CADD minister keeps special children waiting
ISLAMABAD: All over the world, utmost care is taken to ensure that special children are not hurt mentally. But around 200 special children on Thursday had to wait for the arrival of the recently-appointed Minister for Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, at a function for one-and-a-half hours.
The function, which was organised in connection with the “International Day of Persons with Disabilities”, could not be started on time as Additional Secretary CADD Malik Qaiser Majeed, Director General Special Education Naeema Bushra and other officials were kept on waiting outside the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) to receive the minister.
The minister could not be contacted for comments. However, Mr Majeed defended Mr Fazal, saying he was a very busy person and people still visited his office to congratulate him.
The function was organised by the ministry of CADD in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO). Around 200 special children, the parents of students killed in the Army Public School Peshawar attack and others attended the event.
The programme was scheduled to begin at 10am and the participants reached the venue on time. Special children holding flags of Pakistan were asked to remain seated in the hall.
Asad Mehmood, the father of a special child, told Dawn that he was shocked to see the treatment meted out to the children.
“All over the world, the day is observed by governments to give a message that they care more about special persons. However, I think in Pakistan this day is observed to mentally torture the special children,” he said.
“As I have a special child I know they are very sensitive and want special care. But I am sure that all the children were hurt because they had to wait,” he said.
“If ministers cannot attend functions, why do they promise to come. It is the job of the minister for
CADD to participate in the function as institutions of special education are working under his ministry. If the minister had some other engagements, he should have advised the organisers to start the function on time,” he said.
Ali Raza, the father of another special child, added: “The parents of students killed in the APS attack were also invited to the event but they were kept on waiting for the arrival of the minister.”
“Some special children frequently need to go to washroom and other get bored and can become irritated if they are forced to sit at one place for long. Unfortunately, no one cares about these issues,” he said.
Directorate General of Special Education Naeema Bushra Malik, who was also waiting outside the PNCA, said a message had been conveyed to the minister that the event would start on time.
“However, I don’t know why the minister has got late. There must be some genuine reason for it,” she said.
Additional Secretary Malik Qaiser Majeed told Dawn that when he left for the PNCA from the ministry, Mr Tariq was sitting in his office.
“There was rush of people at his office. Moreover, many people also visit Mr Fazal to congratulate him on his induction into the federal cabinet,” he said.
The programme started at about 11:30am after the arrival of the minister.
Earlier, Hafiz Mehmood Subhani, told Dawn that he was visually impaired by birth and worked as a teacher in a school for special children.
He demanded that the quota for special persons should be increased from 2 per cent to 10 per cent.