Pakistan Needs To Do Right by PLWDs

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Pakistan is no country for a minority of any kind, including those who live with disabilities. Pakistani state and society have long ignored persons living with disabilities (PLWDs), especially if they are women or minorities.

 

At a recent policy dialogue jointly hosted by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Potohar Mental Health Association, human rights defenders called on the government “to conduct a countrywide census of PLWDs to ensure that budgetary allocations for their welfare are better targeted. They also criticised the lack of due representation for PLWDs in legislative and policymaking bodies, especially in KP and Balochistan.”

 

Speakers urged state and society to view PLWDs “as differently abled persons rather than ‘disabled’ and called on all human rights defenders to launch an organised movement to compel the state to enact better laws for PLWDs’ welfare and devise effective mechanisms that would help them integrate with the mainstream population, whether at home or at educational institutions, or at hospitals, banks and industries. Additionally, buildings in the public and private sectors must be made accessible to PLWDs as a matter of policy and practice and their access to digital information made easier.”

 

Former senator and HRCP Council member Farhatullah Babar stated “Unless both the state and society and state are sensitised, mere legislative and administrative measures will remain insufficient and all political parties should ensure that their manifestoes include clear commitments to uplifting PLWDs.”

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Author: Muhammad Butt