KARACHI: Ten per cent of the total number of people living in developing countries have disabilities.
Yet in Pakistan, these are the very people who are ignored when it comes to the country’s policy making and development, said Pakistan Disabled People’s Organisation (PDPO) president Muhammad Mobinuddin at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday.
People with disabilities should be asked to contribute to the country’s policy making and national budget, said Mobinuddin. “Disabled people are well equipped to play an important role in the society but the government needs to assist them by providing them with facilities and opportunities.”
Disabled people have yet to be given a quota under the Benazir Youth Development Programme. Neither has the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) made ramps in buildings to facilitate people in wheelchairs, despite the amendment to the bylaws in 2005, said Mobinuddin.
“The government has done nothing yet for the disabled people except make tall claims. Which is why we demand that the forthcoming national budget should be formulated according to the standards of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD),” he said, adding that the government should comply to the charter of UNCRDP as they were co-signatories to it, along with India, China and Bangladesh.
Ten per cent of the national budget should be earmarked for the development of accessible infrastructure, schools, parks, hospitals, public spaces and transport, representatives of the PDPO demanded, adding that disabled people, along with members of the cabinet and officials from the department of finance and planning, should be invited to the discussions on next year’s budget.
Walkways should be constructed at traffic signals as visually impaired people are often injured while making their way to the other side of the road, said the publication incharge of a magazine for disabled people, Syed Farjan Ahmed, who added that the iron barriers alongside roads also hamper these people’s movement.
The government needs to plan a system which caters to the disabled people and their development, said Mobinuddin. The Green Bus service does not have wheelchair-lifting facilities, he said, adding that the CDGK had imported more than 5,000 buses but had not paid heed to this issue, despite PDPO’s demands for a bus service that could be used by physically handicapped people.
PDPO was established in 1981 with the aim of providing disabled people with a platform where they could fight for the same status in society as is provided to the rest of the citizens.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2010.