Disappointed over the indifferent attitude of the government towards their demands, a group of visually-impaired persons have garnered support of top clerics of Gilgit-Batistan (G-B).
“Since the political government has let us down, we have asked the clerics to press the government to meet our long-standing demands,” said Visually Impaired Persons Rehabilitation Association (VIPRA) President Irshad Kazmi, who led the delegation.
Kazmi said he recently met with two of G-B’s top prayer leaders, Qazi Nisar and Agha Rahat, to apprise them of the issues being faced by the disabled persons. He said that the scholars listened to their pleas patiently and pledged their support to them.
“The government will waste no time if the clerics support us,” said Kazmi, reasoning that the clerics have more influence in G-B than do politicians. He lamented that the political government is doing nothing for them. “We are only physically disabled whereas the government is intellectually-disabled,” he added.
Under VIPRA, the disabled persons held protest demonstrations outside the G-B assembly for four consecutive days last month, demanding implementation of 2% quota in government jobs as guaranteed by law, but failed to attract attention.
The VIPRA members said that they held meetings with top bureaucrats, chief minister and his cabinet members, and other officials, trying to convince them that the disabled can play a positive role in the society.
“Frankly speaking, nobody is willing to believe that a blind person can contribute something to the society,” said another member of the delegation. He regretted that their rights are being robbed at all levels while the media and the authorities remain silent.
Adviser to Chief Minister, Sadia Danish, said the disabled persons will be taken care of in the next budget. She added that the deteriorating law and order situation diverted the government’s attention towards other pressing issues.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2012.
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