Govt asked to reserve seats for disabled people in parliament

Published October 11, 2021
A file photo of the National Assembly. — APP/File
A file photo of the National Assembly. — APP/File

SWAT: The social and human rights activists here on Sunday demanded of the government to ensure representation of persons with disabilities in parliament and local governments.

They were speaking at a one-day convention titled “Ham Bi Hain” here to raise the voice for persons with disabilities and ensure their representation in the Senate, National Assembly, provincial assemblies and local governments. The convention was organised by Coalition for Inclusive Pakistan.

MPA Fazal Hakim Khan was the chief guest on the occasion. People from all walks of life including local leaders of PPP, PkMAP, PML-N, JUI-F, ANP, PTI, representatives of civil society organisations, lawyers, traders and journalists attended the event.

The convener of Coalition for Inclusive Pakistan, Dr Yasmeen Gul, outlined the aims and objectives of the convention. Syed Jamal Shah and Humayun, who represented the transgender persons, discussed the issues of their community and said that their issues could only be resolved through proper policymaking and their representation in the parliament.

Participants of convention say Constitution gives equal rights to all

Malakand region mentor of Coalition for Inclusive Pakistan, Sar Zamin Khan, said that issues of people with disabilities, transgender persons and women could not be resolved until they were given proper representation in the legislation.

“We demand that proper participation of persons with disabilities is ensured in assemblies and local governments so that these deprived people can raise their voice at the proper forum and play role in legislation,” he said.

MPA Fazal Hakim Khan said that people with disabilities, transgender persons and women were part of the society and it was the responsibility of government to take steps for their betterment. “I will personally talk to chief minister about their representation in assemblies and other issues they face in the society,” he added.

Maulana Sadiq Ahmad said that Islam gave equal rights to all segments of the society. “It is our collective duty to not only accept them as our part but also help them to resolve their issues,” he added.

“According to Constitution, all people are equal so we have to treat everyone equally. We will provide free legal aid to PWDs, transgender persons and women whenever they need it,” said Faisal Khan, general secretary of Swat Bar Association.

PkMAP’s Dr Khalid Mehmood, PPP’s Iqbal Hussain, Advocate Inayatullah and Sohail also spoke on the occasion.

The participants of the event said that the Article 52 and 59 of the Constitution should be amended to allocate four seats (one each from every province) in the National Assembly for persons with disabilities. Similarly, one seat for persons with disabilities must be reserved in the provincial assemblies, they added.

They also demanded allocation of seats for PWDS in the local governments.

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2021

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