KHAIRPUR  -  A daylong seminar was organised for special person in Khairpur district by the Marvi Rural Development Organization (MRDO) with the support of DAI-Tabeer at a local hotel on Wednesday. Speaking on the occasion, Ali Ansar Sandu the representatives from disable community said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was supposed to take various measures to ensure the participation of the Persons with disabilities (PWDs) in elections, including collecting their data, registering them as voters and making polling stations the PWD friendly but it could not even collect the data and register them to cast ballots.

He said postal balloting initiated for them is a move of exclusion rather than including them in the process. He requested the ECP to make this vote casting process more accessible for differently-abled voters. The ECP should offer more alternative voting methods for person with disabilities, like advance voting or early voting, voting from home, transport assistance or mobile polling station concept, he added. They should also examine the feasibility of allowing persons with disabilities to vote before general voting hours so as to save them the trouble of having to queue up, Sandu said.

 Disable persons stated that they are also being denied their right to political participation, very few PWDs friends have joined political parties as workers even lesser number of PWDs holds any office within any major political parties.

Hardly any example can be found of PWDs contesting elections. Much of this stems from the way they are excluded from social and political processes.

They urged the government as well as political parties to pass a bylaw for the electoral rights of the people with disabilities (PWDs) including them in the national mainstream and provide them with a supportive environment to cast their votes.

Within the session it was discussed that the relevant authorities should allocate special seats for the PWDs in national, provincial and local government system, so as to enable political participation of the PWDs and explore possible ways this can be done.

MRDO Programme Manager Salman Ali said that Pakistan is a signatory and has also ratified the United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). He said that the accessible polling stations for the PWDs is a crucial first step to bring persons with disabilities towards mainstream electoral processes.

He said the ECP has allowed persons living with disabilities to vote through postal ballot but it’s a tedious and difficult process and has a drawback of denying the PWDs the option of going out to cast their vote.

“Firstly, it’s hard to get ballot paper for them then it will reach to the ECP after few days when the results are out. Don’t know whether they will be counted or not. This process limits PWDs at homes rather than encouraging their active participation in polls,” he added.

Large numbers of special persons participated within this said event. The manager expressed a dire need to make Pakistan’s electoral processes more inclusive and accessible for persons with disabilities.

PROTESTS

The Shah Abdul Latif University Teachers’ Association (SALUTA), Khairpur on Wednesday carried out a protest rally against illegal appointment of registrar and victimisation of teachers.

SALUTA President Prof Dr Ameer Ali Chandio while addressing the protest said that our teaching community faces revenging and biased attitude of administration because we have been protesting against corruption.

He further condemned the victimisation of teaching community and urged the administration to consume their time and energy to eradicate roots of corruption rather than to revenge upon the community.

SALUTA General Secretary Prof Dr Ghulam Ali said that the vice chancellor is victimising the teaching community through illegally appointed registrar. He also criticised the negative attitude of administration which compelled the teaching community to hold such protests.

He further condemned victimisation of teachers, specially, syndicate member Assistant Professor Ishrat Ali who has been continuously targeted for raising voice against corruption.

Meanwhile, Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur spokesperson has rejected the false allegations levelled by a group of teachers against the university authorities in a protest rally carried out on Wednesday.

He said that the rally in favour of a single teacher, who is involved in gross violation of university code and is issued explanation for his misconduct, is nothing but a pressurising tactic to save him.

All this is being done while misusing the name and sanctity of the SALUTA. The elected body of the SALUTA has time and again rejected the fake news printed in media by these hand full teachers who are bent upon maligning the name and sanctity of the teaching community as well as the university.

The spokesperson added that this frustrated group is afraid of various enquiries of corruption, mal practice, in research work and violation of rules in their promotions.

They are working illegally in other departments while ignoring their parent departments. When the vice chancellor took serious notice of this gross misconduct these teachers have initiated a series of campaign against the vice chancellor and its team to save their own skins.

However, the teaching community under the banner of elected SALUTA stands united with the vice chancellor.

The spokesperson further added that under the visionary leadership of Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Parveen Shah, the university smoothly sails toward academic excellence and initiatives like housing scheme for employees, availability of potable water in the campus after 40 years, opening of new departments, improvement in research quality and provision of maximum facility to students have been achieved by the vice chancellor.