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Suicide rates

The suicide of a middle-aged man over being unable to afford warm clothes for his children should awaken the conscience of our society and those in power. The poverty-stricken man was compelled to take the extreme step due to helplessness and despair.
According to reports, the man had left a ‘suicide note’ at the shrine of a local saint and told his brothers to find it. Suicide was his last resort. A resident of Karachi’s Ibrahim Haideri area, the man was a junk dealer and ran a donkey cart. He was unable to afford clothes for his four children in winter. No one from his family, neighbourhood or society came to his assistance.
This is certainly not an isolated incident as suicide rates have seen a drastic rise in Sindh. According to a report over 1300 people committed suicide over the past five years. The districts of Umerkot, Tharparkar, and Mirpurkas have witnessed the most number of cases as 646 people committed suicide in these three districts, the majority of them being youth and women. In 2019, over 160 people committed suicide in these three districts alone.
These numbers should send alarm bells rings but the Sindh government is least concerned. The provincial government’s adviser Murtaza Wahab said this is a social issue and not a political one. He said suicide is a global problem caused by psychological issues and not simply confined to Sindh. The attempt to shrug responsibility should be condemned and the reasons for the rise in suicide rates should be investigated.
A quick overview shows these three districts are among the poorest in the province. Suicide is replete in Tharparkar where 77 people committed suicide last year. Majority of these were young men aged between 15-20 years who took their lives due to joblessness and no future prospects. Thar remains the most impoverished district in the country and an embarrassment which the provincial government does not want to accept.
Suicide is a global problem. According to the WHO, a person commits suicide every 4o seconds worldwide. Many people end their lives due to social isolation, depression, and other psychological issues. They need mental health treatment and counseling. The government will have to play a role in the treatment of depressed people, and also take steps to end poverty.
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