| GEO Pakistan|
| Poverty-ridden family laid to rest|
| Updated at: 0839 PST, Thursday, June 17, 2010|
LAHORE: The poor family, which consumed poisonous pills having been sick of poverty, has been laid to rest in an atmosphere of utter despair and grave grief here on late Wednesday.
The spouse of Mohammed Akbar and one of his daughters survived while another two daughters and he himself could not live longer after they attempted suicide.
It may be mentioned, a family of six on Wednesday morning consumed poisonous pills in a suicide attempt in Shahpur Kanjra on Wednesday, in order to escape poverty.
Forty-year-old Muhammad Akbar Shah and two of his daughters died after consuming the poison. His wife, Aiman, his 12-year-old daughter Khadija and his son survived the suicide attempt.
Akbar, a rickshaw driver, had been living with his family and his brother, Amjad Shah, in a two-room house in Shahpur Kanjra village for the past two years.
Amjad told the police that Akbar was constantly stressed about his financial situation as he was the family’s sole breadwinner. Amjad said his brothers daily earnings had been decreasing daily, and the family lived on the brink of poverty.
According to Amjad, Akbar fought with his family on Wednesday about financial issues and fled his home, only to return a while later with some pills.
He dissolved the pills in water and gave the mixture to his family, consuming some himself.
The family was taken to hospital soon after they consumed the poison, where doctors managed to save Akbar’s wife and daughter.
Muhammad Aslam, Akbar’s father, said he had no idea that his son would take such an extreme step to escape destitution.
On the other hand, Afzal Khokhar, a PML-N MNA from the area, told media that there was probably some other reason behind the suicide.
He said that no one had committed suicide because of hunger, adding that due to his tight schedule on Wednesday he had not visited the family.
Talking to media, philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi said he saw similar cases very frequently.
“Every now and then we get women outside our homes, asking us to take in their children because they cannot afford rent or food,” he said. “There is only one reason for this: poverty.”
Edhi blamed tax-evasion and lavish spending for the huge disparity between the rich and the poor, adding that government institutions were not pushed to alleviate poverty either.