‘Disabled persons to be counted in 2nd phase of census’

‘Disabled persons to be counted in 2nd phase of census’

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court was informed on Friday that disabled persons would be counted separately in the second phase of the ongoing census.

Pakistan Bureau of Statistics further assured a two-member bench that special persons would not be left out of the census. A survey would be conducted in the second phase to count disabled persons along with details of their disabilities at district level.

The bench was hearing the petition seeking directions for the relevant authorities to count disabled persons separately. The hearing was put off till March 24.

Imran Shehzad, Pakistan Association of the Blind's General Secretary Muhammad Hussain and others had petitioned the high court against the federal and provincial authorities over absence of a separate box in the census form to count disabled persons.

Earlier, the judges had expressed concern over the absence of a column to count special persons separately and observed that it was crucial to add a separate box for disabled persons.

It would not be construed as negligence on the part of the authorities concerned to ignore disabled persons, but as usurping special persons' rights, observed one member of the bench.

The petitioners submitted that the column for special persons was not incorporated in the form of the census which was going to be conducted after a gap of 19 years. Therefore, it the exact number of disabled persons living in the country would never be known, which would lead to trampling of their rights.

According to the reports of an international organization, around 10 percent of the total population of the under-developed countries constituted disabled person, petitioner Muhammad Hussain said adding that terrorist activities particularly in Pakistan had add to the proportion of special persons.

The petitioners pleaded the court to issue directives for the authorities to add a separate column for disabled persons to count them.