Thursday January 27, 2022

Three residents of Khairpur commit suicide due to hunger during lockdown

April 09, 2020

SUKKUR: Frustrated, in despair and in agony over watching their families suffer weeks’ long starvation during the lockdown, three labourers of Khairpur, hometown of former PPP CM Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, committed suicide.

The three persons, including a daily wager, a factory worker and a labourer, were unemployed for the last 14 days due to the lockdown imposed by the government of Sindh. They were deprived of their daily earnings, which was the only source of subsistence to them. Watching starving children, they first sacrificed their pride by running around people who could have provided help and then went endlessly seeking the much-touted government's social support outreach. In the end, they just could not take it anymore.

A poverty stricken man, resident of Mubarak Shar of Ahmedpur Town, identified as Sobhal Shar, committed suicide by self immolation. He was shifted to the GIMS Hospital, Gambat in Khairpur, with severe burn injuries but could not make it. Shar left behind a poignant message saying he was a labourer who had become unemployed for the last 14 days and could not fetch a way to earn bread for the family. Sobhal Shar said he endlessly visited the chairman of the union council, relatives and friends but no one offered him any help. Shar said he could not bear watching his starving children anymore and decided to finish his life.

Another labourer, Shahzeb Sahitto, who was a resident of Peer Muhalla in Gambat, attempted suicide by self immolation. He was rushed to the GIMS, Gambat, in critical condition after third degree burns over his body. The relatives of the victim said that Sahitto

was a labourer whose family was starving for the last many days and was passing through a very tough time, while his family was experiencing starvation due to continued unemployment. He went around seeking work and help but none was forthcoming. The government, relatives and friends could not offer him any help. He even tried to seek loan in despair, even that he could not secure. “He had become distraught and then on Wednesday, we found his body,” members of his family said.

Riaz Muhammad Maitlo also died due to hunger in Khairpur. He worked in a nearby factory which helped him support his family. But eversince the lockdown 14 days ago, he had lost the job. His teary-eyed parents said Maitlo was a decent man who would wake up every day, becoming more despondent as the nights closed in. Today, we found his body, said the weeping father piteously. Both the parents were greatly upset and angry with the government and the opposition leaders, including MPA Syed Rashid Shah who they said had stacked up millions but they had nothing to give to us at times of need.

What is the purpose of the shrines and their custodians if the Pir of Ranipur PPP MNA Syed Fazul Shah, Pyar Ali Shah and others could not help us. "My son has died, he cannot return," the father said, barely able to speak anymore. Still agitated, he held the Sindh government responsible for their starvation, unemployment and the despondency around for not thinking through ahead of the lockdown.

Conceding to the unemployment situation during the lockdown, the advocate general Sindh Barrister Zameer Ahmed Ghumro said Sindh and the federal governments are trying to control the damage. Hope he knows that is possible or is happening before several others opt for suicide as way out of their miseries.