Peshawar: The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) in collaboration with Handicap International organised a function to mark the ‘International Day for persons with Desabilities’ at the Nishtar Hall in Peshawar. The day was observed with the theme of ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all. Secretary Relief, Rehabilitation and Settlement Department Zahir Shah was the chief guest on the occasion.
A large number of special persons, students from the Social Welfare Department, University of Peshawar, Humanitarian organisations, and representatives of civil society and others attended the event.
Addressing the participants, Secretary Relief, Rehabilitation & Settlement Department Zahir Shah said that as government representative he believed that persons with disabilities must be recognized as equal partners and be consulted by state actors, non-governmental other stakeholders in all developmental and non-developmental work.
“The effects of climate change, including natural disasters, food insecurity, conflict, and refugee situations, make persons with disabilities disproportionately affected. During such emergency situations, persons with disabilities experience increased challenges with separation from family, loss of assistive and mobility devices, and barriers to accessing information,” he added.
He said the government and non-governmental actors working around disability needed to closely coordinate and collaborate to reach the shared objectives.
The official said that bringing persons with disabilities explicitly into mainstream development discourse would not only benefit us but it would also enable the Pakistan to realize that there was immense untapped potential to transform the country into a better place for all people.
PDMA Director General Muhammad Khalid said that it was the responsibility of every member of the society to respect the disabled.
“They are like normal human beings. The difference lies only in the fact that they require special care and affection in order to bring smiles on their faces,” he said.
The PDMA DG said that the authority recognized these needs and was committed to including persons with disabilities in its work and response.
He said that the authority worked in collaboration with the organisations working for this vulnerable group.
He added the authority had organised the event to celebrate National Disability Day to sensitise the government officials and people in general about the issue of disability.