Another year, another protest by visually impaired persons

LAHORE: Dozens of Visually Impaired Persons from various cities of Punjab yesterday staged a sit-in in front of Lahore Press Club to raise their demands on implementation of three percent blind quota on government jobs.

Visually Impaired Persons took to the streets after series of sit-ins and protests in the past including December 3, 2016, March 2, 2015, April 13, 2015, June 8, 2015, January 11, 2016 and August 1 2016.

They chanted slogans against Punjab Government and asked the authorities concerned to look into the manner. They alleged Punjab Social Welfare Department has asked Police to harass the protesters.  

Muhammad Asif, 25, hails from district Attock said Punjab government misleads us on implementation of 3 percent blind quota. It should be implemented in true and letter spirit. Protesters demand blind daily wagers should be allotted permanent seats.

Ayesha Usman, despite good education she can’t get a job just because she is a blind girl. “I need a job and government should show mercy on us,” Ayesha said.

We have been waiting for this day for months as 3rd December was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Only 0.48 percent of the disabled persons are registered in Pakistan, according to the 6th Population and Housing Census 2017.

Shoaib Hussain, Rawalpindi, 21 told the nation it is illogical that an educated blind person can’t be educator on government job. “If our people are getting education then government must look into it and lift the ban on educator’s job of blind persons,” Shoaib said.

Hafiz Yasir said Punjab government mislead on issuing of khidmat card to 88,000 blind people. According to government scheme blind persons will get Rs 1200 monthly.  Hafiz Yasir asked authorities concerned “I can’t see because I got no eyes but can’t they (government) see how anyone can run his or her households in Rs 40 daily when you got no job security as well. We demand to increase this money up to Rs 25000. Is this Islamic Republic of Pakistan? Hafiz questioned.

Protesters claimed police special branch disrupted their stay last night at Royal Hotel near Railway Station and subsequently they arrived directly at Lahore Press Club around 11 pm and stayed on the road under the open sky with harsh weather.

Sarfraz Ahmed, who hails from Faisalabad said governments in the world, tends to provide faculties to their citizens but in Pakistan we have been deprived of our fundamental rights and there must be equal opportunities for the persons with the disabilities.

As the visually impaired sit-in became the talk of the town, members of the Anjuman-e-Hoquq Mazuran came and joined the protest and vowed to continue the struggle for rights jointly.  

Muhammad Fayyaz, protester said blind people are contributing in the betterment of the Pakistan and there is a lot of potential among them. “Visually Impaired people have been attaining the government top slot as Faisal Majeed from Jhang became first visually impaired District Management Group (DMG) officer after passing Central Superior Services (CSS) examinations.

“It seems the struggle is not end yet as Faisal after clearing his CSS exam refused to sit in the DMG group but he prayed to court and got his right to be member of DMG group,” Muhammad Fayyaz said.   

The sit-in was continued till filling of this report.

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