Gilgit Baltistan: Parents call out National Accountancy Bureau for occupying Special Education Centre
Contrary to other minority provinces in Pakistan, Gilgit Baltistan still struggles to have the rights of children with disabilities recognized. Although the government has tabled a “Gilgit Baltistan Persons with Disability Act 2018”, the document has not yet been passed by the Assembly. Meanwhile, the occupation of the only facility in Gilgit for children with disabilities by the National Accountability Bureau has sparked parents’ outrage.
The article below was published by India Today:
Pakistan's National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has occupied half of the premises of the Special Education Centre, sparking anger among local residents and parents of the children with disabilities lodged in its hostel. NAB recently opened its sub-office in Gilgit, taking control of the premises which has inconvenienced the children.
Parents call it violation of basic rights of Gilgit Baltistan's children. Local residents and parents call it a clear case of excesses and violation of basic rights of Gilgit Baltistan's children with disabilities.
"Parents have made a lot of efforts to get it vacated, but have failed. Many children from far-flung areas come here for studies and they need hostel for stay. If NAB has occupied the premises, where will they go? The children from 8 districts are suffering a lot," he added.
The centre houses the only hostel for people with disabilities in Gilgit Baltistan which NAB is not agreeing to vacate despite several requests from the parents of the children and the local population.
"The building is good, but unfortunately NAB has occupied half of its premises. The children are suffering especially those who have come from far-flung areas. We appeal to the government to get NAB to vacate it so that children do not suffer," one of the parents said.
Gilgit Baltistan is part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir which remains under Pakistan's occupation since 1947. The region lacks any laws to protect the rights of people with disabilities.
"In Gilgit Baltistan, the rights for disabled persons are adequate. In Pakistan, there is the 1981 Rehabilitation Act for Disabled Persons. There are disability Acts in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”
Photo courtesy of ANI