Karachi: 751 committed suicide in first 6 months
KARACHI: The trend of committing suicide is on the rise in Pakistan as 751 cases of suicide were reported from January to June 2012 from across the country, said a statement issued by Madadgar National Helpline on Saturday. Sharing the findings on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day, the Madadgar National Helpline said that in the last six months 136 children, 303 women and 312 men took their own lives. The data also revealed that as many as 32,762 people committed suicide in the country during the last 12 years (2001–12). The victims included 4,031 children, 11,752 women and 16,975 men. The data was compiled from news reports published in various national and local newspapers. However, Madadgar believes that the figures could be higher since the data it collected was based on the cases that were reported. “In many instances, the families of victims are reluctant to register cases of suicide or attempted suicide, as it is considered a social stigma,” said the statement. It was found that men are more likely to commit suicide than women.
The data showed that there was a co-relation between poor socio-economic conditions and suicides in Pakistan. Domestic violence, poverty, insecurity, and hopelessness are the most common reasons for suicide. Poisoning, firearms, hanging, excess use of medicines or sleeping pills, use of insecticides and jumping from height are the most common methods of committing and attempting suicide.
Zia Ahmed Awan, president of the Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA), regretted the rising incidents of suicides and attempted suicides.
He said the lack of basic civic facilities, dearth of resources, poorly established healthcare services and political instability made suicide prevention an alarming challenge in Pakistan.
Under Section 325 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), attempt to commit suicide is punishable with simple imprisonment for a term of one year or with fine or both. Suicide is forbidden in Islam as well.
“Traditionally, suicide cases in Islamic societies remained very low but recently we see a sharp rise in suicide cases, which has become a major problem in Pakistan,” Awan said.
Commenting on ways of controlling the epidemic, he said that collective efforts of families, civil society, the government, media, law enforcement agencies, healthcare and other related departments were needed in reducing the incidence of suicide.
“There is a dire need to develop and implement a community-based suicide prevention programme. A National Suicide Statistics should be compiled at government level and the government needs to develop policy frameworks for chalking out suicide prevention strategies.”
Awan also said that the media could play a vital role in preventing suicide. “There is dire need to convey people who want to commit suicide to choose something other than ending their life to solve their problems.”