Pakistan Army does not have a zero-percent suicide rate

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Claim: The suicide rate in the Pakistan Army stands at a 0%.

Fact: Several news reports exist proving that Pakistan Army soldiers have died by suicide in the past.

A 2015 article from ARY News, last updated in 2017, went viral on Twitter recently, with several users sharing the headline, “Pakistan Army leads world forces with zero-percent suicide rate”. The article states, “…Pakistan Army, engaged in the worst fight against terrorism, has remarkably maintained zero-percent suicide rate.”

Soch Fact Check has found numerous news reports that claim otherwise.

A 2017 article by the Express Tribune reported that Ziaur Rehman, a thirty year-old soldier from Pakistan Army’s Kashmir regiment, died by suicide near the Arbab Khalil flyover in the city of Peshawar. Daily Pakistan also confirmed that the police investigation concluded that Ziaur Rehman was a resident of Chitral, and belonged to the Kashmir regiment platoon FC 37 and was declared to have died by suicide by investigating authorities.

Another case reported by The News and the Express Tribune confirms that Lieutenant Haris Usman, was found dead in his house in Sector I-8, Islamabad. Haris Usman belonged to the Corps of Signals and was based in Quetta. Lieutenant Haris left a four-page letter elaborating his reasons forsuicide, as reported by The News correspondent on the story.

During the preliminary investigation, ASP Ahsan Iqbal was reported by the Express Tribune to have said “It seems Haris Usman committed suicide”. The body was sent to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) for an autopsy where Dr. Farukh Kamal confirmed that there was a clear indication of suicide based on the marks around Usman’s neck and that there were no signs of resistance or torture on the body. Intelligence agencies also carried out an intensive investigation before confirming the cause of death to be suicide after which they reported the matter to the local police.

In 2019 Dawn and The News, among others, reported on the death of retired Brigadier, Asad Munir, who was found dead in the study of his apartment located in the Diplomatic Enclave. Asad Munir led the ISI and MI in KPK during early years of war on terror and after his retirement from the military, continued to serve the country in various civil service positions. Secretariat SHO Inspector Asjad Mehmood told Dawn that he died between 2:30am and 4am and that a suicide letter was found in his study, which addressed the Chief Justice of Pakistan, regarding the case of corruption, filed against him by NAB, shortly before his death.

Despite the fact that the veracity of reporting on the issue of suicide in the Pakistan military is questionable, these cases disprove the claim that Pakistan Army has a 0% suicide rate and perhaps deeper journalistic inquiry can establish better insight.

Summary: ARY News falsely reported that the Pakistan Army has a 0% suicide rate. Soch Fact Check discovered several reports confirming that Pakistani soldiers have died by suicide in the past.

Research Associate: Areeba Fatima

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