ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday signed the Instrument of Ratification on UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at Aiwan-e-Sadr at a special ceremony attended by persons with special needs, members of civil society, NGOs and INGOs.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006. So far, 148 states have signed and 100 have ratified this important convention. The Government of Pakistan signed the convention on September 25, 2008.
Addressing the gathering, the President termed the day as historic and said that it was a great pleasure and privilege that the signing and the ratification was happening during the present democratic government.
The President said the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees equal rights to all citizens.
“The teachings of Islam also lay great emphasis on protecting the weak including orphans, widows, elderly, poor and, above all, the persons with disabilities,” he continued.
“In line with our values and the Constitution we will fulfil our responsibility towards the special people,” he vowed.
The President said, “it was our duty to look after and take care of the people with special needs. We all have to work together to fill in the gap created by the nature in some people.”
He called upon members of civil society, NGOs and affluent people to assist the government in ensuring that the people with special needs are being properly looked after.
President Zardari said caring for the special people was very close to his heart and he was personally committed to the cause of disabled people.
In August, 2009, he recalled, special CNIC scheme for the special persons was launched by him in the Presidency. He said the aim was to identify special people throughout the country and provide them facilities to live in peace and dignity.
These facilities include importing duty free cars, 50% concession in airlines and railways and free medical treatment in public sector hospitals. So far NADRA has issued 96,000 Special CNICs, he added.
The President said it was also a matter of great pleasure to learn that the Directorate General of Special Education has also taken various initiatives for the welfare of special people.
Establishment of Special Education Departments at Allama Iqbal Open University, University of the Punjab and Karachi University, bill on provision in building codes to give accessibility to special people, construction of Special Education buildings in main cities, declaring the Federal Capital and provincial headquarters as disabled friendly cities, permission to special persons to appear in CSS exams and establishment of 127 Special Education Centres in main cities were among those initiatives, he noted.
The President said, “these are all important steps but are not enough and the government wants to do more. We will do more.”
The President called upon the federal and provincial governments to carefully review the UN Convention and take all necessary steps for the protection and due care of every special person.
Wishing all the people concerned involved in taking care of people with special needs, the President hoped that they would continue to serve the cause with even greater zeal in the days to come.