Gifts being distributed among visually-impaired people at a function held in connection with White Cane Safety Day in Attock on Saturday. — Dawn
Gifts being distributed among visually-impaired people at a function held in connection with White Cane Safety Day in Attock on Saturday. — Dawn

ISLAMABAD: The federal capital will be made a friendly city for visually impaired persons and the 2pc job quota allocated for special persons will be implemented from Basic Pay Scale (BPS) 1 to 21.

This was stated by Director General Ministry of Human Rights Mohammad Arshad while speaking at an event held in connection with the White Cane Safety Day at National Institute of Special Education in H-8/4 on Saturday.

According to a statement issued on Saturday, the day has been observed each year since 1964 to celebrate the achievements of people who are visually impaired.

Mr Arshad said it was the vision of the current government to provide facilities to special persons and bring them at a par with others.

2pc job quota for special persons to be implemented from BPS 1 to 21, says official

Special Education Director General Sheikh Azhar Sajjad said the government had allocated funds for the upgradation of institutes providing training and education to special persons.

“Advanced equipment have been provided to National Special Education Centre for Visually Impaired Persons. Now we are able to provide assistive equipment to students and train them within the centre,” he said.

Mr Sajjad said a workshop had been established to produce artificial limbs while an autism centre has been established for slow learning children.

Sightsavers Pakistan country director Munazza Gillani also spoke.

“Eighty per cent of blindness loss is preventable or treatable but as a result of lack of quality eye care services and awareness in general population about eye health many people don’t get the care they need. Blindness turns into a permanent disability leading to less access to education and employment, loss of material wealth and social status,” she said.

According to the WHO, over 2.2 billion people have a visual impairment, with four times as many people affected in low and middle-income countries. But almost half of vision impairment is preventable or treatable. However, the number of blind people could triple to around 115 million people by 2050 if preventive measures are not taken on emergency basis. It is estimated that the productivity loss of visual impairment and blindness is $410.7 billion globally each year.

Attock

Speakers at a function held in connection with the White Cane Safety Day in Attock urged visually impaired people to continue their struggle for acquiring adequate knowledge and training so as to be able to lead an honourable life.

The function was organised by a UK-based NGO in collaboration with the District Blind Association, Attock Cricket Club of the Blind and the district administration at a school.

The speakers said observing the day aimed at focusing on people and drawing the government’s attention towards the importance of white cane, problems faced by visually impaired persons, their rights and making their traveling safe and easier.

They said visually impaired people were also an important segment of society and playing a vital role.

It was demanded that the 2pc quota in employment should be implemented for the visually impaired persons.

They also demanded that all private, government and recreational places should be made accessible to the disabled persons.

Deputy Commissioner Dr Imran Hamid Sheikh said according to the World Health Organisation, 285 million people were suffering from some sort of visual deficiencies while 39 million of them were completely blind.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2021

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