Participants at a ceremony to mark the International White Cane Safety Day spoke about the discrimination that visually impaired people have to deal with.
For instance, they are not allowed to open independent banking accounts nor are they issued credit cards. Moreover, the officials allotted to them from the Public Service Commission are usually un-educated and under qualified, which adversely affects their academic performance.
They said policies affecting them are not made according to their needs and thus become redundant.
The participants said media should acknowledge the abilities of the visually impaired and employ them as anchors and recorders etcetera.
Syed Sultan, chairperson of PAB, said, “Institutions for the visually impaired are present but the public interest and awareness to avail them is lacking, that is why today is very important.”
He added that according to the 1998 census, 2.49% of Pakistan’s population is disabled and if this segment is educated it will be of immense help to the economic sector.
To truly show the talents of the visually impaired, students engaged in activities such as singing songs and delivered speeches. They also presented tableaus.
The ceremony was organised by Pakistan Association of the Blind (PAB) at Al-Maktum Special Education Centre. October 15 has been set aside to celebrate the achievements of the visually impaired and the importance of the white cane in their lives.
Hassan Minto, Director of Middle Eastern International Education Centre and Syed Mustafarain Kazmi were present to show their support in spreading awareness about issues of the visually impaired. Representatives from the Pakistan Welfare Association of the Blind, Islamabad Cricket Club and Agha Kashmir Blind Association were also present.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2011.