Child Marriages and extreme poverty trigger suicides in South Waziristan

18 people have lost their lives in four months, the majority are young people, including girls who have been forcibly married.

Jamal Safi

Rising suicides in South Waziristan have frightened parents and the public. In the last four months, 18 people have committed suicide, most of them young people. According to local doctors, After 9/11 a long war on terror, the people here fell into extreme poverty, business activities came to a standstill and people’s homes were badly affected, leading to depression and young people becoming addicted to drugs. And because of unemployment, people are more likely to commit suicide.

According to doctors affiliated with Sheikha Fatima Hospital Sholam an District Headquarters Hospital, during the last four months, in different areas of South Waziristan District, Tehsil Burmal Zalai, Azam Warsak, Kalosha, J Khel Staff, Dabkot, Kari Kot, Sholam, Vachha Khora, Doog, Raghzai And Tiarza about 18 cases of suicide have been reported, mostly involving boys between the ages of 14 and 24, as well as young girls who have been forced into marriage.

Responding to a question, the doctors said that the health department and the federal government had approved a trauma center to prevent such incidents but unfortunately the trauma center has not been set up till date. In this regard, the locals have demanded from the higher authorities and the health department to set up a trauma center on a emergency basis to prevent such incidents.

In this connection EVAW/G Alliance (KP) in collaboration with UN Women Pakistan has organized a press conference at Peshawar Press Club on 22June 2020 for the issue of pending Child Marriages restrain Bill in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Qamar Naseem Co-chair of EVAW/G

On the occasion Qamar Naseem Co-chair of End Violence Against Women & Girls EVAW/G Alliance KP said “Mostly people in our communities take cover of Islamic teachings for child marriages, that is absolutely incorrect. Islam is a visionary religion and it has undoubtedly stated that at the time of marriage , a person should have reached its maturity including both physical and mental development”.

She continued that In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the rate of early marriages has reached 74%

In an interview with Imran Takkar a child rights Activist said that, “Emergency settings as pandemic of this nature will also present unique challenges that can increase child marriage both in the acute and recovery phases. Challenges include the loss of household income, higher risk of violence in the household and lack of access to schooling.”

Imran Takkar