What upsets one is that Pakistan over the years has failed to provide a decent life to persons with disabilities (PWDs). The previous governments, despite having authority, could not commit to nurturing a society that values the contribution of all its citizens and inhabitants, including the 5.035 million people living in the country with disabilities. In spite of having ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), not much has been done to deal with this issue on a priority basis at the federal and provincial level, even after the 18th Amendment. Although policies have been devised, their slow implementation continues to be an impediment in providing basic rights to PWDs.
It is true that people with disabilities cannot be promised lives that healthy and sound people lead, but this certainly does not imply that governments have the mandate to exclude them from the development agenda. Apart from a few schools and institutions that are initiatives of the private sector, people with disabilities rarely get an opportunity to acquire education.
Pakistan has adequate laws that address the issues of people with disabilities; most of these laws are supportive of the idea of provision of employment to disabled people. One such legislative piece is the Disabled Persons (Employment and Rehabilitation) Ordinance 1981, which has been ignored at numerous instances by the governments over the years. It is the PTI’s policy on the disabled persons that has once again revived the importance of the 1981 Ordinance. The PTI has projected the determination to implement the 1981 Ordinance in its true sense and this commitment to work towards the rights of the disabled has been reiterated in the policy time and again. Now that the PTI has secured a majority in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) we shall see a positive change in the lives of persons with disabilities, but the question is would Khan be able to provide jobs to them in the KP region? Will he be able to implement this policy in its letter and spirit?
No such change is observed yet, lets how much positive impacts will Khan’s rule may leave in his region as we as a nation always lice high hopes.
By: Muhammad Afzal Uddin (Editor)