Terror leaves Pakistanis mentally scarred, says expert

Thursday, November 5, 2009

ISLAMABAD - Prolonged insecurity, caused by a string of terror strikes across Pakistan, has left the entire country in “a state of trauma”, said a psychologist who feared that it will badly damage peoples’ lives and place them in need of longer-term counselling support.

Anxious wives are regularly on the phone to talk to their husbands in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, The News reported Thursday.

“Shes very worried, Abdul Habib said while visiting a friends carpet shop close to the site of a bombing that left 35 people dead.

“The problem is this: you can’t stop it,” said Habib, 57. “Anything can happen at any time. Mentally, everybody’s upset.”

Not far from the carpet shop, Junaid Anwar Baigs wife had also phoned.

She calls two or three times a day. She always says: Be careful. Dont move around,” 62-year-old Baig was quoted as saying.

Taliban and Al Qaeda linked extremists have carried out a two-year campaign of attacks that have killed more than 2,400 people in Pakistan, which has a population of around 167 million, The News said.

Naima Hassan, a psychologist who has counselled victims of the attacks, said: The whole nation is in a state of trauma.”

Violence across the country has left people suffering “at extreme levels”, Hassan said.

“Their mental well-being is at stake.”

The latest wave of violence began Oct 5 and has left over 200 people dead. The worst terror strike took place Oct 28 in Peshawar where over 110 people were killed in a massive bombing.

That feeling of helplessness is common, the psychologist said, adding: They feel that they are unable to cope with this terrorism.”

She observed that Pakistanis are losing quality of life, constantly in a state of fear and anxiety which is leading to ailments as well as sleep disorders.

The nation can eventually recover from its moderately traumatised state if government forces can exert control and prevent attacks. Prolonged insecurity will lead to severe psychological trauma that will badly damage peoples’ lives and place them in need of longer-term counselling support, she said.

This is not a headache which you can remedy by taking two aspirins, Hassan was quoted as saying.

Filed under: India, Medicine, Pakistan, World

will not be displayed