Stories of the Resilient- Abdul Hakeem

I Hakeem, hail from Oshikhandas which is a remote village at the end of Mohammadabad. My story is a little bit different than others. I joined the Pakistan Army right after completing Matriculation and getting married. This was around the time of Kargil War 1999. I was present at the battlefield and a bullet shot by an Indian soldier made me paralyzed for the rest of my life. After a spinal cord injury, I had to leave the army and was shifted to a hospital, where I stayed for three to four months. It is important to mention that even today after 24 years I receive support from the Army.

Initially, I thought I’ll be back on my feet within no time but when the doctors started giving me training sessions only then it really hit me. Never in a million years would I have ever imagined I would end up being a wheelchair user for the rest of my life. But I had to accept my reality sooner or later, I was a quick learner during the training sessions and in a short span of time I learned to do things on my own.

My family wasn’t aware of my accident as I wasn’t ready to break this news to them, but someone went behind my back and told my family about the accident. After training sessions, I was shifted to home and stayed there for two years during which a lot changed. I did my daily routine tasks but one thing which I couldn’t do was to move around or to travel, which for me was a problem. In my visit to Rawalpindi, for my check up when I saw this three-wheelchair motorcycle, I realized this will help me to move around.

Once back to Gilgit, this workshop owner modified a motorcycle according to my needs and then I started to flap my wings again. Gradually other PWDs took inspiration from me and started using modified vehicles in their daily life. Later on, I bought an automatic car and modified it myself to accommodate my needs which I drive around easily.

Prior joining to GBGM, I met Farhan at a protest for the rights of PWDs. One day Farhan called and requested me to join GBGM. My motivation to work with GBGM is not confined to the fact that I have a disability but also PWDs is a marginalized community in our society. It is my personal experience that if you have materialistic possessions, people will see you beyond your disability and if you have no assets as such, you do not exist in this society. It is a harsh truth to accept but it is what it is, though you can disagree with me which you are free to do so but this is what I have experienced personally.

I am blessed to have an understanding and caring family because they were not and are not overprotective or overindulging. They gave me freedom to do things for myself. It is very important to give freedom to PWDs, because overprotectiveness leads to PWDs thinking they are good for nothing.

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