Stories about rehabilitation

In Pakistan, mental illness is diagnosed by a legal expert not a doctor

Every psych unit in the world teems with patients who confess a desire to do the morally unthinkable, or legally dubious. What separates them from the garden-variety criminal is their lack of control over their own thoughts and behaviours. Imdad Ali, a 50-year-old citizen convicted of murdering a cleric many years ago, is a known schizophrenic. His condition has been verified by a government psychiatrist, Dr Tahir Feroze, among others – who, reportedly, has also demanded pardon for Mr Ali on medical grounds. Schizophrenia is a condition characterised by hallucinations, illogical thoughts, and bizarre or even aggressive behaviour. The sub-type of ‘paranoid ...

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Pakistan’s silent drug war taking another hit

Border skirmishes between India and Pakistan have left numerous civilians dead; the ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) have been the worst in a decade. And media outlets on both sides of the border are revelling in front pages and headlines about the clashes. But there is another conflict that continues along one of Pakistan’s borders, and it has impacted about 6.7 million Pakistanis in 2013 alone. Yet, it continues to be neglected from the front pages. I met one of its victims when I was 15-years-old. The tiny form of an old man, curled into a ball, like a discarded shoe, ...

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Do you need a ‘reason’ to be depressed?

‘An unemployed man, tired of the financial crises, hangs himself to death.’ ‘A woman takes her own life before killing her children due to conflicts and problems at home’. ‘A jilted lover shoots himself in front of the girl he wants to marry.’ The lack of awareness about mood disturbances, including depression, are obvious by the kind of media coverage of the incidents of suicide, which often broadly and superficially look at the obvious external stressors and fail to highlight it as a mental health issue that can affect even those who apparently may not have any external social or/and financial stressors. The recent ...

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Facing disabilities: Until we do something about it, no one will

Having a disability does not necessarily make you worse off; it simply means you have to do things differently. However, it is sad to say, our society is plagued with ignorance when it comes to meeting the needs of mentally or physically challenged people. A blind eye is turned towards the needs of these people and because of this ignorance we do not realise the fact that most of the public places lack the basic necessities, such as ramps, integral for the physically challenged. Apart from this, very few schools exist for children with developmental delays. In a social setup like this, it is ...

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Polio: Can Imran Khan help defeat the ugly villain in Pakistan’s story of survival?

On October 24, 2013 when I saw polio teams entering my colony – Musharraf Colony in Hayatabad – it was the first time I knew what they had come for. They had come to save lives. I ran home to tell my mother to get my little sister vaccinated. Polio – the villain It was only the night before that I had been peeping into one of the community halls where the elderly, adults and children from the colony had gathered because we were told that some goras (foreigners) were coming to deliver a talk. I had seen one of these lectures before but this time ...

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An alcoholic’s partner

The tangy smell of his breath dissolved the boundaries between good and evil for her. Together, the two of them had no need to be conscious of each other’s presence. What smelt good, what looked better – everything becomes meaningless, almost non-existent. It didn’t take her much time to discover alcohol’s uncanny bliss. This discovery, however, didn’t present itself like an immaculately packed gift. It grew on her, silently and gently, till she realised its advantages. There could be nothing more vulnerable than an alcoholic, she had understood that. All the moral babble she had heard so far about the fiery wrath of ...

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The battle of ideas: Reform the militant

One is not born a terrorist. One doesn’t wake up on a Thursday morning with an epiphany of being the next Mullah Omar or Khalid Sheikh Mohammad. A desire to resort to terrorism doesn’t take place overnight. It is a process of indoctrination; a change of thought and mindset. And all changes can be reversed when there is a plan. Today, what’s important for Pakistan is the need to devise a strategy of de-radicalising, rehabilitating and reintegrating militants back into society. I don’t mean to undermine military measures being taken against violent extremists, but the military alone cannot eradicate a group of ideological ...

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Journalists need to help Swat

All reporters and journalists should join hands together to help rebuild Swat Valley and restore it to its previous glory. Known as the Switzerland of Asia, the region was, it seems, deliberately pushed into the hands of extremists who were not only financially nurtured but also backed, many say, by the powers that be. There is considerable evidence of this, especially in how Mullah Fazlullah, then head of the Swat Taliban, was allowed to air his venomous broadcasts to the people of the valley for many months. I would request all my colleagues and other patriotic reporters of my country to write ...

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All Pakistanis are fighters? I think not!

As a nation, we have administered euthanasia to our collective conscience. There are three general categories of people that dwell in this land of pure: the elite-educated or otherwise; the educated class and the uneducated mortals. The elite have a conscience, but they never allow it to get the best of them, therefore, they can be forgiven for their beliefs. The uneducated can also be forgiven, because conscience alone cannot bring food to their tables. That leaves us with the so-called educated class, largely consisting of puritans. There is simply no excuse for their behavior. We, the educated people of this country, ...

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Why should I pay a flood tax?

As the flood waters start to recede and the government gears up for rehabilitation, it plans on putting the burden on the tax paying segment of the public. It will be people like you and me who are going to pay flood tax while our friends riding around in SUVs will have a good laugh. The government planned a one time tax that would be deducted from the taxpayers’ salary via property tax, while the 98.4 per cent of the non tax paying population will get away with more than just not paying tax. I, for one, am not in favor of ...

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