A man committed suicide here on Wednesday due to poverty, the Kot Najibullah police said. Twenty-year-old Basheer Ahmed, a resident of Kangra Colony, was unemployed and had been facing great difficulties supporting his four orphaned siblings, police and family sources said.
The disenchanted young man had seemed to be under great stress for the last several days, family sources said, adding that on Wednesday, he locked himself in a room and shot himself.
Poverty has driven a number of people to suicide in Pakistan, with the case of Raja Khan, who burnt himself alive in Islamabad on Monday still fresh in many people’s memory. In addition, Mahmood Khan, a pensioner, lost his life after he and hundreds of other Railways pensioners were forced to wait outside a bank branch overnight to collect their pensions.
Limited job opportunities and underemployment have exacerbated the problem, with the most recent figures estimating that 14% of Pakistanis are underemployed (work less than 35 hours per week). More than 6% are unemployed, according to state bank figures.
Less than 6% of the Gross Domestic Product goes towards pro-poor spending, according to the SBP Annual Report 2010, with total spending on human development at 2.8%, and spending on social security at 0.5%.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2011.