ISLAMABAD, Oct 15: During the last five months, Federal Minister for Capital Administration and Development (CAD) Nazar Mohammad Gondal skipped three functions held for special children.

On Monday, visually-impaired children had to wait for the minister at a function held in connection with the International White Cane Safety Day at Al-Maktoom National Special Education Centre but at the end a senior joint secretary turned up in his place.

A teacher requesting not to be identified said the minister had made it a routine to ignore the special children.

“On July 5, as many as 80 special persons and children had to wait for him during a seminar organised by the directorate general of special education and social welfare but the minister did not turn up despite making commitment. In June, Mr Gondal also missed another function at a hotel in Sector G-6,” he said.

However, CAD’s media coordinator Mohammad Saleh told Dawn that Mr Gondal had some political engagement in his constituency of Mandi Bahauddin due to which he could not attend the event on Monday.

Addressing the function, Abdul Latif Leghari, the senior joint secretary of CAD, said the government was mindful of the needs of the special children and a number of steps had been taken for their education, training and rehabilitation.

He said persons with disabilities should get themselves registered with Nadra, so that they can avail of facilities like free medical treatment in government hospitals, 50 per cent concession in air and railway fares, two per cent quota in government employment, 10 years’ age relaxation for government jobs and soft loans for small entrepreneurship.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Leghari said under the law persons with disabilities are issued special computerised national identity cards to avail of these facilities. He said so far over 100,000 special CNICs had been issued.

“CAD has also sought permission from the government to allow special persons to import tax-free cars for personal use,” he added.

The official said in the past banks used to turn down visually-impaired persons’ requests to open an account but now it is binding on all banks to honour applications filed by visually-impaired persons,” he said.

Speaking at the function, Director General Special Education Ghayoor Sultana said the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities was only possible through involvement of all segments of society. For this, civil society and corporate sector have to play their vital role.

Earlier, visually-impaired children performed a number of songs and presented other items. Gift items were distributed among those who performed on the occasion.

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