IN LAHORE)
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2011.