Fri. Sep 30th, 2022

The Situation in Chitral and Mental Problems

Rabia Tariq

Normal people usually do not understand what a person with mental or psychological problems has to go through. Physical diseases and sickness are often talked about but mental or psychological problems do not get proper attention in our society as they are non-threatening to the life of a person or those around him. Some consider them as disgraceful and shameful and are reluctant to admit of mental problems. It is a topic about which people have vague ideas but no actual knowledge of what it actually is and what a person with mental problems has to go through. Yet this problem bought a man to the brink of death in the beautiful valley of Chitral yesterday.

During Friday prayers in the mosque a man stood up and claimed of prophethood promising to lead his followers to heaven. A Muslim living in a Muslim society knows the repercussions of such an act well enough to not do something like this. Just last week a young student Mishal Khan was lynched in his university for alleged blasphemy in KPK. Only a person with a will to die or someone with serious mental problems would do it in the middle of a mosque. Sensing the severity of situation the Khateeb (religious leader) intervened and saved him from suffering a fate similar to Mishal Khan. He was then taken into police custody for protection from the mob. The mob kept on insisting that the man should be handed to them for justice. Police tried to disperse the mob with teargas and rubber bullets without much success. Curfew is imposed and about 100-150 people have been arrested in Chitral.

It has now been found that he has suffered from serious mental problems in the past and was sent back to Pakistan from Qatar due to the severity of his condition. People who hallucinate hear or see things that are not there in reality. People with auditory hallucinations hear voices inside their mind the way we hear each other talking. 

Auditory hallucination is common in people with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. These voices may be appreciative or degrading at times, commanding to do or say things at other times. Some people associate these voices with Shaitan or Pariyan and others think that the God is talking to them. Sometimes these voices convince a person that he is God.

Many people suffering from mental or psychological problems look fine from outside. They act normal until they have a sudden bout of psychotic attack sometimes triggered externally. The accused person is possibly suffering from some kind of mental disorder and his claims may be a result of his hallucinations. It is sad that instead of investigating the situation with transparency influential people are competing in condemning the accused and asking for his death. The right approach would be to appoint doctors to look into his mental condition instead of making blasphemy allegations which may further instigate the masses. The accused should be dealt according to law only after determining his mental condition.

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