Suicides, people’s desperation and govt apathy disconcerting: HRCP

Lahore, October 26:The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed shock at the people ending their lives out of desperation caused by poverty and helplessness and the authorities’ lack of concern and failure to improve the lot of the people.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Commission said: “HRCP is alarmed at the growing number of people taking their own lives amid sheer hopelessness because of their circumstances. Raja Khan from Naushero Feroze who committed suicide near parliament has joined nearly 1,600 people who have taken their own lives this year out of desperation over their misery. This figure is in addition to more than 800 people who have attempted suicide. On the one hand the people are being killed by terrorists and other criminals and on the other poverty and desperation are sapping the will to live out of the people. Yet the most distressing aspect is the apathy shown by the government in response.

This callousness is not reserved for those ending their own lives. It also extends to those who desperately want to keep body and soul together. These include Pakistan Railways pensioners some of who had spent the whole of Tuesday night outside a bank inLahorefor their turn to get their pension dues. One of the pensioners who had waited in the queue all night collapsed and died outside the bank on Wednesday morning. It is exceptionally disconcerting that no one from the authorities deemed it important to show up there to reassure the pensioners and to persuade them to go home. 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?

This apathy is giving way to violent behaviour in society and the people are increasingly keen to launch vociferous protests in the hope that their plight would be noticed by someone. HRCP is shocked and seriously concerned about the utter lack of value and concern for loss of human life and calls upon the government to wake up to its responsibility, take urgent steps to restore faith in notions such as human dignity and value of human life and rescue the people from the dire straits they face. It must also be alive to the people’s needs and demands and must also strive to meet them even before people resort to protests and demonstrations.”

Zohra Yusuf


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