Murtaza Abad Hunza Village in Winter Covered in Snow.

Harsh Winters for Disabled people of Gilgit Baltistan

The onset of the winter season is evident in numerous regions, if not predominant across the globe. During this time, the prevalence of disorders such as Seasonal Affective Disorder tends to escalate, affecting various communities, particularly those that are marginalized. In the specific case of Gilgit Baltistan, a considerable number of disabled individuals find themselves in dire circumstances, grappling with the scarcity of food and the absence of electricity in numerous areas.

Despite the harsh realities faced by individuals in these circumstances, society often turns a blind eye, failing to recognize the severity of the challenges posed by the harsh winter conditions. The social model of health therefore needs to be re-examined by officials, NGO, and others around the globe.

Social model of health

If focusing solely on the Social Determinants of Health: This model recognizes that health outcomes are shaped by social factors such as income, education, employment, housing, and access to healthcare. These determinants play a major role in an individual’s health status.


Deprived of income, a disabled individual finds it challenging to sustain their livelihood, let alone maintain adequate housing conditions for their family. Despite our persistent efforts to highlight the importance of a 3% job quota for disabled individuals in Gilgit Baltistan, it appears to be a peripheral concern for both the government and society. As a community, how can we proactively address this issue?

Given our significant presence as an international force on social media, there exists a compelling opportunity for us to advocate for the rights of Persons with Disabilities. Are these not fundamental human rights? Or is it possible that our cause is overlooked due to a lack of visual appeal, making it easier for society to disregard our concerns?


Similarly, the role of education, an ostensibly minor determinant, contradicts the imperative it should hold within our communities. The prevailing status quo fails to afford equivalent educational opportunities to our populace as readily provided to others. What accounts for this disparity, and why does our societal framework not ensure equitable access to education for all? Is it fear?


In Pakistan, where healthcare resources are constrained, the fundamental right to accessible healthcare, particularly during the winter, becomes imperative. Recent reports of pneumonia cases among children in Lahore underscore the urgency of addressing healthcare disparities. It is essential to recognize that malnutrition not only poses a threat to general health but also intensifies the vulnerability of disabled individuals. The winter season, known for its harsh conditions, magnifies the challenges faced by people with disabilities. Consequently, it is incumbent upon authorities to formalize initiatives that provide free healthcare services, especially during periods of heightened health risks, ensuring a more inclusive and resilient healthcare system for all citizens.


In light of the existing societal polarization in Pakistan, exacerbated by the electoral dynamics and the wheat crises in Gilgit Baltistan, it is imperative to allocate concerted efforts towards addressing the needs of disabled individuals during the winter season. Furthermore, it is crucial to establish enduring mechanisms aimed at mitigating disparities in areas such as income, health, and social well-being. This proactive approach is essential for fostering a more inclusive and equitable society, thereby contributing to the overall welfare of the population.

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