Disabled community in Pakistan

(Yusra Babar, Jodat Abdullah, Muhammad Eman, Mahnoor and Ahmed Raffay, Lahore)

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 disability is their own ignorance about their rights as enshrined in Pakistan constitution and UN human right charter. The Pakistani government has best, more comfort and ease law for disability and disability organizations than other countries but there is 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 difficult life without gaining any access to government’s benefits. The benefits include tax exemption, special education, free medical treatment, provision of Wheel chairs, hearing aids etc, a reduction in air and railways fares by almost 50%. They are also entitled to a 5% quota in governments department.

We as a group of students from IB (International Baccalaureate Diploma) were concerned for this awareness of issues faced by both disabled and non-disabled citizen. Decided to work with disability organization and make this article based on their lives, works and work of organization respectively. 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 on 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 strong vision and mission, but have 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 it’s no problem for them, its societal problem that they are not providing accordingly to their rights and requirements. We interviewed with the president/founder of organization, Humayun Zaheer for more knowledge about its nature and role of organization. He mentioned that “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 about current disability treatment and to get awareness about disability rights in Pakistan.

This is one of many examples of NGO organizations, there are many organizations all over country that are helping disabled people but are facing lack of funds and lack of government intervention and provide any assistance and subsidy to these organizations. We hope that everyone should be aware of the disability rights and protect them because we feel their feeling and society must show empathy. There is different term for disabled person, we mistakenly called them disabled but instead of that most of other countries use differently abled person and special person. Unfortunately, our culture seems to be unfair with disabled people. The only solution we can find is that government and public should lift up and support NGO organizations, provide special education and create stronger awareness and advertisement for disabled people.

By Yusra Babar, Jodat Abdullah , Muhammad Eman, Mahnoor and Ahmed Raffay

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