Islamabad: Self-immolation bid foiled
ISLAMABAD: An Iraq-Kuwait war affected man’s bid to commit self-immolation against non-payment of compensation to him was foiled by the police here on Monday. Iftikhar Qureshi, the chairman of Voice of Pakistani Labour Victims of Iraq-Kuwait War, was shifted to the Kohsar police station and put behind bars in order to stop him from killing himself. He will be produced in the court of a magistrate on Tuesday to restrict him from taking such an extreme step in the future, said the police.
Besides, the police also approached the district administration seeking direction to expel the man from the city. On Sunday, Mr Qureshi informed newspaper and TV channel offices that he would commit self-immolation at National Press Club at around 11am on Monday.
He stated that he had been struggling for his rights since 2006. He said Supreme Court of Pakistan in a suo motu had directed the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) to clear his dues but to no avail.
Besides, he added, the apex court registrar did not provide him the copy of the court order. “My children have been expelled from schools due to non-payment of fees and they are starving,” he added.
However, when the time he had set to commit suicide came, the desperate man found the bottle of petrol he had brought for this purpose missing, as it was already taken away by the police.
After this, he announced that he would commit suicide at 3pm. Later, he kept on changing the time, prompting his onlookers, including media persons and police personnel, to make fun of him.
Talking to this reporter, Mr Qureshi said he was affected by the Kuwait-Iraq war in which one of his hands was also damaged.
He left Kuwait in 1990 and started working as a motor mechanic to earn a livelihood for his seven-member family, including six children.
He alleged that the United Nations had paid in dollars to the OPF for payment of compensation to the affected persons. However, he alleged, the OPF embezzled the amount and paid the affected person in rupees.
“Each affected person got Rs104,000, Rs50,000, Rs25,000 instead of $104,000, $50,000, $25,000,” he alleged.
“I have been on hunger strike since early June,” he said. For the last a couple of weeks, I have been staging a sit-in outside the press club.” He said over 96,000 Pakistanis working in Kuwait were affected by the war.