Draft: (Proposed draft of Pakistan Disability Act 2014 lacks enforcement mechanism)

ISLAMABAD: Over a month has passed since the incident of police brutality against the blind but both federal and provincial governments have not taken meaningful steps to protect and promote rights of persons with disabilities.

Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) in a statement here on Thursday said that Pakistan has yet to enact laws at federal and provincial levels to protect rights of the disabled keeping their special needs into consideration. In the absence of law to protect their rights, persons with disabilities have to face discriminatory and degrading treatment as students, teachers, and employees and in all spheres of life.

What is even worrying is that the federal and provincial and governments are going to enact disability laws which will look good on paper but will not bring about any qualitative change in protecting rights of the disabled.

Pakistan Disability Act 2015, developed in consultation with World Health Organization, (WHO) and which is under consideration of federal and provincial governments for enactment lack enforcement mechanism will largely remain ceremonious if not improved.

The statement said that the CPDI has grave concerns about the utility of this law in protecting and promoting rights of persons with disabilities. In the name of rehabilitating persons with disabilities, Councils at federal and provincial level will be created with powers only to make recommendations which not be binding on public bodies.

CPDI suggested that the law to protect rights of the disabled should contain list of rights that are not resource dependant or require less resources and such a list should be developed after consultation with organizations of persons with disabilities.

The proposed Councils should be empowered to impose penalty on officials for not getting these rights implemented. Furthermore, the proposed Council is vested with executive authority but it has not been elaborated upon.

CPDI said that it believes that the proposed Council for the rehabilitation of disabled persons should be given powers of civil court so that it could get data from public bodies pertaining to the issues of the disabled. Deputy Chairperson of The proposed Council will be a disabled person but the process of the nomination of the disabled person has not been elaborated in the law.

CPDI demanded the federal and provincial governments to strengthen the role of the Councils so that the rights of persons with disabilities could be protected.
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