LAHORE - The visually-impaired persons   Wednesday put off their protest till the end of British royal couple’s visit.

The special people, working in government department on a contract basis, have been staging a sit-in on The Mall for, what they called, turning a blind eye to their demand for job regularisation and payment of outstanding dues.

Muhammad Bilal, a protester said: “We are patriots and do not want to give negative image to the royal couple visit. We are putting the protest till the royal visit. We will come back if our demands are not met.”

Feeling for the special people, the HRCP urged the Punjab government to resolve the issue at the earliest. The protestors claimed that, in April, Punjab Minister for Law promised regularization of their jobs and clearance of outstanding dues at the earliest.  “This pledge has evidently not been honoured and the HRCP urges the government to take prompt action to resolve the protestors’ legitimate demands. Having ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the state is legally bound to address the concerns of PLWDs across the country, the HRCP said.

On behalf of the government, MPA Nazir Chohan held talks with the protesters and assures them of addressing their concerns.

A couple of years ago, the visually-impaired people took to the streets. On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, police ‘demonstrated their skills’ of baring the differently abled protesters from marching to the CM Secretariat on 7-Club Road.

They resorted to marching towards CM office because authorities turned a blind eye to their daylong sit-in front of the Lahore Press Club. The judiciary was moved and opposition parties showed up on streets to cash in on the situation. The exploiters vanished from the scene thereafter, leaving the blind in a blind alley. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed his anger at police mishandling and asked the CM to take action.

The blind however were shown some light on December 5 when Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif met their delegation, led by Pakistan Association of the Blind General Secretary Aamir Ashraf.

A handout cited the chief minister as saying: “Blind persons deserved special attention. I was on a visit to Qatar when this incident took place but as soon as I got informed, he took immediate notice and ordered action against the persons responsible for this tragic incident. I am deeply grieved and want to apologise on behalf of administration and police. Such a sad incident should not have happened. It was responsibility of concerned ministers, secretaries, administration and police officers to take all possible steps to avoid such an incident.”