Remarks on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December.

I hope this message finds you in good health.

In Gilgit Baltistan, despite being an educated region, the rights of disabled individuals often face neglect. Gilgit Baltistan boasts a higher number of educated individuals compared to other regions in Pakistan. Unfortunately, the practice of confining disabled individuals to their homes persists, highlighting a significant societal oversight. Despite these challenges, the disabled community initiated the Good Will Movement to create better opportunities. We inaugurated the Skill Development Center in 2022, aiming to provide training in various skills, including computer training and LED bulb making. Our organization, operating with limited resources, has been steadfast in its commitment to helping people with disabilities learn different skills.

The Good Will Movement has been actively raising awareness in society for many years. In addition to skill development, we are providing assistive devices to aid individuals with disabilities in walking and moving. It’s disheartening to note that while our organization strives to make a positive impact, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) occupies the building of the government’s Special Education hostel. This not only reflects the government’s misplaced priorities but also hinders the progress of initiatives aimed at empowering disabled individuals.

In contrast, our institution has stepped in to provide hostel facilities to some disabled individuals, facilitating their education and skill development. Despite the scarcity of resources, we have managed to create a supportive environment where disabled individuals can pursue higher education and acquire various skills.

It’s a testament to the resilience and determination of our community. As we mark International Disability Day, let’s come together to lay the foundation for a society where every person, regardless of ability, has equal opportunities to live a fulfilling life. While we celebrate our achievements, it’s crucial to acknowledge the gaps in our civil society and government’s approach to disability rights in Gilgit Baltistan.

The civil society in Gilgit Baltistan, despite its educated demographic, has not fully embraced the cause of disabled individuals. There exists a persistent mindset that tends to overlook the capabilities and potential contributions of people with disabilities. It is imperative for our civil society to undergo a paradigm shift, fostering inclusivity and actively supporting initiatives that empower the disabled community. Furthermore, the government of Gilgit Baltistan needs to reassess its priorities and allocate resources more effectively.

The occupation of the Special Education hostel by the National Accountability Bureau is a glaring example of misplaced priorities. The government should prioritize the well-being and education of disabled individuals, ensuring that the necessary infrastructure is in place to support their growth and development. , let’s use this International Disability Day as an opportunity to reflect on the progress we’ve made and the challenges that lie ahead. By criticizing and holding our civil society and government accountable, we can collectively work towards building a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

Farhan Baig

My name is Farhan Baig, and I am the President of the Gilgit-Baltistan's Goodwill Movement, a charity organization dedicated to serving people with disabilities in the picturesque region of Gilgit-Baltistan. Despite being visually impaired, I have embraced my passion for radio and work as a Radio DJ, using my voice to entertain, inform, and inspire others. Education has always been a crucial aspect of my life, and I am proud to have completed my Masters in Political Science from the prestigious Karakoram University in Gilgit. This academic achievement has provided me with a solid understanding of political systems, governance, and policies, empowering me to make a positive impact on my community. As the President of the Gilgit-Baltistan's Goodwill Movement, my primary goal is to uplift the lives of individuals with disabilities in the region. Through our charity initiatives, we strive to promote inclusivity, equal opportunities, and empowerment for those who face physical or mental challenges. By organizing events, workshops, and awareness campaigns, we aim to create a more inclusive society where everyone can thrive and contribute to their fullest potential. Personally, my journey as a visually impaired individual has allowed me to develop resilience, determination, and a unique perspective on life. I firmly believe that disabilities should never be seen as limitations but rather as opportunities for growth, innovation, and advocacy. By sharing my story and experiences, I aspire to inspire others to embrace their own capabilities and overcome any obstacles they may encounter. In addition to my work with the charity organization and my role as a Radio DJ, I actively engage in community activities. I participate in public speaking events, where I address important issues related to disability rights, social equality, and education. Through these platforms, I strive to raise awareness, challenge stereotypes, and foster a more inclusive society. My ultimate vision is to create a world where individuals with disabilities are fully integrated into society, where their rights are respected, and where their voices are heard. By combining my academic knowledge, my passion for radio, and my dedication to advocacy, I aim to make a lasting impact and improve the lives of people with disabilities in Gilgit-Baltistan. I am grateful for the opportunities and support that have shaped my journey thus far, and I remain committed to my mission of promoting goodwill, equality, and empowerment for all.

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