ISLAMABAD - A Senate body on Wednesday directed State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to address the problems of special persons they face in banks in a month.

The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights was held here under the chair of Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar.

The committee asked the government to enforce the laws legislated for disabled persons in all departments to ensure their rights. It also recommended allocating five per cent quota in educational institutions. 

The meeting on agenda considered the bill titled “The ICT Rights of Persons with Disability Bill, 2020” introduced by Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari.

The other bill on agenda was “The Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Bill 2020 introduced in the Senate by Senator Sherry Rehman.  

The meeting was attended among others by Senators Dr. Mehr Taj Roughani, Keshoo Bai, Shaheen Khalid Butt, Jahanzeb Jamaldini, Usman Khan Kakar, the secretary Human Rights, chairman FBISE, Executive Director State Bank of Pakistan, representatives of people with disabilities.

Before considering the bill clause by clause, the Senate panel heard the people with disabilities as to what the existing problems are and how they can be resolved.

Personal with disabilities communicated their problems in sign language which was translated through interpreter.

Disabled people informed the committee that number of banks refused to open their accounts in banks in discriminatory way that they were not citizens of this country.

They also regretted that there was no interpreter in bank which could interpret their message in the banks and they were also deprived of ATM and loan facilities.

They also claimed that orders issued by the government were also not being implemented by the banks, while visually impaired individuals were also deprived of availing vehicle from banks.

Director SBP Samar Hassan assured the committee that state bank would schedule a visit to bank branches from July 1. The bank official said that the SBP would comprehensively examine that which bank has not provided the facility for disabled persons.

The committee chairman Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar expressing concerns on the situation directed the SBP to ensure provision of all facilities to disabled persons in banks.

The committee was told by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) that commercial banks were being directed to ensure talking ATM machines and international standard ramps for facilitating these people.

The panel directed the SBP to hold stakeholders’ conference on the issues for disabled people in a month’s time and conduct annual accessibility audit/evaluation regarding the services for them in 3 months’ time and come up with their findings

Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights in its meeting reviewed in detail the ICT Rights of People with Disability Bill, 2020 introduced in Senate by the government after passage from the National Assembly.

In addition to minor amendments in definition and in syntax in Part I, amendments were made in Section 9(4) Section 10(3), Section 12(4) (5) (6) (7), Section 14(1), Section 14(3), Section 15(5), Section 19(1), Section 19(3), Section 19(7) of Part II of the bill. Part III and IV will be discussed in the next meeting of the committee.

The committee was assured by the FBISE that the recommendations of the Senate body regarding providing writers and assistants to disabled people during exams, provision of braille, specially designed tests, and others will be taken to the board of governors and these people would be facilitated.

Similarly, representatives of the PIA and commercial airlines also assured the committee that people with disabilities would be facilitated as much as is possible and any complaints can be directed to their toll free numbers.