World News

Pakistani father sets himself on fire at PM's house

MULTAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - A jobless father of five who lost his house in Pakistan’s floods killed himself by setting himself on fire in front of the prime minister’s house, relatives and officials said.

Mohammad Akram, 30, doused himself before scores of people in front of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s family residence in the eastern city of Multan Sunday.

“He had 90 percent burn injuries and today he died in the hospital despite doctors’ best efforts to save him,” police official Rizwan Khan told Reuters by telephone Monday.

The floods, Pakistan’s worst natural disaster in terms of damage and the number of people affected, were triggered by monsoon rains in late July, displacing 10 million people.

Anger has deepened over the government’s perceived sluggish response, raising questions over whether it will face social unrest.

Akram’s town of Jampur, 60 km (35 miles) southwest of Multan, was badly hit by the floods. Mohammad Asif, Akram’s brother, said he had been looking for a job for several months.

“He was working as a watchman but he could not meet expenses of his family and had left the job in April,” he said.

“He had written an application to the prime minister for a job in May but his office responded that he did not meet the merits required for the job.”

Asif, his voice choking, added: “We had a mud-brick house which was washed away by the floods and now we are homeless.”

Asif said Gilani, who was not in the house when Akram set himself on fire, called his father by telephone and promised compensation of 500,000 Pakistani rupees ($5,831).

A statement from Gilani’s office said he expressed “deep sorrow and grief over the unfortunate incident.”

Additional reporting and writing by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Michael Georgy