Marred by a number of mental disorders, the niche corner of Pakistan’s population is no stranger to schizophrenia; a mental disorder, which keeps a person in a state of abnormality, where one fails to understand and fathom the reality of life and ones’ surroundings. One such case emerged in Mirpurkhas, Sindh, where a young girl was freed by the Sindh Police after she remained chained for 3 years!
Shaista, a young woman from the undeveloped city of Mirpurkhas, was recovered after police were informed, that the girl had been kept in captivity by her own family for over 3 years. When the police raided the vicinity of her house, they saw Shaista chained to a nearby bed. The 18-year-old girl had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, along with two other sisters. According to the mother of the girl, their father had also suffered from schizophrenia but was rehabilitated now.
Shaista, who studied till matriculation, was now being treated like an animal by her own family. The vile symptoms of schizophrenia include hearing voices, having false beliefs, remaining in a generally perplexed or baffled state, cut down in social engagements and extraordinary emotional behavior.
In a society such as ours, where acceptance has become a myth altogether, schizophrenia, although not rare – is not dealt with responsibly. The concept of leaving your family or loved ones suffering is now a popular belief. Shaista’s case, being chained for 3 years is a prime example. Instead of getting her treated or rehabilitated for her illness, her family forced her into captivity.
Sindh has been the most schizophrenia-active province in Pakistan. The mental illness forced Sindh’s legislative branch to pass the ‘Sindh Mental Health Act 2013’ which clearly mentions in annexed point number (g) of the Act: “to prescribe for care, aftercare or rehabilitation, under supervision or otherwise” – if such an act exists, what holds the family back from getting their loved ones treated for this mental illness? Instead, they are kept in zoo-like-captivity.
Upon getting diagnosed with Schizophrenia at the Civil Hospital, the SSP Mirpurkhas, Usman Ghani Siddiqui announced to take care of all expenses for Shaista’s rehabilitation from his personal exchequer. One has to wonder, with the Sindh Mental Health Act 2013 in swing, does he really need to do that? If yes, then why is the act there in the first place?