Pakistan Tehrek-i-Insaf (PTI) in its manifesto for general elections 2013 had promised that the party will fix at least five party tickets for Person with Disabilities (PWDs) to contest elections at each level of public representation if voted into power.
The cricketer-turn politician Imran Khan led PTI following the ‘historical’ show of power in Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore in 2011 emerged as the third largest political party in the country’s political landscape after Pakistan Muslim League-N and Pakistan People Party.
In its election manifesto unveiled by the party’s senior leader Shireen Mazari in April 2013 in Islamabad, also recognized measures for PWDs in the country. According to the manifesto, 10% of the country’s population is suffering of some sort of disability which has been deprived of normal life.
It stated that PTI will try to facilitate people with disabilities and will fix 1% of the total party tickets, of which one will be for women and two for youth, to contest elections.”
PTI was voted into power in 2013 elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The official data shows out of total 124 provincial assembly seats, PTI’s 61 members make it to the assembly. Contrary to the party’s promise made in the manifesto, no none represents PWD among the 61 members.
Similarly, after around three years in the provincial government, in the local government elections 2015, PTI voted into power in the Peshawar District Assembly and yet again none of the candidate belonged to the PWD. Currently there are total of 85 members out of 138 affiliated with PTI and not a single person is from PWDs population.
PWDs right activists have also shown concerns over apathetic attitude of the political leadership towards the disable population of the country. While speaking to Truth Tracker, Irfan Ullah, General Secretary of a non-profit organisation, Friends of Paraplegics in said that in current scenario no one talks about the problems PWDs are facing.
“Minorities despite being 4% in the country have a representation in the country’s parliament but PWDs are estimated to comprise of 10% of the total population have no seats reserved in the assemblies,” Ullah said.
The organization is working on drafting of a disability rights bill in the collaboration with KP Social Welfare department. “We have proposed five seats for disabled persons in every public representative body in provincial assembly in the drafted bill.”
About PTI, he said they have strived to form PTI’s wing of PWDs so that could have representation in the party’s political affairs but that was badly discouraged by the PTI leadership.
“The wing’s office bearers time and again asked for time to discuss the issues of PWDs with PTI leadership but no one bother to take us time so the wing was dissolved,” Ullah lamented.
While talking to Truth Tracker, KP government spokesperson and PTI’s member provincial assembly Shah Farman said that the party had promised to give party tickets to the PWDs but they should have to be set on a certain criteria.
He said if anyone disabled person submitted application for party ticket, his/her application will be entertained and ticket will be given to them if they fulfill the required criteria.
He did, however admitted that there were not any disabled members of the provincial assembly or in the Peshawar district assembly. “If anyone [disabled person] interested, should submit application in the upcoming elections.”
Keeping in views the opinions of officials, independent experts and the ground facts, Truth Tracker ruled that PTI failed to give away promised five tickets to PWDs and hence the promise is broken.