By: Anum Azam
“The seriousness of society in handling disable peoples is reflected in the efforts put in diverse stages of development programmed and most importantly in assessing the quantum and growth of disabilities and the way disable peoples are integrated in developing projects”
Karachi: Few days back, I was just passing through Bahria Fly over. It was very beautifully constructed and it made me think if I am in Karachi or somewhere else. Everything has been beautifully put in as street lights color combination etc. Malik Riaz’s Bahria Town project is considered to be flawless. You may not be able to find anything wrong in it too after exploring it. But when I was passing through the flyover, I realized that there was something missing, something very important legally, morally and ethically. It is not just missing from Bahria fly over but it is missing from every track, every road in Karachi city and in Pakistan. I am talking about “Track for Disable”.
Karachi is hardly friendly to the people walking on its streets. So, it was understandable that physically challenged people chose to stay at home since they couldn’t move around independently. Most of our government responsible believes that it happens because of space constraints. There isn’t enough space in Karachi to build special parking places or even ramps. But surprisingly there is a lot of flyover, tall buildings, big restaurants and hotels. Is it really a space constraints or just personal concern? I wonder how those families survive to see that Allah has given that disable person all the rights to live a normal life but government and city does not. It is sad fact that disability is not properly understood and disabled person is not treated with the respect they deserve. It is, however, heartening to see a number of role models in the disabled community, who have taken the challenge to prove that person with disabilities, are no less than any able-bodied person.
I believe “Disable Peoples” have all the rights to live a normal life. But there is some kind of discrimination and negligence from our society and especially from our Government machinery. I know that there are lots of efforts are being done for the rights of disabled peoples. Many people are voluntarily helping NGO to help disables. There are different NGO’s who are working on disable people’s rights. Government has provided a job quota for disabled persons but what if these persons would not have proper road side track to reach to the job on time.
In Sindh there are more than 40,000 jobs openings for disable Individuals but their execution in most of the departments and companies cascade dreadfully short. Neither do these institutions and company employ physically challenged people, nor do they change their infrastructure to provide easy access for them. Under government regulations, every commercial or office building should have basic accessibility features for physically disable people, but most of the buildings violate these regulations.
There are many students who are physically challenged are studying in Universities, finds it burdensome to rely on others to go upstairs in order to attend classes, no matter if its government university or private. Supreme Court and Sindh High Court buildings do have ramps for wheelchair users, the City Court, which is attended by thousands of litigants each day, does not. Hundreds of people visiting the facility face a lot of trouble when climbing up the large staircase to enter the Court House.
Progress in social welfare of a society can be estimated from how well mentally and physically disable individuals are being put to productive relations and how much we really cares about them to provide facilities to live a normal life. We need to realize that disable peoples are not the one who is dependent and pitiful, but we need to accept that they are productive partners in country’s development process. We see in developed countries, where all kind of facilities available to all disables as in they are living as normal life as we do in our daily routine. Sadly, in Pakistan, the seriousness of society in handling disable peoples is reflected in the efforts put in diverse stages of development programmed and most importantly in assessing the quantum and growth of disabilities and the way disable peoples are integrated in developing projects.
It’s really an alarming social issue in Pakistan. NGO’s should play their part to raise awareness about the issues of disable peoples and about ways in which Pakistan can execute rules and policy and become a more wide-ranging society for people of all abilities. The NGO’s should highlight the state of disability in Pakistan and the benefits of a more comprehensive society. They should run campaigns related infrastructure for disables. Disable should facilitate with special road lane o travel easy in a city. Building should be design in a way that help disable individual to access it without depending on any one and with any one’s help. They should proposes realization and execution of legislation, through effective governance bodies and monitoring within the government, accessibility of environment and the infrastructure for people with disabilities, availability of quality education for all children with disabilities, equal opportunities for people with disabilities to gain employment without fear of discrimination.
Our political leaders and Pakistani government should take action for people with disabilities. Its government responsibility and their humanitarian duty to provide all kinds of facilities and opportunities to handicapped citizens of their country so that they can easily play their part in the progress of this country and earn livelihood for their families.
The writer is a MBA student of IOBM Karachi.