RAWALPINDI: Despite tall claims of the government, the plight of disabled is not being looked into by the Punjab government, with CNICs not issued to them due to lack of required compliance from Punjab’s Social Welfare Department.
According to details, people with disabilities across Punjab, having manual provincial disability certificates, are still not to be eligible to get computerised national identity cards (CNICs) due to the ‘apathy’ of the social welfare department, Daily Times learnt reliably.
Sources said that the government had enacted the Disabled Persons Employment and Rehabilitation Ordinance 1981 for the persons with disabilities across the country so as they could acquire jobs in governmental departments with ease. Later, the former military ruler General Ziaul Haq had also introduced a government certified disable permit ‘National Assessment Certificate’ to this effect. The holders of the certificates were eligible to avail the opportunities announced by federal government under the Disabled Persons Employment and Rehabilitation Ordinance 1981.
Under this act, the disabled were entitled for free medical treatment in government hospitals – free supporting aids, wheel chair, tricycle, hearing aid etc. In addition, 2 percent seats in all professional and technical institutions were also reserved for them.Initially, the provincial social welfare departments were authorised to issue these certificates following necessary procedure. Following the directives of the federal government, the disabled were issued non-computerised certificates, which were later converted into computerised ones. The non-computerised certificates were in hand written form sans computerised number, which was declared mandatory for getting national CNIC. The holders of the non-computerised certificates are facing numerous problems in obtaining national disable certificates.
Raja Waqas, a physically handicapped from Dhoke Syedan located in the suburbs of Garrison city was an aspirant of CNIC for disabled persons. Talking to Daily Times, he said that he has been running from pillar to post for the last six months to obtain the card, but to no good. Dejected Waqas said that he was granted disable certificate approved by provincial councils for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons in 1998, which was in manual form, meanwhile which turned into computerize certificate. Although, he has manual disable certificate approved by provincial councils for the rehabilitation of disabled person, yet he was unable to get computerised national identity card.
When he approached the NADRA office to acquire specific ID card, NADRA officials found him ineligible for disable CNIC, as he had non-computerised disable certificate. He said that NADRA was ready to award national disable certificate to an applicant, if the concerned social welfare department granted computerised disable certificate. Otherwise, he said it would be quite difficult for the NADRA authorities to grant him special card. As the non-computerise certificate sans computerise number, which was mandatory for national disable card. He was asked by NADRA authorities to consult department concerned to acquire computerise disable certificate.
When Waqas contacted the social welfare department concerned, they passed the buck on NADRA officials. On the occasion, the department held NADRA responsible for the fiasco, by saying that hundreds of handicapped had been issued CNICs without any computerised disable certificate.
Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) network coordinator Asim Zafar coordinator held both the federal and the provincial governments for this fiasco. He said most of disabled were rural-based, unaware of their rights, as well ignorant from this complicated procedure. The authorities concerned should ease this procedure to provide benefit maximum to disabled, he suggested
When an official of the Ministry of Social Welfare And Special Education Islamabad was contacted, he termed it a federal subject, adding that no CNIC denial case been reported in the federal capital. “If such causes surfaced, we took departmental action against persons or institutions. The department concerned should take this matter seriously,” he added. Punjab Social Welfare Director General Malik Muhammad Aslam said no such case was reported to the department concerned, and assured that he would personally look into the matter.
He said the Punjab Social Welfare is smoothly delivering computerised national assessment certificates to disabled without any discrimination across the province. The manual assessment certificate is equivalent to that of new computerised certificate, he added.
By: Mahtab Abbasi