PESHAWAR -  The upcoming census would not provide information regarding exact count of special persons in the country as well as nature of disabilities prevailing among the citizens as there is no column in the forms finalised for the countrywide exercise.

In absence of data regarding the special persons, the government would not be able to initiate effective measures for their rehabilitation.

The form issued for the upcoming census has no category to ascertain the number of disable individuals, their nature and causes of disability, which has caused severe disappointment among the disabled people. The special persons expected that the government would gather data regarding disabilities in the country and would launch various programmes for their uplift.

Engineer Irfan, General Secretary Friends of Paraplegic (FOP), an association of the disable persons in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), told The Nation that despite several requests and applications to human rights authorities and judges of the apex court, their demand had not been taken seriously regarding inclusion of disability nature in the first survey form while the officials of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics were also not serious to count the exact number of disables and their causes of disability.

He said disabled persons get their disable certificate in five hectic stages as first they have go to social welfare department, then to police line hospital for medical check up, then to technical training centre, then to the blind school, after which they could get national identity card with a mention to their disability.

He said if the exact number of disable persons was not identified in the upcoming census then it would be hard for them to get their due rights in the future.

President Special Persons Development Association (SPDA) KP Ihsan Dawoodzi said it was regrettable that 13 per cent population of the country was being ignored in population census to be held after 20 years long period. He said World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared that 13 per cent population of the country was disabled but unfortunately no steps had been taken for their rehabilitation and uplift.

He said they had submitted a petition in Supreme Court to include disable persons in the upcoming population census. He said Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and population welfare department must include the recommendations of provincial council for the rehabilitation of disable persons (PCRDP).

When asked, KP Census Commissioner Mumtaz Ali Khan about exclusion of disabled persons from the ongoing census, he said the process was going to start upon repeated orders of Supreme Court and they were now in a hast to complete the overall arrangements. He said they were not able to include survey of disabled persons and the form 2A might be included in next stage if allowed by the high-ups. 

It looks likely government and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics were reluctant to hold the census in an organised manner, but it was Supreme Court’s order that the government agreed to carry out this important exercise.

It is pertinent to mentioned here that the ongoing census which would start by March 15 would have 91,000 enumerators and would cost Rs14 billion.

The whole exercise would be completed in 70 days period which are enough to include the disabled persons and collect their data but unfortunately Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and other relevant authorities seem to be just fulfilling the formality to abide by the orders of the Supreme Court.