Since September 25, there have been a series of cases of a motorcyclist attacking women with a blade. Nine cases of attempted murder, injuring and harassment have been registered at the Gulistan-e-Jauhar and Shara-e-Faisal police stations. This is the scenario most forensic psychiatrists picture when they think of stalking. It is a profile of a predatory stalker, a rare type of stalker who doesn’t target intimate partners, who goes after casual acquaintances or complete strangers and when caught is often proclaimed by those who knew him as the least likely of perpetrators. Sadly the stalker is still lose on the streets of Karachi and neither law enforcing agencies nor the media have got any idea about the nature or seriousness of the disorder. For the predatory stalker, stalking is foreplay; the real goal is assault. While they may gain satisfaction from the sense of control and power stalking gives them over the victim, it’s the violent and sexual fantasies that they engage in while researching, planning, and following the victim that really gets them off as they prepare for the ultimate thrill — the assault itself. The stalking may have a sadistic quality to it. For example, some predatory stalkers mess with their victim’s minds by leaving subtle clues that they are being followed without revealing their identity. However, even when the victim is unaware that she is being stalked, the perpetrator can still take delight in the details — deciding how long to prolong the suspense, rehearsing the attack, fantasising the victim’s response. Violence, serial and ongoing stalking can occur during and after the termination of the romantic relationship. Additionally, aspects of violent stalking causing physical harm have been historically characterised as battering, while aspects of harassing behavior including unwanted calls at work, unwanted visits at home, following repeatedly have been historically characterised as emotional abuse. Stalking and serious violence appear to be motivated by attempts to control and intimidate the victim and may increase in frequency or severity in the context of actual or perceived threats to the security of the attachment. A stalker may be a former friend, lover or spouse, an acquaintance, or someone you have never met. They are not necessarily outcasts; some are well-dressed and groomed with a university education Stalking is “criminal harassment” and is a crime that affects the quality of life of its victims and their families. There are two general types of stalkers: those who are obsessed with a stranger and those who are obsessed with someone they know. Most stalking occurs in the context of established or past relationships such as relationships and married couples, friendships, or workplace relationships. Many stalkers know their victims and try to control them. They may have been in romantic relationships that ended and left the stalker feeling wronged or mistreated. Stalkers obsessed with strangers may believe their behaviour will eventually lead the victim to fall in love with them. Some hold delusions that their victims passionately love them but cannot show it because of some external influence. A stalker may be a former friend, lover or spouse, an acquaintance, or someone you have never met. They are not necessarily outcasts; some are well-dressed and groomed with a university education and a solid career. Many do, however, have a psychological disorder of some kind such as a personality disorder or severe mental illness. There are celebrity stalkers such as those that killed John Lennon and Rebecca Schaeffer. Public figures are among the most easily targeted for stalking, their stalkers dream of making contact with them. Much more common are stalkers that target ordinary victims. Any person who wilfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses another person, and who makes credible threats with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury, or to place that person in reasonable fear of the death or great bodily injury of his or her immediate family is guilty of the crime of stalking. Stalking is a common social problem, often driven by psychiatric disorders in its perpetrators and productive of psychological and social damage in its victims. Assessing and managing the risks in the stalking situation is a task that frequently falls on the mental health professional. The concerns of risks in the stalking situation are not confined to violence but include psychosocial damage, chronicity, recurrence, and for the stalker, arrest and incarceration. The longer stalking has lasted, the longer it is likely to persist. Nearly 50 percent of stalking situations amount to a short burst of intrusive behavior lasting only a few days and not extending beyond two weeks. This form of harassment is typically perpetrated by a stranger. In contrast, stalkers who persist for longer than two weeks usually continue for many months. Persistence is reportedly high in workplace stalking. Those who continue to stalk over many years are either pursuing a quest for intimacy, often driven by erotomanic delusions, or are ex-partners unwilling to abandon the lost relationship. We do not have exactly the required specific legal protection for victims and the level of mental health services available to victims and perpetrators. Clinicians, media and law e enforcement agencies must familiarise themselves with stalking behaviour as a disorder and the mental health assessment and treatment so crucially needed in the jurisdictions in which they work. As there is a lack of awareness about forensic psychiatry in Pakistan, media, law enforcing agencies, general public and mental health professionals must understand how, in practice, stalkers are dealt with and exactly what legal sanctions and treatment services are employed in dealing with this sort of criminal behaviour. Clearly, when considering the risk of future stalking, clinicians must be able to have a good understanding of the methods and strategies available for dealing with the stalker. Similarly, stalking victim support services are important in ensuring that stalking victims receive treatment and support to assist them in dealing with the potential for ongoing stalking behavior. The writer is the Director of Quality Assurance at ShifaTameer-e-Millat University in Islamabad. He is also the head of Department of Behavioral Sciences STMU and is a consultant psychiatrist at Shifa International Hospital Published in Daily Times, October 6th 2017.