LAHORE - Like other parts of the world, International Day of Persons with Disabilities was observed in Pakistan on Sunday. Only 0.48 percent of the disabled persons are registered in Pakistan , according to the 6th Population and Housing Census 2017.

Each year the day is observed on December 3 and the annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly. The day aims to promote rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted in 2006. The agenda was recently included in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development whose slogan is pledges to “leave no one behind”. Theme of the day this year is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”.

Disabled persons have been proving their mettle in every field. Salman Siddiqui, who is visually impaired, believes in self-confidence and strong willpower. He is currently doing his M.Phill in Mass Communication from the University of Central Punjab. He recently got a job in the parliament as a social media assistant. “Can you imagine that content for the Twitter account of the parliament is being generated by a visually-impaired man? Now our society needs to understand that disabled persons are equally participating and contributing to betterment of Pakistan ,” Salman told this scribe.

He said on the international disability day he would like to convey to people that it was not appropriate to call vision-impaired people disabled people. “Try to change your perceptions about displaced persons , do not hesitate to talk to them, be friendly and allow them to prove their best at all levels,” he said.

In his message to disabled persons , he said, “Don't let your deficiency overwhelm you and try to be independent, respectful, motivated and self-reliant.”

There are different kinds of disabled persons , including visually impaired persons (VIPS), visually impaired children, mentally challenged children, hearing impaired children, physically disabled children and slow learner children.

According to The Pakistan Society for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled (PSRD), 16-year-old Muhammad Ali lives in Lahore and has no siblings. He got a speech therapy at PSRD. He had been going through a speech problem and low self-esteem few years ago, but now after getting speech therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, he has managed to overcome the odds in his life.

He said he had gone through a major change in ‘self esteem’ and become more confident. According to PSRD, Ali had an excellent academic record with his interest in science.

According to the Social Welfare Department Annual Report 2016, 73 children got training at the Nasheman Training Centre for Physically Disabled Children and 41 children were treated at the Treatment, Training and Rehabilitation Center for the Mentally Retarded Children (Chaman) in 2016.

According to the Special Education Department of the Punjab Government, the department had provided 152 laptops to special students from first year to 4th year of two degree colleges and provided 1902 solar energy panels to students with disabilities.

Salman Siddiqui urged the government to provide maximum faculties to disabled persons .