MULTAN: With close to three million disabled people living in Pakistan, one of the biggest challenges they face is equal employment opportunities and social acceptance, said organisers and participants of a rally by disabled people and non-governmental organisations in Multan on Saturday to mark the International day of disability.
Muhammad Husnain, 34 years old told The Express Tribune said that he was married and had two children, Muazama husnain and Sibtain Raza. He said that he and his had been unemployed for last 12 years. “I have given applications to many high officials but my bad luck is that I have no reference or politicians in my relatives,” he lamented.
Sajid ali, a 20 years old resident of Multan while talking to The Express Tribune said that that he and his wife are both blind, but had no employment. Ali said that there were times when they spent 3 days on end living only on water. They said that no charity organisation was willing to help them neither had the government affixed a monthly stipend to help them. “We are the part of society and we also have the right to status and attention from the people.”
Mukhtar Ahmed, who is blind and married Raani, also blind, told The Express Tribune that in order to receive stipend from the Bait-ul-Maal, one needs references and political relations. In the age of inflation, he says, the easiest solution is to commit suicide.
Dabeer Sajjad told The Express Tribune that he was deaf and working for last many years at minimum wage. “After service of ten years I earn Rs6000 as salary,” he lamented. Sajjad added that his employers have often threatened to sack him apart from discriminating when choosing colleagues to promote. He says many of his colleagues were chosen for promotion over him despite the fact that he holds graduate degree and a certificates in computer operation.
“People are not willing to accept us as a part of society” he says.
Solidarity for special persons, an NGO working for special people told tribune that only 3000 disabled people have access to education in Multan.
Chairperson for Solidarity for Special Persons, Zahida said that that Pakistan had 2.6 million registered disabled people, with real figures twice as much. She said that in southern Punjab alone there were more than 500,000 disabled people who need help in boosting their confidence. “They are the biggest victims of the discrimination and at the same time they have least chances of employment on merit,” she said.
Zahida added that Government should create employment opportunities to adjust the special persons and provide them relief, not only financially but socially as well.
The participants of the demonstrations demanded that the government increase their quota in government jobs from five per cent. They also urged the government to create special financial and social facilities for them in all public places and academic institutions.
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