Suicide Attempts Will No Longer Be Considered A Crime In Pakistan And Here's Why That's Good News

By Alveena Jadoon | 6 Jan, 2018

Suicide attempts need to be understood as as a mental health issue


The Senate Standing Committee has approved the Criminal Laws Amendment Bill 2017. PPP Senator Karim Ahmed Khawaja moved the bill seeking the decriminalization of suicide. The bill proposed that any person who commits or attempts suicide must not be punished by law, as the action is taken due to depression, or other mental illnesses.


The law at present sees the act of suicide, as a crime, irrespective of the events that lead up to it

The proposed bill seeks amendment in Pakistan Penal Code 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898. “Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both,” says the section 325 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 dealing with the offence of the suicide attempt.


Criminalizing suicide is a colonial remnant and among many other laws that we have from the colonial period

Senator Khawaja in an interview with The Nation said, “The bill proposed omission of the offence of suicide attempt from the law. He further said that Britain and Indian had already abolished this law and these had omitted suicide attempt from the list of offences.”


In his bill, Karim Khawaja also urges the government to provide rehabilitation centres for those dealing with mental health issues

According to him, it is often the lack of help available which further frustrates the person and compels him to commit suicide. “It is, therefore, expedient to omit section 325 of the PPC, 1860, the entries relating to Section 325 in Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, and provide rehabilitation facilities”.



The Chairman of Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Professor Dr Qibla Ayaz also gave input to the Senate on this matter

He said that even though suicide is forbidden in Islam, there are factors which push the individual to take such an action and that cannot be disregarded. Medical examinations should be carried out in such cases and those who are found suffering from mental health illnesses should be sent to rehabilitation centers.

Many renowned psychiatrists were also present at the session and gave their input in the matter. According to them, whoever attempts suicide should be treated as a patient and must not be prosecuted for their failed attempt. They highlighted how frustration leads to a person deciding to commit suicide. This, for them, is an indication that something is wrong and must be treated.


This is a huge step for the country where there is a lot of stigma attached to mental health issues

The fact that our legislators now realise that mental health is an important aspect to consider which criminalizing certain acts, means that we are ready to go beyond the surface level, understand the human psyche and make that a part of our legislature.


Here’s How You Can Help Someone Who May Be Thinking About Suicide


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Here’s How Photoshopped Pictures From Her Ex Led This Girl To Attempt Suicide


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