ISLAMABAD: A strategy has been formulated by the government of Gilgit-Baltistan to stop the increasing number of suicide cases in the region, The News has learnt.
Gilgit Baltistan contributes up to 90 per cent of suicide cases across the country. A notification has been issued by the Gilgit-Baltistan Secretariat dated June 2 with the subject of suicide cases in Gilgit-Baltistan and its prevention and protective strategies. Documents present with The News note that a weekly socio-psychological counselling session shall be held in each school and college of GB. Guidelines, discussion points and counselling activity material shall be shared shortly with all stakeholders.
“All commissioners, deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners shall build teams with the active assistance provided by the counterparts in Health Department (directors Health, DHOs, Dy DHOs, MSs of government hospitals and paramedical staff), DG Schools, director colleges, directors schools education, technical and special education, DDEs, DISs, AEOs, principals, head teachers, lecturers, teachers and Social Welfare Department. Besides, Civil Society Organizations and activists shall be co-opted on the teams to implement the strategy, said the document.
Further, a calendar of activities shall be devised by all the commissioners for their respective divisions and the secretary health in coordination with the DG Schools, the director colleges and health department psychiatrists to conduct a monthly screening process of all students for mental health issues.
Apart from this, the inspector general of police shall issue directions to the field formations that each and every reported case of suicide shall be thoroughly investigated to establish whether it's a murder or a suicide and autopsy shall be ensured in every case.
In the past five years, KPand GB had 62 per cent of suicide cases countrywide with over 90 per cent of such cases in 2019 and 2020. It was acknowledged that most of the suicide cases in GB and KP have been occurring among the female gender over the past recent years, which are mostly happening because of forceful marriages, mismatch in relationships and educational pressures.
The BBC, in its special report on suicides in Gilgit-Baltistan, has claimed that on an average, 20 women attempt suicides each year in the Ghizer district, which makes it the highest in Pakistan. According to the data available with this scribe, 74 suicides were reported in Pakistan in 2020 and only two cases took place in the provinces other than KP and GB. Likewise, 85 suicides were reported in GB and KP in 2019 out of the total 89 cases in the country. In 2018, the suicide cases reported in KP and GB were 73 while 61 cases were reported in Sindh and three in Punjab.
In 2017, only one case was reported in Balochistan. Punjab reported three cases, whereas 64, 42 and 25 cases of suicides were lodged in Sindh, KP and GB, respectively. A total of 123 cases of suicide were reported in 2016 with 58 in Sindh, 40 in KP, 12 each in GB and Punjab and only one in Balochistan. Islamabad reported no case of suicide from 2016
to 2020. This correspondent tried to acquire the latest figures of suicides in GB, but was told that the authorities were still in process of collecting and compiling details from all parts of the region.