Begum Samina Alvi, the wife of the President of Pakistan, has said that nationwide registration of differently-abled people was crucial to ensure their access to facilities provided by the government, particularly in education and health.
“The registration will help categorisation of differently-abled persons and ensure facilities for them as per their needs,” she said on Wednesday in her virtual address at a Policy Roundtable.
The theme was ‘Mainstreaming Interventions to address Disabilities’ in the National Youth Priority Action Agenda (NYPA). Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, parliamentarians, experts on disability, World Health Organization (WHO) representatives and officials of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives participated via video-link.
Begum Alvi said a survey about differently-abled people was being conducted under Ehsaas socio-welfare programme and would complete by June, and added that inclusion of such persons in the census was important for accurate data. “This data will help the government in allocating resources for health and education facilities for differently-abled people,” she added.
She said one in seven people worldwide had a disability, adding that by 2050, the population over 60 years of age would touch two billion needing physical aid. She said an estimated 15 per cent of the world's population suffered from some form of disability and according to preliminary estimates, Pakistan had the same percentage of the population with disabilities.
Begum Alvi stressed the need for measures to ensure access and mobility of differently-abled people so as to integrate them into the social mainstream. She called for raising awareness through seminars and media about the loan facility offered by the State Bank of Pakistan and other private banks aimed at making differently-abled people financially independent. She said the provision of skill-based education in line with market needs and knowledge of information technology could prove helpful in enabling differently-abled persons to start their own businesses.
She called for a national campaign and awareness drive at all levels regarding availing of a two percent job quota by special persons.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2021.