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Friday, October 12, 2018

346 people committed suicide in Malakand in last eight months

MALAKAND: In the last eight months, 346 people have committed suicide over in seven districts of Malakand division.

According to police sources, majority of the reported suicides cases were women.

Swat had the highest number of suicides with 222 cases being reported in the last eight months. While 73 people committed suicide in Buner, 26 in Shangla, 15 in Lower Dir and nine in Chitral, police sources said.

Further, the police sources said that one case was reported in Upper Dir, while 33 people were reported to have committed suicide in the Mitta district.

Police said domestic issues and unemployment were mainly the reasons behind the suicides.

Last month, the KP government had sprung into action after an increase in the number of suicide cases in Chitral.

The provincial government had decided to form a committee to investigate the matter.

Chitral district nazim Maghfirat Shah said, during the last six months, more than 12 people reportedly committed suicide, out of which 70 per cent were women.

A study from 2016 published in Khyber Medical University Journal states, that women had almost double the rate of suicide than men in Chitral. As per the findings, the cause was family and marital issues while the methods used included drowning and hanging.

The study further stated that the suicide rate among married women was high. According to the findings, women committed suicide because of their unhappy marriages – their unstable relationship with their spouses making it difficult for them to manage personal and household responsibilities.

The disharmony in marriage continued as the girls’ parents seldom supported them, neither was there any option for divorce, which left suicide as the only way out, according to the study.

Source: GEO News

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Nine children, on average, sexually abused everyday in Pakistan: Sahil launches “Cruel Numbers Report” for 2017

On 4th April, 2018, Sahil (an NGO working on Child Protection) held its Child Friendly Newspaper, Best Volunteer Award and launch of Cruel Numbers 2017, here on Wednesday in National Press Club Islamabad. Sahil awarded Child Friendly Newspaper Award and Best Volunteer Award, 2017 to nominees from all over the country.

On the occasion Sahil launched “Cruel Numbers 2017”, a research on child sexual abuse cases reported in newspapers during 2017. The purpose of the research is to provide fact and figures about child sexual abuse and its dynamics and to contribute to existing information on CSA in Pakistan.

The findings of “Cruel Numbers 2017” shows that in the year 2017, a total 3445 child abuse cases were reported in newspapers from all four provinces including Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Gilgit Baltistan (GB), and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

On the occasion Executive Director Sahil Manizeh Bano said that in previous years the cases of commercial sexual exploitation of children have been reported from Kasur, Sawat and Jaranwala. Hundreds of cases have been reported but only few victim families came forward for seeking justice. The abusers kidnap children, use drugs, made videos, sexually abuse and even murdered them. She expressed that commercial sexual exploitation of children and trafficking is now a million dollar business globally.

Highlighting the importance of media, she expressed that media can play a vital role in fostering coordination with civil society and the government to create widespread awareness. In this regard the electronic, print and social media can play a positive role regarding child protection and safety measures. She emphasized that now it is the time to come forward and break the silence and take practical steps to make Pakistan a safe secure and protected place for our children.

Sharing the findings of Cruel Numbers 2017 report, Senior Program Officer Media Sahil Mamtaz Gohar said that the data reveals that now, in a day more than 9 children have been abused during the year 2017. The major crime categories of the reported cases are, abduction 1039, missing children 517, rape 467, sodomy 366, attempt of rape 206, gang sodomy 180, gang rape 158 and 109 cases of child marriages.

This year 109 cases were reported of murder after sexual abuse, it shows that 9% cases have increased as compared to 100 cases reported last year 2016. A gender analysis shows that 58% girls and 42% boys have been murdered after sexual abuse in 2017.

On the occasion the award for Child Friendly Newspaper was presented in two categories, i.e. National and Regional newspaper.  The awards were presented to Daily Nawa-i-Waqt Lahore, winner of the award in the national category, Daily Kawish Hyderabad winner of the award in regional category.

Ms. Lubna Hayauddin received the Best Volunteer Award and two special mention awards for volunteers were also presented on the basis of the initiatives taken by them in their respective communities to raise awareness on child protection.

Cruel Numbers Report Highlights

This year Cruel Numbers 2017 has been compiled from monitoring of 91 Newspapers (National and Regional).

In 2016, overall 694 cases more were recorded than in this year 2017.

In the year 2017, a total 3445 child abuse cases were reported in newspapers from all four provinces including Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Gilgit Baltistan (GB), and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

The data reveals that now, in a day more than 9 children have been abused during the year 2017.

The major crime categories of the reported cases are, abduction 1039, missing children 517, rape 467, sodomy 366, attempt of rape 206, gang sodomy 180, gang rape 158 and 109 cases of child marriages.

This year 109 cases were reported of murder after sexual abuse, it shows that 9% cases have increased as compared to 100 cases reported last year 2016. A gender analysis shows that 58% girls and 42% boys have been murdered after sexual abuse in 2017.

The statistics of Cruel Numbers shows that out of the total reported 3445 cases, (2077) 60% victims were girls and (1368) 40% were boys.

