DAA News Network

Pakistan: Disabled people demand political representation

Posted 24/3-10 at 17.39

On March 18th, the Pakistan Disability Forum (PDF) organized a mass demonstration in Islamabad to demand reserved seats for disabled persons to be included the upcoming constitutional amendments. This would give disabled people similar rights to political representation as women and certain minority groups.

Asim Zafar, Member of PDF's Central Directorate, said that the National Policy for Disabled Persons, launched in 2002, "... expired in 2007 without any implementation, as there is no one in the assembly to represent us." His colleague, Shafiq-ur-Rehman, commented, "We are fed up of living the life of beggars moving from one office to the other to demand our rights."

The result of this lack of political muscle was summed up by a demonstrator, Saima Aslam, a young girl with muscular dystrophy. She said, "We can not access any park, school or government building. We cannot travel through public transport. It is the society and government that has made us disabled."

The protest ended after Senator Faisal Raza came to meet the demonstrators and ensured them that he will present their demands before President Asif Ali Zardari within this week.




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