04/03/2020, 12.25
PAKISTAN
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Fearing Covid-19 infection father of poor family commits suicide

by Shafique Khokhar

Due to government restrictions, he was fired and fell ill. He worked on a gas pump and earned 600-700 rupees / less than $ 5 a day. Post mortem reveals he was not suffering from coronavirus. But the family didn't have the money to go to the doctor. The parish will guarantee food and education to the deceased's family.

Karachi (AsiaNews) - Sarfaz Masih, 35, committed suicide by hanging himself in Mehmoodabad (Sindh province): he feared he had contracted coronavirus, but it was poverty that killed him.

Masih was the only wage earner in the family: he worked on a gas pump, earning 600-700 rupees (less than five dollars) and was paid per day.

On March 22, due to restrictions imposed by the Sindh government to prevent coronavirus infections, he and other employees at the distributor were fired because there was no work.

On the same day of his dismissal he fell ill. Having a cold and fever, the doctor advised him to stay indoors, but isolated from the rest of the family, because those were the symptoms of Covid-19. Masih, fearing that he was infected, tried to stay away from his two little daughters and his wife, who is pregnant with twins in her ninth month.

But being in solitary confinement for long days, Sarfraz’s health did not improve and he began to lose hope of recovery, fearing for the future.

His wife Maria kept telling him that they should go to another doctor to get another opinion, but they had no money and postponed the visit. Between expenses for the preparation of childbirth, rent and food, the money they had was already gone.

Perhaps fearing he would infect his family, or fearing their stark economic future, in the early hours of March 28 he killed himself by hanging himself in his room.

Aijaz Khan, an officer of the Station House in Mehmoodabad, said a post-mortem analysis revealed Sarfaz was not affected by Covid-19 and had committed suicide only out of fear. Not being infected, his funeral took place normally at the Bethel Church of Pakistan.

A member of the Karachi National Justice and Peace Commission, Ms Saba Mushtaq, informed Fathers Edward and Shakeel of St. Paul's Parish, who assured that they will take care of the Sarfaz family in terms of food and education of children. Ms. Saba met Maria's family and parents, and said that she will find financial help for her, as she is about to give birth.

Social activist Ayaz Morris, moved by the tragedy of Sarfaz's death, pushes Christian politicians and leaders to "come out of their quarantine and isolation, to be with the people."

“The suicide of this one man during this situation has actually revealed the real picture of disorder and failure of our community, which in future, not only the church and but also the other leadership of the community have to be more open to the social development of the community, and must organize a system in which they may help people in education and even have community financial assistance fund."

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