A total number of 5284 abusers are identified, which includes the data of gangs involved in all the 3445 cases of abuse excluding 143 cases of child marriages.

The data shows that 640 children in the age bracket 6-10 years and 961 children between the age brackets of 11-15 years are most vulnerable to abuse.

This year out of the total reported 3445 cases, 29% incident occurred in closed places, 15% cases have been occurred in open places, whereas in 1790 cases, the place of abuse was not mentioned in newspapers.

Provincial divide statistics shows that, 63% cases were from Punjab, 27% cases from Sindh, 4% cases from Balochistan, 3% cases from Islamabad, 2% cases from KP, 12 cases from AJK and 3 cases from GB have reported in newspapers.

Out of the total reported cases, 76% were from rural areas and 24% cases reported from urban areas.

Cruel Numbers statistics show that 72% cases were registered with the police. Whereas in 99 cases the police refused to register the case, 44 cases were unregistered with the police and 797 cases registration status were not mentioned in newspapers.

This year out of the total 3445 cases, 1746 cases of child sexual abuse only (excluding cases of abduction, child marriages and missing children) were reported. It shows that, 59% cases of sexual abuse were girls and 41% were boys.

This year a total 1229 cases of abduction have been reported in newspapers. Out of these cases, 81% victims were girls and 19% were boys.

The cases of murder after abduction and sexual abuse have increased as compared to the last year. Abduction and rape-murder cases have increased from 7 cases in 2016 to 15 cases in 2017.

In this year 2017, total 143 cases of child marriages have been reported in newspapers. Out of the total cases, 89% were girls and 11% were boys.

The provincial divide of child marriages indicates that, 63% cases from Sindh, 32% from Punjab, 5 cases from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 2 cases were reported from AJK. Out of the child marriages, 83% cases were reported from rural areas and 17% from urban areas.

ADHD: Does it really exist, or bad teaching produce hyperactive kids?

Author: Dr. Asir Ajmal

I met Dr. Sami Timimi in Lincoln, England in the autumn of 2001. He was a psychiatrist working in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). I was doing my child placement there towards a Statement of Equivalence in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Timimi was a controversial man. My placement supervisor Pete Ludlow had told me that Dr. Timimi did not believe that ADHD was a psychiatric disorder but a behavioral condition. Timimi was, therefore, opposed to medication, which he considered tantamount to poisoning children without delivering any sustainable benefits. In Ludlow’s view, Dr. Timimi’s vocal opposition to medication was creating hurdles in the way of appropriate treatment. Pete thought that advising parents against the use of medication did more harm than good and that children were unnecessarily being deprived of “evidence-based” treatment.


What was the evidence base that Ludlow was talking about? Well, the most common treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is stimulant medication such as Ritalin. Many psychiatrists recommend combining medication with individual counseling and family therapy. Some studies also claim that ADHD has a neurological basis but the evidence is mixed at best.

I decided to approach Dr. Timimi for a clarification. Why did he not accept the ‘neurological evidence’ or the evidence base for effectiveness of stimulants. He was kind enough to answer all my questions and also gave me a free copy of his book ‘Naughty Boys: Anti-Social Behaviour, ADHD and the Role of Culture

Let me summarize his arguments: The Western culture is a hyper-masculine culture where mothers are blamed for children’s behavior problems. Many mothers are single parents and a majority of teachers are also women. This places a double burden of blame and shame on women, who are relieved when the blame for the boys’ misbehavior is shifted from them to the boys’ brains.

In pre-modern societies, according to Dr. Timimi, boys’ rowdy behavior was dealt with by the fathers with a firm hand. ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child’ was the motto of the public school headmaster who enforced discipline through an elaborate system of punishments including corporal punishment.

“Are you advocating a return to physical punishment?” was the logical follow up question to which he replied with an emphatic no. Instead he suggests the following:

-Dietary Interventions
-Family Time
-Fresh Air and Exercise
-Limiting time spent on TV and computer games
-Bedtime routines
-Responsibilities, trust and independence
-Emotional Support.

A detailed account of these interventions can be found in his book Misunderstanding ADHD: the complete guide for parents to alternatives to drugs. One may not fully agree with him, but I did finally understand where he was coming from.


Five years later when I moved to Pakistan, I heard an even more stunning statistic. A survey of school teachers done by the GCU Clinical Psychology department had revealed that nearly 60 percent of the children were considered as having ADHD by the teachers.

It was in 2006, that the Clinical Psychology Unit at GC University Lahore under the leadership of Dr. Zahid Mahmood, conducted a survey of teachers to find out if they thought they had any children with ADHD in their classrooms. The results were shocking.

The teachers reported a very large number, 60 percent, of their students as having symptoms of ADHD. I asked Dr. Mahmood why he thought he got such a result. “They must be filling the forms wrong”, he said but wasn’t sure what had gone wrong.

