KARACHI - The trend of suicides is on a sharp rise in Pakistan, as 751 suicide cases were recorded from January to June 2012, says Madadgaar National Helpline here the other day.

Suicide, a criminal offence and a major mental health problem has destructive effects on individuals, families and communities. Madadgaar National Helpline, sharing its report on the data of on the eve of the World Suicide Prevention Day, said 751 cases of suicide were reported from January to June, 2012 across Pakistan. In these six months 136 children, 303 women and 312 male committed suicide.

Then report said as many as 32762 people committed suicides in the country during the last 12 years (2001-12). The victims include 4031 children, 11752 women and 16975 males. The report is compiled from the data published in national, local newspapers. However, a number of cases are also unreported, as families are reluctant to register cases of suicide or attempted suicide because they consider it a social stigma. Men are more likely to commit suicide as the data shows.

It seems strong association between poor socio-economic conditions and suicide in Pakistan. Domestic violence, poverty, insecurity, and hopelessness are the most common reasons of suicide. Whereas, poisoning, firearms, hanging, excess use of medicines or sleeping pills, use of insecticides and jumping from height are most common methods of committing and attempting suicide.

Zia Ahmed Awan, President Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) regretted the rising incidents of suicide and attempted suicide. He said the lack of basic civic facilities, dearth of resources, poorly established healthcare services and political instability make suicide prevention an alarming challenge in Pakistan.  Awan said, under Section 325Pakistan 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 condemned act 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.

He said collective efforts of families, civil society, government, media, law enforcement agencies, healthcare and other related department are needed in reducing the incidence of suicide. There is a dire need to develop and implement community-based suicide prevention program. A National Suicide Statistics should be compiled at government level. Government needs to develop policy frameworks for chalking out suicide prevention strategies.

He said media can 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.

 Meanwhile, Member Sindh Assembly Nishat Mohammed Zia Qadri has directed local bodies and Water and Sewerage Board to remove all encroachments along rain water nullahs and sewerage lines to ensure water discharge during rains.

According to a press release issued here on Saturday he also instructed these civic bodies to ensue cleanliness of roads and streets and clearance of rain water accumulated on them.

He took round of all Union councils of Shah Faisal town along with other town officials to review the situation.

He also visited the causeways under the Railway track and issued instructions to clear the rain water accumulated on them on emergency basis.

He also directed the town officials to provide passage for rain water to avoid its accumulation on causeways making them un-usable for some time causing inconvenience to the local residents.