Chitral police set up a women police desk to control the alarming suicide rates in the region

The women's police desk and support team has become a ray of hope for troubled and mentally stressed Chitrali women.

The suicide rate in Chitral continues to rise at an alarming rate. The majority of the suicide stats revolve around women. To control the incidents of suicide among women, a special police desk has been set up where women can reach out to authorities without any hesitation.

Alarming Suicide Stats in Chitral

According to reports, 63 cases of suicide have been registered in the police stations under the limits of the Lower Chitral district during the past five years. The suicide rate of women was 54 percent, and that of men was 46 percent.

Poor mental health is the leading cause of these suicides in Chitral. As per reports, 46 percent of the 63 suicides over five years were caused due to stress and various mental illnesses, followed by domestic violence at 23 percent.

The Story of Naghma Pari – A Survivor

Naghma Pari is a 21-year-old girl hailing from a small village in Lower Chitral who tried to commit suicide after succumbing to her economic miseries.

It all began when Pari, the third of five siblings, was forced to marry at the young age of 13 due to poverty. Her childhood was an impoverished life spent in a mud house at the foot of the mountains, collecting firewood and walking more than two kilometers from home to get water.

Pari’s husband was not financially stable at the time of marriage and worked as a laborer to make ends meet. In their seven years of marriage, Pari became the mother of two children, adding to their economic burden. She faced daily domestic disputes due to living in abject poverty, fearing an even bleak future.

Fed up with her deteriorating domestic situation (economic turmoil and husband’s older age), in June, Pari gulped fumigation tablets meant to protect wheat from the weevils in an attempt to take her life. The neighbors rushed to the scene immediately and shifted her to DHQ hospital in Chitral. Timely medical treatment saved Pari’s life that day.

After the incident, Chitral police’s women desk team contacted Pari’s family and helped her return to a better life.

Naghma Pari said:

I didn’t believe I would be able to survive. I never thought that anyone would care about the poor and helpless people.

The Women’s Police Desk – A Ray of Hope

ASI Dilshad Pari of Chitral Police, in charge of the women’s desk, shared:

Earlier, women were afraid to come to the police stations as they were shy in dealing with men. Now, if a woman needs legal help or has a problem with her property and cannot hire a lawyer, we resolve the problem by holding a jirga at the desk here. During the last 6 months, the desk has received 176 cases of disputes, including divorce, sexual violence, share in inheritance, fake marriages, and physical violence.

Sonia Shamrooz, the first female district police officer of Lower Chitral, said:

The domestic problems of women in the district of Lower Chitral, having a population of 278,000, were increasing daily. With the special support desks, women no longer hesitate to speak out against any oppression or tyranny, resulting in a dramatic reduction in suicides from January to June this year as only six incidents of suicide have been reported.

Speaking to a media outlet, Naghma Pari corroborated that the women’s desk team is a support organization in Chitral that provides all kinds of protection and guidance. She said:

The team did not only prevent my husband from abusing me but also provided me with information on the legal and fundamental rights of women in question. Despite the people of Chitral being peaceful, even today, in some villages, women are forced to take extreme measures due to old customs. Efforts of women police in Chitral have helped many families in fleeing hopelessness and suicide.

The women’s police desk and support team has become a ray of hope for troubled and mentally stressed Chitrali women. The police are delighted with the positive outcomes of the desk and hope to keep their efforts strong to eliminate suicide from Chitral – once and for all.

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