ISLAMABAD (HPD) — Pakistan has changed a section of its penal code to abolish a colonial-era law against suicide, the country’s presidency has announced.
The amendment was signed late Friday by President Arif Alvi and announced by his office via Twitter. The amendment, introduced by the secular Pakistan People’s Party, was approved by the Senate three months ago.
Under previous law — a holdover from the colonial era, before the 1947 partition in which Pakistan was divided from India — attempted suicide was punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine, or both.
Salman Sufi, an adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, praised the move, saying anyone who is so overwhelmed that they think of taking their own life should be helped and saved.
Suicide is still a crime in many countries, and although some have abolished laws against it, stigma around the problem lingers.
According to a 2019 World Health Organization study, more than 700,000 people died by suicide that year, prompting many countries to adopt measures to prevent and care for those affected.
The WHO estimated that at least eight people out of 100,000 took their own lives in Pakistan in 2019, although the true figure is likely to be much higher as many families do not report it in order to avoid investigation. police.