The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday unveiled its policy for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), promising that these people would be granted their due rights and integrated into mainstream society.
PTI Chief Imran Khan lamented the government’s failure to empower PWDs in the country.
“Persons with disabilities are not being given the basic rights which government authorities have pledged to them,” he said.
Khan said PTI, if voted into power, would allocate space for PWDs in the national and provincial budgets.
Meanwhile, disabled students who want to pursue higher education will be provided scholarships.
According to the policy, “PTI will acknowledge, facilitate and empower all PWDs, enabling them to lead independent and self-fulfilling lives.”
The policy states PTI will raise awareness about the integration of PWDs and will work towards the prevention of certain avoidable disabilities through early diagnosis and medical treatment.
PTI’s disablilty wing leader Atif Sheikh said that 15 percent of Pakistanis were disabled.
He added that this was the first time a political party had drafted a policy on the rights of PWDs.
The policy, among other things, guarantees implementation of the Disabled Persons (Employment and Rehabilitation) Ordinance 1981.
The ordinance allocates PWDs a two percent quota in federal government jobs.
A parliamentary panel on Capital Administration and Development was informed in November 2012 meeting that almost half of the quota posts are vacant.
Sheikh said a majority of disabled people live in rural areas where facilities to improve their basic accessibility are scarcely provided.
Khan also promised his supporters at the policy launch that the “PTI’s tsunami” would reach Minar-e Pakistan in Lahore by March 23, travelling on the newly operating Metro Buses.
He said PWDs would be granted a designated area at the gathering.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2013.