ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Thursday said persons with disabilities need encouragement and support to enable them to be viable and productive part of society.

He was speaking as chief guest at an event held in connection with the International Day of Disabled Persons at Parliament House.

The speaker said concentrating on health and education of special per-sons would change the fate of the nation. He expressed his resolve to make maximum efforts for policy intervention to bring long-term reforms for their welfare.

He claimed that the Special Parliamentary Committee on Disabled Persons had been empow-ered to suggest and recommend all policy measures.

Mr Qaiser appreciated efforts of all social welfare organisations, which were contributing to facilitate persons with disabilities in the far-flung areas. He said inclusiveness of these people in the socioeconomic mainstream required on ground efforts like the services provided by Special Talent Exchange Programme (STEP), Kashmir Orphan Relief Trust (KORT), Khubab Foundation etc.

The speaker later distributed Khadijatul Kubra Award among per-sons with disabilities for their valuable services.

Women Parliamentary Caucus Secretary General MNA Munza Hassan offered complete support to review the existing laws in favour of the special persons.

Emerging disability leader Zila Qaiser sought more parliamentary and legislative intervention to bring relief in the lives of the persons with disabilities.

STEP Executive Director Mohammad Atif Sheikh said ensuring welfare for these persons was a long journey which demanded unwavering commitment and determination.

Javed AKhtar, the president of KORT, expressed his resolve to con- tinue efforts to make the lives of the persons with disabilities productive and viable.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Shehryar Khan Afridi on Thursday, while vowing to give a voice to the differently-abled people in Kashmir, said that modern techniques would be used to ensure that their voices are heard.

Speaking to Pakistan’s first hear-ing-impaired vlogger Hassan Ali, at the Parliament House on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Mr Afridi said that the differently-abled community is deprived of their basic rights as a result of which they face several challenges, adding, the gov-ernment has been working towards facilitating them.

Thousands of deaf people in India-held Kashmir are voiceless and in need of help as they are are entirely depend-ent on others for communication, he said, adding the Kashmir Committee will form an advisory board to help bring issues faced by differently-abled people to the forefront.

“Due to continued inhuman physi-cal and mental torture on Kashmiris by the Indian colonial regime in IIOJK, thousands of normal people have also turned deaf. On the other hand, the Indian occupying regime is turning deaf ears to their plight. We will give them voice so that their voices are heard globally,” he said.

Maimoona Awan, a volunteer who works with hearing-impaired people told Mr Afridi that around 9 million deaf people in Pakistan live their entire lives in adversity.

“We are working to empower deaf community across Asia; 60pc of them are from backward and underdevel-oped areas so they can’t build a proper community of deaf people. Deaf com-munity is most marginalised across the world. Hassan is Pakistan’s first deaf vlogger who is producing vlogs for deaf people,” she said.

Mr Ali briefed the chairman about his passion to work and help members of his community through his videos.

He said that the reason he decided to produce vlogs is to educate margin-alised deaf people who have no other way to learn about what is going on in Pakistan and the world.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2020

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