In 2013, when I was working with Mr. Kamran Sheikh, we had filed a petition before the SC under Art 184(3) of the Constitution on behalf of Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) Network seeking enforcement of the fundamental rights of persons with disabilities in #Pakistan
The petition was drafted in People-First Language & sought interpretation of constitutional rights in the context of disability, relying on the rights-based approach enunciated in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (Ratified by Pakistan in 2011)
The petition raised no. of issues faced by persons w/ disabilities (PWDs), including lack of accessibile buildings, public places, educational & transport facilities, non-enforcement of employment quotas, paucity of comprehensive official data regarding prevalence of disability
During past 7 years the SC passed several directions pertaining to the issues raised in the petition, including directions for enforcement of statutory employment quotas for PWDs & for carrying out a comprehensive countrywide disability survey (by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics)
On 14.07.20 the petition was finally disposed of with the following directions:

1. All vacant posts in the employment quota of the Fed & Provincial govts shall be advertised & filled

2. Laws (from 1981 onwards) related to employment & rehabilitation of PWDs shall be implemented
3. The Federal govt & all Provincial govts shall ensure the establishment of grievance redressal mechanisms to redress grievances of PWDs

4. The Federal & Provincial govts, PEMRA, PTV, PBS and PBA shall raise awareness about the rights of PWDs through public service broadcasts
5. The Federal & Provincial govts and all development authorities throughout Pakistan shall ensure the enforcement of the Accessibility Code of Pakistan, 2006 (which provides comprehensive building standards for ensuring a barrier-free environment & safe and easy access for PWDs)
6. All road transport authorities shall ensure that public transport is made accessible for PWDs

7. All transport & development authorities shall provide accessible toilets and ramps at bus stands/stations, motorways & highways, and safe facilities for boarding of buses by PWDs
8. Pakistan Railways shall provide proper ramps and accessible toilets at all train stations and safe and reliable facilities for boarding of trains by PWDs
9. All concerned authorities & agencies at the Federal & Provincial levels shall ensure the availability of the following for persons w/ disabilities:

(i) accessible parkings, toilets & ramps at all public parks

(ii) Accessible toilets & ramps in all malls & other public places
10. All development authorities shall ensure enforcement of PWDs' qoutas in allotment of residential plots & houses as provided in relevant laws

11. PBS shall publish (& periodically update) complete & accurate statistics regarding PWDs in Pakistan & upload them on its website
Coincidentally, on the same day (14.07.2020) on which CBID Network's petition (Constitution Petition No. 64/2013) was disposed off, a different bench of the SC passed another important judgment in relation to the rights of PWDs in #Pakistan, focusing on the issue of employment.
This judgment includes a discussion on the concept of 'disability' and what it means to be a 'person with disability'. For this purpose the judgment relies on the relevant definitions provided in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Furthermore the judgment also discusses the two prevalent models for understanding disability i.e. 'medical model' and 'social model' and also mentions the two different approaches for dealing with the issues faced by PWDs i.e. 'charity-based approach' and 'rights-based approach'
It also discusses the status of PWDs in the context of the Constitution of Pakistan & concludes that the Constitution 'applies equally to PWDs, guaranteeing them full enjoyment of their fundamental rights w/o discrimination... & provides a robust platform for mainstreaming PWDs.'
The judgment then proceeds to highlight the importance of employment for PWDs and lays down principles for calculating/working out the statutory employment quotas for PWDs and for ensuring fair & equitable representation of PWDs in workplaces/establishments.
The judgment further states that 'appointing PWDs under the disability quota is half the story... the other half... is to provide the infrastructure, access, support and facilities, so that PWDs, once appointed to a
post, can perform their job w/o feeling physically... (contd.)
emotionally incapacitated in any manner. The biggest barriers to
the employment of PWDs are accessibility & their social acceptability at the workplace. The Govt & the concerned establishment are bound to make provisions for it, for otherwise, the Disability Quota (contd.)
...& the purpose of the Ordinance
will stand frustrated & serve no useful purpose. This support & facilitation for PWDs has been recognized as 'Reasonable Accommodation' under the Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) that Pakistan has ratified in 2011.'
The judgment also explains the concept of 'Reasonable Accommodation', as follows:
'It means necessary & appropriate modification & adjustments where needed in a particular case to ensure PWDs the enjoyment on an equal basis with others of all human rights & fundamental freedoms.'
Lastly but very importantly, the SC in this judgment has directed the Federal & Provincial govts to discontinue the use of derogatory words (which offend the dignity of PWDs) in official correspondences,
directives, notifications & circulars & instead use People-First Language.

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More from @mhaiderimtiaz

24 Oct 19
The prosecution team (including myself), which had been appointed in 2013 to prosecute Gen Musharraf (R.) for high treason & had been pursuing the case ever since, has just been de-notified by the federal govt. After years of delay, the case was fixed for final arguments today.
In the previous hearing, the Special Court had directed both sides to submit their written arguments prior to today's hearing. In compliance, the prosecution had already submitted its written arguments. Today oral arguments were to be heard. However we were barred from doing so.
Sharing here the notification of our removal, issued by the Ministry of Interior which is headed by Brig. Ijaz Shah (R.). It is dated 23.10.19, however no intimation was given to the prosecution yesterday. We came to know about it when the govt produced it before the court today.
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