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 Government must take serious action to ensure the participation of persons with disabilities in the electoral process: CPDI

 QUETTA: Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), Islamabad organized a round-table conference with the disabled persons and their organizations where the issues of disables and their solutions were discussed in detail. During the discussions following demands were made and were unanimously agreed that government needs to take some concrete steps towards the resolution of their issues.

Government should Ensure that PWDs population data is correct. Hold special surveys or include disability related questions in already planned surveys and count each and every person with disability living in the province. They also demanded to Simplify the process of acquiring disability certificate and the special NIC through one window mobile certification and registration mechanism in every district. Polling stations must be accessible ensuring firm and obstacle free pathways leading to the polling area, wide doorways, proper low slope ramps and lighting. The Sensitized staff must be in placed in context to special needs of PWDs at polling stations as well as other offices.

They further demanded that Procedures of voting should be designed in such a way to be accessible to every category of disability including use of brail and sign language etc. Respect of privacy to vote for PWDs should be ensured by making arrangements to ensure that they can cast their vote by themselves without any help. The procedure to contest must be accessible (Such as forms and other procedures), moreover, all electoral material must also be accessible through brail, electronic means and sign language. Through legal framework and exemplary political decision-making encourage and bound the political parties to establish and activate disability wings.

In Charter of demand it was also demanded to specify Quota for PWDs in every level of elections, it should be fixed and implemented specially in the local government as there are reserved seats for minorities, workers, peasants, women and youth. Postal ballot process should be easy for PWDs, holder of the special CNIC should get the postal ballot immediately without any further procedures and verifications, moreover it should also be ensured that all PWDs must get easy and free access to education that puts special emphasis on their democratic rights and civic responsibilities. At the end of the event it was also demanded to Ensure Effective implementation on Balochistan Persons with Disabilities’ Act 2017 by making its rules and establishing committees required under this law.

Participants of the meeting appreciated the efforts of CPDI for providing the plate form where they can raise their voice and demands.

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Published in The Balochistan Point on April 28, 2019

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