The lack of understanding for the mentally ill in Pakistan is grossly ignored. The state policies and majority of the legislature do not take into consideration, the fact that those committing crimes can actually be suffering from mental health issues. One of the reasons why such conditions prevail is the lack of required professionals dealing with such patients in the country. If the entire country has only 400 psychiatrists at its disposal for seeking help, this translates into ignorant policies on part of the state.

The arrest of a mentally challenged woman in Daska on charges of blasphemy is a case in point. The fact that locals confirmed that the woman has been dealing with mental health issues and the local police arrested her despite that is a cause of concern. It is commendable that the local police took her into custody as soon as possible, because there is very much a chance of mob justice in these cases but keeping her locked inside a cell is not the way forward.

Professional help should be sought in this case. The complexity of these issues makes the average police officials in-adept to deal with such patients. They need the basic understanding that the acts that they are committing are because of a genuine reason, which is mostly a chemical imbalance, which they have no control over. While one understands the sensitivity around the topic of blasphemy, it must not overshadow the need to assess suspects like in any other criminal case.

Such cases should also urge the authorities to see the loopholes in their legal framework. Only recently the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) also suggested to decriminalise suicide based on the fact that mental health issues lead to such circumstances. These narratives should also be extended to other criminal activities in the state, otherwise, the country as a whole will be ignoring the growing ratio of mental health issues in the country.