Pakistan’s financial hub Karachi has just witnessed a case of self-immolation where a Rikshaw driver set himself on fire as a protest against cop’s extortion.
Deceased whose name is Muhammad Shahid succumbed to burns at Burns Center of Dr. Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital.
Rikshaw Driver Self Immolation
Muhammad Shahid had set himself on fire after sprinkling oil on his body in front of the Police office in Saddar after he was fed up of giving extortion money to ASI Muhamad Hanif, who would otherwise hand him wrong challan.
According to media reports, a family of Khalil told that the deceased wanted to set an example through his self-immolation and bring attention to society’s wrong demeanor and prevent its fraternity from being a victim of power abuse.
What Prompted Shahid to Commit Suicide
A letter showing statement on behalf of Muhammad Khalid indicated that deceased committed self-immolation, not because of some debt or tension at home. But, he set himself on fire due to ASI Muhammad Hanif taking extortion of Rs 100 from him. On Saturday he gave him only 50 Rs and didn’t hand him more money despite his insistence. Consequently, cop handed Shahid challan. The later then decided the self-immolation by setting himself on fire. The 50% of the deceased body was burnt when he was undergoing treatment at Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital, reportedly.
According to Rickshaw driver his challan was wrong and he has been victimized several times by Traffic Police.
DIGP traffic has directed SP Traffic South to enquire the matter from all aspects and report by tomorrow.
2/2#Rickshawdriver #Karachi pic.twitter.com/xzEcqAdzaI
— Samar Abbas (@Samarjournalist) October 20, 2018
The letter also stated that Shahid committed self-immolation to save his fellow Rikshaw drivers from the cops who extract money from poor drivers and hand them challan for no reason.
Notice of Sindh IGP
IGP Sindh Kaleem Imam took notice of the incident and order DIG Traffic to conduct an inquiry into the matter. According to the latest reports, the cop who has been accused in the incident has been suspended for extorting money from the Rikshaw driver on Sunday.
Is Suspending Accused Cops A Solution
The self-immolation of poor Rikshaw driver has many perspectives. Many people may think that his life was not worth a challan and he should have resorted to other ways of protests. Unfortunately, the issue of extortion is one of the major issues that folks in Karachi are facing. It is deeply rooted in the system and needs tough measures for eradication than mere suspension of the cops.
In order to get rid of this bribe and extortion culture government needs to implement a strategy at a grass root level and this doesn’t include only an overhaul against the cops or traffic wardens who hand wrong challans to those who refuse to pay them extortion. In fact, it needs a thorough framework for establishing a system that ensures that workers at all level are under the tough scrutiny of law and by no means in a position to abuse their authority to exploit the masses.