This led me to reflect on Sami Timimi’s challenge to the notion of ADHD as a neurological / psychiatric disorder. Perhaps the teachers are unable to manage these children well and their incompetence is manifesting itself in over-diagnosis.

In order to understand this argument one needs to know the context in which teaching-learning takes place in Pakistan. Most teachers in the private sector are untrained and are recruited solely based on their ability to speak English fluently. The training given to public school teachers is also of a very low quality and leaves much to be desired.

I came up with a hypothesis: The quality of teaching, lesson planning, and classroom management skills of a teacher are inversely proportional to the number of children identified as having ADHD by the teacher in the classroom. And soon I got the opportunity to test it.

Maria Fatima, a graduate student expressed an interest in doing her M. Phil Thesis on ADHD. I suggested she observe teachers in classrooms and rate them on their teaching skills, lesson planning and classroom management skills. She would then have them fill out Conner’s Teacher Rating Scale for children they suspect as having ADHD.

The results were as I had expected. Bad teaching, lack of planning, and poor classroom management meant out of control children. And since that is the norm rather than the exception, a large number of children are diagnosed with ADHD based on teacher’s report of their behavior.

The author of this article is Dr. Asir Ajmal who is renowned Psychologist, and it originally appeared on his blog Mindgames.company

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Here’s How Top Universities Are Helping Students Cope with Unhappiness

‘Happiness’ courses are helping the students of today deal with psychological challenges in life.

A survey by the American College Health Association in 2009 reported that 47% of all students have anxiety and 84% are generally overwhelmed. The Yale College Council in 2013 reported that more than half of the undergraduates seek mental health services during their studies.

Chock full of academics and personal issues, student life at Yale is far from perfect.

More than a quarter of Yale’s undergraduates have signed up for a single course. What is this course, and why is it so popular? ‘Psychology and the Good Life’ is a twice-a-week class taught by psychology professor Laurie Santos, PhD.

The Happiness Course

Dr Santos is teaching undergraduates how to tackle psychological issues by changing their behavior and erasing cognitive bias. The course uses science-backed techniques to help prepare students for a better living.

Alannah Maynez, a freshman student, explains it perfectly:

"In reality, a lot of us are anxious, stressed, unhappy and numb. The fact that a class like this has such a large interest speaks to how tired students are of numbing their emotions — both positive and negative — so they can focus on their work, the next step, the next accomplishment."

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Behavioral Positivity

For this reason, Dr Santos does not check up on homework assignments. She instead sees to observe improvements in the behavior of students.

"Students want to change, to be happier themselves, and to change the culture here on campus. With one in four students at Yale taking it, if we see good habits, things like students showing more gratitude, procrastinating less, increasing social connections, we’re actually seeding change in the school’s culture."

But Yale is not the only institution with psychological wellness courses. One in every six students at Stanford are enrolled in ‘Designing Your Life’, a course for developing meaningful careers. These undergraduates are learning to prioritize happiness over wealth and fame.

At McGill’s University, a course called ‘Lessons of Community and Compassion’ is breeding well-being and contentment.

This indicates that a revolution is at hand. Students across institutions are learning the timeless value of inner peace. Peter Salovey, the president of Yale, calls it “a search for meaning”.

Inner Peace for You and I

Dr Santos is teaching students to lead more satisfying lives. But her teachings don’t merely apply to Ivy League students. She explains that the ability to become mentally drained under pressure is “a human problem”.

In the modern world, we are told that by building successful careers and earning big bucks, we will be able to find peace. Dr Santos dismisses the idea as false.

The drive for success should be based on meaningful connections with friends and family. It should be built on the desire for a career of passion rather than power. Inner peace comes from stability and building the strength to deal with difficult situations. This is the crux of what Laurie Santos hopes to teach the world, and it is something we all could use.

via Well And Good

Friday, February 2, 2018

Karachi Ranked Second Among World's Most Cannabis-Consuming Cities

Karachi, where marijuana is illegal, has been ranked as the second-largest consumer of cannabis, also known as marijuana or weed, among 120 cities, according to a study by Seedo, an Israel-based company that sells devices to grow marijuana at home.

The next-door neighbour, India’s New Delhi and Mumbai are placed among the top 10 cities of the world with the highest rate of marijuana’s consumption per year, confirmed by Seedo’s 2018 Cannabis Price Index.

It is known that such South Asian cities manage to sell the cheapest marijuana in the world, approximately priced from Rs.100 to Rs.500 for a gramme of lower quality.

Seedo concentrated the consumption and pricing of marijuana by focusing at the most and least weed-consuming countries around the globe.

From there, it analysed nations with the legal, illegal and partial factor in recent times to complete the final list of 120 cities.

Prices from cities are based on the crowd-sourced city-level surveys adjusted to the World Drug Report 207 of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Conversations around legalising the consumption of cannabis for medicinal purposes have been gaining ground in India. In 2015, a member of parliament pushed to legalise marijuana, citing the benefits of consuming weed.

This article originally appeared on the QZ

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