What measures are taken by the Government of Gilgit Baltistan for its persons with disablities?

What measures are taken by the Government of Gilgit Baltistan for its persons with disablities?

Gilgit Baltistan, the hub of tourism in Pakistan, faces an ethical dilemma. Its mountains and views are breathtaking, and its people are peace-loving, but the issue for its persons with disablities is very tragic. Persons with disablities , ‘ special persons’, are socially excluded from society or from family. If they are fortunate and the family does support them, then they are only educated to the primary level, rending them of further educational opportunities. If a PWD has to be educated, they must go down south to other provinces which aren’t affordable for everyone. On top of that, there is no hostel facility for persons with disablities. Rending disabled children who live outside of Gilgit, are excluded as the National Accountability Bureau, has taken over their building which is unethical on many levels.

If one disabled person passes through such hurdles, there are more hurdles rendering their employability chances. Therefore, special person organizations lobbied the Gilgit-Baltistan Provisonal Government to pass the Gilgit-Baltistan Persons with Disabilities Act, 2019. Regarding the act, article 10, subclause 3, states ‘The government shall reserve a quota of 03 % (three percent) against total sanctioned strength at various levels for the Persons with Disabilities in the government departments, institutions, entities, and corporate entities owned and managed by the government. The government shall also impress upon the Gilgit-Baltistan legislature and local bodies to include such measures in their laws and practices ‘. While it has been explicitly defined, there is no significant evidence that this act has changed the lives of persons with disablities in Gilgit Baltistan.

In Pakistan, regrettably, moral corruption links with disability rights. The same goes in Gilgit Baltistan. For instance, if a disabled person successfully gains employment under the quota, the disabled person is not preferred unless they are associated with high officials working in the bureaucracy. Moral corruption is more damaging to society than political corruption. Moreover, these chosen disabled individuals have often been found with minor disablities, or they are abled persons with fake disabled certificates.

One counter-argument that the PTI government can make is that under their reign, the federal government approved a rehabilitation center for persons with disablities. Gilgit Baltistan’s Goodwill Movement welcomes it, and we have said, ‘We want to thank the Federal Government for their efforts for persons with disablities in GB.’ However, GB GWM reminds the provisional government that this might not benefit the disabled community who are fit for employment, as these individuals would be in adulthood or would be of an age where they have a family and thus need employment. GB GWM is working on such training, free of cost but there is no support or even acknowledgment from provincial government ministers or the Chief Minister. The rehabilitation centre(s) proposal in Gilgit Baltistan should have been done a lot earlier as we believe that earlier generations will miss out on such opportunities.

GB GWM requests the government to think on these terms and requests the provincial government to address these issues while a rehabilitation center is being built.

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