ISLAMABAD: Media has an important role to foster inclusive culture for people with disabilities in Pakistan, said Minister of State for Information on Tuesday.
“MNAs Tahira Aurangzeb, Kishwar Zehra and Shaista Pervez Malik are actively engaged in continuing the process of legislation for persons with disabilities in the parliament,” she said while speaking as a chief guest at “Hazrat Khadija Tul Kubra Awards on prodigious contribution for empowerment of women with disabilities in Pakistan” at a local hotel.
The minister said that in regards to legislative measures consultations would be held with the concerned stakeholders and all kinds of disabilities like visual impairment, physical disability, mental illness, deafness and dumbness would be covered.
The federal and provincial governments and parliament were focused on introducing and implementing inclusive legislation for persons with disabilities, the minister said.
She said that the onus of necessary legislation rested with the government but for the implementation of those laws the civil society, media, NGOs and other stakeholders had a great responsibility.
She said that to achieve that objective, awareness of the society and positive role by all the stakeholders was absolutely necessity.
Marriyum said that only the establishment of special schools was not enough and providing opportunities to the disabled persons in every sphere of life was also one of the top priorities of the government. She said that the parents had a key role in encouraging and making the disabled children useful citizens.
“Due attention should also be paid to include this subject in the curricula of the schools to create awareness,” she said.
She said that Pakistan was the only country whose parliament had established SDGS secretariat to achieve its targets which came into being due to the personal interest of the speaker national Assembly Ayaz Sadiq and was playing an active role. She said that similarly the SDGS task forces were working at the provincial levels.
Marriyum said that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) had a concept of “leaving no one behind” which was meant to take care of the vulnerable groups and those under the poverty line.
She said that for creating awareness in the society and changing behaviors and attitudes, a collective effort was needed, more so by the media.
She said that the parents would have to be discouraged from concealing the disabilities of their children from the society.
The minister informed the audience that she herself suffered disability and was on the wheel chair between the age of three to fourteen years and her parents faced the situation courageously and encouraged her to move forward with determination and aplomb.
She said that when her mother became member of the parliament she strived to have necessary legislation done for the disabled children because she had a disabled child in her own home.
The minister said that due to the efforts of PEMRA all the TV channels were telecasting 10% content on social messages and campaigns on social issues.
Marriyum said that under the Prime Minister’s Education Reforms Programme, the content regarding education and training for special children has been included in the courses designed for capacity building of the teachers.
She said that the government had done its duty to facilitate the disabled children and would continue to do so in the future as well adding that the state, parliament and provinces should make collective efforts to make the disabled children useful citizens of the country.
Secretary Caucus MNA Shaista Pervez Malik, UN country director for women Jamshed Qazi, UN Director for Women and other also spoke on the occasion. Twenty one disabled children were given awards during the ceremony.