Ignorance about the plight of the disabled is not just relevant to Pakistan; it is global. The UN itself woke up to the issue of the disabled in 1981 and declared it the International Year of Disability. From 1981 to 2006 — in the latter year the UN adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – the disabled of the world kept waiting for their issues to be addressed. In 2008, when the CRPD became operational, the disabled came to know that the nomenclature used for them had been changed from ‘disabled persons’ to “persons with disabilities’ (PWDs). Pakistan ratified the CRPD in 2011 and, as per Article Four of the CRPD, took upon itself the responsibility for ensuring and promoting the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all PWDs without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability.
A very significant issue is the absence of preventive measures to forestall disabilities to check the growing enormity of the disability crisis. The 1981 Ordinance is silent on this aspect and so is the CRPD. Though the NPPD addresses the prevention aspect aptly, it is discredited as has been pointed out. To check the disability crisis, Pakistan has to put in place a prevention regime. Research can be promoted to look for ways to prevent disability, both congenital and acquired, especially in children who constitute a major chunk of PWDs.
I would also want to share a news that our team of Estanara group is receiving threats by some anonymous source and their aim is stop our accessibility awareness project.
By: Muhammad Afzal Uddin (Editor)