Senator Dr Karim Khawaja on Monday tabled the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2017 in Senate, demanding an end to punishment for attempted suicide. However, the Senate chairman shortly deferred the bill saying it could not be passed without the consent of the Council of Islamic Ideology.
Khawaja had argued that people who try to take their lives need help, not punishment. The PPP senator said that those who attempt to commit suicide must be sent to rehabilitation centres so they can receive treatment, instead of being sent to prison.
PPP Senator Rehman Malik also supported the bill, observing that people attempt suicide due to depression and need treatment.
Senator Taj Haider, on the other hand, declared that the reason people attempt to commit suicide is that the state has failed them.
“We need to change the environment which makes our young generation think that suicide is their only option,” he said.
However, Law Minister Zahid Hamid declared the “issue” sensitive, saying that since suicide is forbidden in Islam the bill must be sent to the relevant committee for debate before Senate passes it.
The otherwise progressive Senate chairman, Raza Rabbani, echoed Hamid’s words, saying that the bill cannot be passed without the consent of the Council of Islamic Ideology, after which the bill was deferred for further deliberations.