President Asif Ali Zardari has urged the international community to help the developing countries in removing the myriad barriers in meeting Millennium Development Goals with the active participation of special persons. On the occasion of International Day of Disabled Persons to be observed on December 3, the President assured the special people that the government was committed to taking measures to meet their special needs. He said that the observance of International Day of the Persons with Disabilities was an occasion to pay tribute to those men and women of courage, who despite their physical, mental or any other disability were fighting the battle of life, with or without any support.

“It is also an occasion to reiterate our moral, social and religious obligation to continue working for creation of an enabling environment which takes into account the special needs of the special persons.”

“Today we need to pause and ponder over the problems of the special people and look for best solutions to solve them,” he added.

The President said for a developing country like Pakistan the initial aim must be to achieve the same standards that exist in other civilized nations for addressing the problems of the special people.

“The theme of this year “removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all” calls for greater efforts to integrate the people with special needs in the productive and mainstream of societies and harness their potential in achieving national development goals.

“It reminds us that the societies should be structured in a way that they not only meet the needs of special people, but also engage them in the task of national development by removing all visible and invisible barriers that continue to hinder their progress.

“We need to revitalize efforts for providing equal opportunities to all, including persons with disabilities both in the pubic and private sector,” he stressed.

The problems of special people are compounded by the lack of policy and legislative measures and infrastructural support, he said and added that the  society must be sensitive to the special needs of special people and take concrete measures to meet those needs.

He said that it was a measure of the government’s commitment to address the issues of special people that in July last year it ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

“Under the umbrella of UN, the Government of Pakistan is striving hard to provide quality services to this important segment of society.”

President Zardari expressed confidence that the provincial governments upon whom the responsibility of special persons has devolved as a result of the Eighteenth Amendment, are also taking appropriate measures to address the issues confronting the special people.

“On this International day, I also call upon the government institutions, civil society, philanthropists, and indeed every citizen, to make concerted efforts for active participation of special persons in the national life,” the President concluded.