The phrase, “Survival of the fittest”, we hear commonly in Political discourse and Wildlife. To witness the real picture or in fact implementation of this doctrine, Pakistan, unfortunately, provides an ideal connotation.

Specifically when it comes to the rights of underprivileged and disadvantaged sections of society, there is absolute disparity across all ends of the country.

The segment of society that has power both; economically and socially is assumed to be the fittest whereas the segment with the minimal powers both; socially and economically is the most ignored and marginalized of them all.

This concept is prevailing by far in our society and is changing the social understanding of this phrase. And why not? The system is encouraging this and it is has now become the mindset of our society. This concept is flourished due to uneven policies by the fittest.

One of the factor or I should say the main factor is that the state does not provide equal opportunities of rights and employment to all segments of society. Especially, when it comes to the people with disability, they are not even considered as the productive part for the society let alone an asset.

The constitution of Pakistan guarantees the basic rights to all the segments, however, when it comes to their application, they are not seen anywhere. They are in fact called Special People by these so called ‘Normal’ People. All these marginalized and special factions of society are not given basic rights and as a result instead of becoming a major asset, they rather become a liability for the society.

It is said that disabled people are around 7 to 15% of the total population but this is just an assumption. Still, this percentage is a considerable portion of the population and is devoid of its rights.

Since the birth of Pakistan, these factions are ignored. After the 1973 constitution, the basic rights are given and individual quota of jobs to these sections was introduced but by large, it is not being practiced.

The quota initially was 2% and is increased to 3%. Same is the case with this present government. It is just focusing towards mega development projects as they are visible and can acclaim the tag of vibrant and emerging economy but they have no focus over the human development.

The United Nation’s National Human Development Report for Pakistan (PKNHDR) is yet to be published and is worked upon. The focus of this forth coming document is on youth which is around 64% of the population but there is no considerable mention of the disabled youth in this report.

It could be said with confidence that the development of people with disabilities is something that could not be found in the priority list of PML-N government and it is predicted that the next elected government after the 2018 elections would be following the same foot prints as far as the development of disabled people is concerned.

Nonetheless, Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (PTI), the Party that is expected to be the Government in waiting, has not even done respective mentionable progress in their province of authority. Reviewing their Integrated Development Strategy (2014 - 2018), apparently it can be drawn that no substantive work has been done.

This really is disappointing and it shows the mentality of our main stream political elite across the party line that development and encouragement of disabled people is out of their books. Even in the election campaigns, every party encourages and appeals to different sections of society like women, poor, youth etc. but hardly had they promoted and called the disabled community to come out and vote for them. This immensely ignorant attitude from the country runners is unacceptable.

This overall behavior and mindset of our State towards this particular community is far from miserable and as an inspirational negligence from them, the very same attitude is now being seen from the people towards them.

This attitude does not only generate resentment among these distributed communities but in fact, demoralize them. The sentiments and feelings of deprivation and destitution is created among them. This thing leads to create a great vacuum that needs to be filled on urgent basis.

The State must take the lead in creating an awareness within the people to develop an environment of harmony and sensitization about this community with special needs. Different Non-governmental Organizations and civil society activists are working on creating this awareness but their level of public reach is minimum or limited.

Their voice could not get access to the majority of the population. This overall attitude needs to be changed first by the State and only then it would eventually be reflected across the masses. The treatment that disabled people are getting, sometimes reach to the level of humiliation when their ego and self-respect is hammered by the society.

They are not to be blamed primarily for this treatment as they are mostly not educated and sensitized regarding these matters. It is the state that has its primary responsibility over this ignorant and merciless attitude and mindset.

The state must realize this and should further launch a huge awareness campaign to educate people regarding these issues. They should prioritize the development of this particular section of our society and should focus on their relief and rehabilitation. Initially, the acceptability of them at the state level followed by an awareness among the people, must begin. This could be done when they would be integrated in the society and are given their rights equal to a Normal Person.

 

The writer is a Special Mentor with STEP and Member of Pakistan Disability Task Force.