LAHORE: Persons with disabilities from various parts of Punjab on Friday displayed different skills to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021.

The Punjab Special Education Department (PSED) organised a ceremony at the Alhamra Complex with the theme of ‘Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible, and sustainable post-Covid-19 world’.

The students and other persons with disabilities, belonging to different special education institutes, attended the function.

Punjab Minister for Special Education Chaudhry Muhammad Akhlaq was the chief guest where PSED Secretary Saima Saeed, Director General Pervaiz Iqbal Butt, Deputy Secretary Dr Muhammad Naeem and physical education Director Syed Kazim Muqdas were also present.Videos of persons with disabilities performing different tasks were also shown at the ceremony.

Blind persons disrupt event on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Pakistan’s blind cricket team captain Abdul Razzaq, who is currently in charge of a school for the visually impaired, said any person with disability could achieve his or her goal by working hard. He said he loved cricket and had won two world cups for the country.

“I did not stay home for being a visually impaired person, rather I challenged myself and worked hard to achieve my goal.”

He believed that the persons with disabilities could perform better than normal people in any field of life.

A group of students with impaired hearing staged a drama about how Covid-19 spread in the country, highlighting the difficulties faced by the public and health workers during the pandemic. They also paid tributes to health workers for their services.

The students performed on national songs, while a 10-year-old girl, Bisma Attaullah, displayed her piano skills. She told Dawn that she lacked confidence, but was encouraged to play the piano by her teachers.

The minister said a dedicated helpline had been established to provide round-the-clock help to the persons with disabilities. He said recently the department got vacated its 104-kanal land at Sharaqpur where a sports complex would be built for such persons.

He said around 303 institutes were established in the province where 36,000 persons with disabilities were studying to become confident citizens of the country.

Later, the minister distributed shields among the participants in the ceremony.

Earlier, a group of blind persons disrupted the event in protest against non-provision of jobs and chanting slogans against the department for not giving them employment.

The minister approached them, assuring them that their grievances would be addressed.

Later, the protesters settled down in the hall and the administration resumed the programme.

As the programme concluded, the blind persons again approached the entry and exit gates of the hall and closed them to stop the authorities from coming out of the hall without fulfilling their demands. However, the administration managed to escape from the hall from the backdoor.

The protesters approached the vehicle of the minister and blocked it. The minister approached the protesters again and asked them to allow him and his family to go and he would hold a meeting with them to fulfill their demands at his office on Saturday (today). He said his wife and two children were waiting to go home and he also had to offer Friday prayers.

The protesters did not budge from their place and the minister had to call another vehicle to leave the place with his family.

The protesters dispersed after the minister left the site.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2021

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