RAWALPINDI, Jan 17: Poverty and unemployment drove 52 people to take their own lives in Rawalpindi last year. Data gathered by Dawn from the city’s 25 police stations showed that majority of the unfortunate people committed suicide by hanging.

More people took their own lives in urban centres than rural areas of the Rawalpindi district.

One of the most heart breaking suicides was that of Mohammad Riaz, 50, and father of five children, who hanged himself on June 14 because he could not pay rent of his house in Ganjmandi to its pestering owner.

On March 17, 2006, Sial Tahir, 27, a resident of Dhoke Khabba, ended his futile search for a job by shooting himself.

Police record cited unemployment and failure in love as the two major causes in the case of youth who committed suicide.

Safeer Hussain, son of Mohammad Hussain, deputy director in Pakistan Telecommunication Limited (PTCL), living in airport area shot himself dead due to unemployment.

Jamal Altaf, 24, a resident of Ratta Amral, set himself on fire on August 26 last after his parents refused to marry him the girl he loved.

Inability to arrange dowry for daughters also drove nine poor parents to commit suicide.

Mohammad Saleem, 45, a resident of Dhoke Ratta Amral, killed himself with poison because he could not meet the school expenses of his children.

No official data exists about the number of people living below the poverty line in Rawalpindi. But the extent could be gauged by the fact that 65 per cent of the city population lives in what are called ‘C’ category houses.

The increasing number of beggars also provide an indication to the incidence of acute poverty in Rawalpindi.

District Police Officer (DPO) Saud Aziz said poverty was the main reason behind people committing suicide.