The disabled community in Pakistan
Pakistan has has best laws for the disabled community but there is a lack of involvement and focus on the aspects of disability rights.
According to 1998 census, 2.38% of Pakistan’s population suffer from one disability or others. While according to 2017 census, it shows that disability percentage has been decreased 0.48%. It maybe not true, because there could be error in data collection as we identified that according to United Nations, about 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability, of whom 2-4% experience significant difficulties in functioning. The global disability prevalence is higher than previous WHO estimates, which date from the 1970s and suggested a figure of around 10%.
The main reason that we believe for this uncertainty in data in reports is mainly due to its own citizens. Disabled citizens are not aware of disclosing their disability for their identity. To add the woes of citizens affected with a disability is their own ignorance about their rights as enshrined in the Pakistan constitution and UN human right charter. The Pakistani government has best and more comfort and ease law for disability and disability organizations than other countries but there is a lack of involvement and focus on the aspects of disability rights. As a result, many Pakistani disabled citizens are not aware and lived through their life without any gaining access to government’s benefits. The benefits include tax exemption, special education, free medical treatment, provision of Wheelchairs, hearing aids etc. a reduction in air and railways fares by almost 50%. They are also entitled to a 5% quota in the government’s department.
We as a group of students from the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma were concerned for this awareness of issues faced by both disabled and non-disabled citizen. Decided to work with disability organization and write an article on their lives, works and work of organization respectively to create awareness. The non-governmental, organization named “Voice Society for the Rehabilitation of Special Person” based in Lahore is one of influential organization. We discuss and interviewed the founder of this organization in the present situation of their organization. They mentioned it’s difficult to run the organization but never lose hope. Their organizations seem to be very effective and had a strong vision and mission, but have a lack of fund to continue the organization.
We were able to meet the handicapped children and ask them about their daily lives. We were amazed that all of them says that they do not feel a problem for them for their disability, its societal problem that they are not providing accordingly to their rights and requirements. We interviewed the founder president, Humayun Zaheer for more knowledge about its nature of the organization. He mentioned; “One of the biggest mistakes the society make is that they think disabled people are useless in society but in reality, they are very productive and talented if they are trained well, so our organization provide education and train them to live independently in the future and serve the nation”. Our main aim was to investigate and study current disability treatment and to get awareness about disability rights in Pakistan.
This is one of many examples of NGOs, there are many other organizations across Pakistan that are helping disabled people but at the same time, lacking funds and support from the government. We hope that everyone should be aware of disability rights and protect them because we feel their feeling and society must show empathy. There is a different term for a disabled person, we mistakenly called them disabled but instead of that most of other countries use “differently-abled person” or “special person”.
Unfortunately, our culture seems to be unfair to disabled people. The only solution we can find is that the government and public should lift up and support NGOs, provide special education and create stronger awareness advertisement for disabled people.