PUBG ‘claims another life’ in Punjab

In June police recommended banning ‘killer’ game


Our Correspondent August 25, 2020
PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE:

Another youth in Lahore committed suicide reportedly due to the online game, Players Unidentified Battleground (PUBG).

The latest case has been reported in Harbancepura where the victim identified as Ahsan, 20, reportedly ended his life by shooting himself in the head.

The victim reportedly was addicted to playing the PUBG game. When admonished for long playing hours, he would have altercations with the family also.

Police said the victim was also a fan of action movies and had been fantasising as a commando for the last few weeks. He would do training and exercises.

His family told police that for last few days he had been feeling pessimistic and frustrated. On the night of the incident, he went to his room, but in the night the family heard a gunshot. As they rushed to the spot, they found the victim lying in a pool of blood. A gun was lying beside him.

This is not the first incident of suicide by youth allegedly due to the online game. Several incidents have been reported in the provincial metropolis in the last few months, leading to it being known as “the killer game” in the city.

On June 30, Shaharyar, 18, reportedly was found hanging in his rented house in Punjab Housing Society on Ghazi Road. Police claimed the reason behind the suicide was PUBG.

On June 23, another teenager, Mohammad Zakarya, a resident of Hanjarwal, had committed suicide. The motive was found to be possibly the failure in completion of a mission as the game was running on his phone when his body was found.

The victim’s parents had also confirmed his obsession with the game. On June 20, a 20-year-old student of the second year at FC College University Lahore also reportedly committed suicide for being scolded by the family for playing PUBG.

The victim, identified as Jonty Joseph, had been living in North Cantonment. On the day of the incident, his father reportedly had reprimanded him for playing PUBG game for a longer period. He locked himself inside a room. The next day when he did not wake up, the family broke the door and found him hanging.

Taking cognisance of the matter, Punjab Police had moved for imposing a ban on PUBG.

For the purpose, Inspector General of Punjab Police (IGP) Shoib Dastagir had approached the government to ban the game.

In June Dastgir wrote a letter to the interior ministry to urge the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to ban the game across the country.

Dastgir in the letter said that youth were being devastated due to the online game. Their future was being ruined. The youth would keep on playing the game throughout the night, he added.

The issue was taken up by DIG Operations Ashfaq Ahmad Khan initially after two cases of suicide by youth were reported in only three days in Lahore.

He had approached CCPO Lahore Zulfiqar Hameed to forward the matter to the IGP for banning the game.

Applied Psychology Professor at Punjab University Dr Farah Malik said the incidents and trends need to be studied in the context of the Covid-19 situation.

The children had been locked in houses for several months and were frustrated as they had no activities to channelise their energy.

She added that the age of several boys who reportedly committed suicide due to the PUBG was termed in psychology as the age of turmoil. “It is the time when a lot of hormonal changes are happening.” The children, especially boys, need a lot of activities. The lack of activities leads to frustration.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2020.

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