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Suicide amongst youth in Gilgit-Baltistan increases

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Gilgit Baltistan, PoK: Suicide cases amongst youth have been increasing in the region of Gilgit Baltistan in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The increasing numbers have left authorities in a concerning situation.

During the first six months of this year, as many as 15 cases of suicide were reported while over 222 people took their own life during the past five years, according to the Dawn newspaper.

The exact causes of these suicide cases are not yet known, however, some researchers and experts said that the main cause behind rising cases of suicide was the unnerving pace of social change and mental disorders.

Experts further said that many suicide cases go unreported across GB as many incidents of suicide were wrongly treated as murder or accidents. The GB police, after an investigation found out that many cases actually were of homicide, the Dawn newspaper reported.

“19 suicide cases — nine of them males and 10 females — were reported this year, but investigations revealed that four out of the 19 individuals were, in fact, murdered,” said the Senior Superintendent of Police of Ghizer district of Gilgit, Shahmeer Khalid.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (Crime) of Gilgit division, Farman Ali said that even after so many deaths, neither the government nor social welfare organisations have woken up to the enormity of the matter.

“Many cases went unreported due to social taboos, but police investigations threw a different light in a number of instances. Several cases in Ghizer which were initially declared suicide turned out to be homicide or murder,” Farman Ali said. But he regretted that cases were not being investigated thoroughly. Even postmortem was not enough.”

He told that there are no facilities to treat mental disorders and depression in Gilgit-Baltistan. “Even well-equipped forensic labs are hard to find in the region. The government, as well as the public at large, needs to wake up from a state of denial.” the Dawn newspaper quoted the DIG.

To carry out an inquiry into the affliction, the Gilgit Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid Khan has ordered an 18-member committee to be headed by GB Assembly Deputy Speaker Nazir Ahmed, the Dawn newspaper reported.

He appealed to civil society, parents, scholars and teachers to assist the government in coping with the scourge.

“The youth are the future of our nation and its most precious asset. The prevalence of suicide among them is a matter of great concern to all. Hence we should work together to eradicate the menace from our midst. Otherwise, posterity will not forgive us,” he said.

On this, the youths of Ghizer district have called upon the authorities to take measures to address the menace and said that the administration should declare a “mental health emergency” in Ghizer, the Dawn newspaper reported.

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