Visually impaired persons demand increase in job quota


–Differently-abled protesters in front of Lahore Press Club say PTI govt yet to fulfil promises

LAHORE: Visually impaired persons from Attock protested in front of Lahore Press Club here on Monday in order to get their demands fulfilled.

According to details, almost 100 visually impaired persons joined the protest with banners and placards; however, the protest halted the routine life during the start of the working week.

Their demands included that two out of three seats be given to the differently-abled in in Attock’s Health Department apart from one police seat. The visually impaired also demanded one of two seats in the Excise and Taxation Department.

During the protest, they called for an increase in job quota to 6% from 3%; whereas the breakup of that 6% quota should be 2% for blind persons, 2% for physically disabled and 2% for the deaf and dumb persons.

Furthermore, the protesters demanded a quota for the differently-abled persons in the provincial assembly. They also asked for free health and educational facilities as ‘promised’ to them by the ruling government.

The protest also demanded 50% discount in all the utility bills and that the disabled persons working on daily wages in different government departments be regularised.

Najam Amin, a protester who became visually impaired after an accident at the age of 5, said, “Are we not humans? Why are we kept behind in all the fields of life and not treated humanely? I lost my sight at the age of 5 due to a fire incident and could not recover. My parent died and my siblings shunted me away and now I am working as a daily wager in a government department for seven years. After every three months, I am threatened that I might be fired from the job as there is a shortage of budgets with the department. Will I live the entire life under this threat? I am like this by the will of God and it was not my choice.”

“The government has no facilities for us and I wish the higher-ups faced this problem so that they could understand the dilemmas of blinds like us,” he complained.

Another protester Abdul Majeed said, “In many countries of the world the disabled persons get support from the government but here we have nothing, not even in the Naya Pakistan. We got to know that the governments in many countries provide equipment and modifications (such as wheelchairs, hoists, hearing aids, and housing and vehicle modifications), career support, assistance to people who have accidental injuries and many other facilities which make the disabled live a normal life. We want the government to provide us all the facilities which we have demanded.”

Muhammad Shakeel among the crowd was of the view that he along with many others had high hopes with the new government of PTI. “First of all, they have raised the prices of all goods and utilities and then they are not providing us with any relief and job opportunities. I have aged parents and I don’t find a way out to feed them. We become so helpless that at times we have to beg to meet our needs,” he asserted.

Hafiz Noman, another protester, said, “If the government cannot facilitate us then we should be killed when we meet a disability. None of us is disabled by choice and the government needs to understand this fact. We have no other option than to protest here as it is high time that we need our demands to be fulfilled.”