Polio survivor decries no living rights for disabled in Pakistan

By: Faizan Javed      Published: 11:19 AM, 9 Jul, 2020
Polio survivor decries no living rights for disabled in Pakistan

Despite it being the 21st century, there is still a lack of awareness regarding many important social as well as health issues in Pakistan – unfortunately, being physically disabled is one of them.

Tazeen Raza in episode 6 of Beautiful Confessions with Asma Nabeel further elaborates on the many problems physically disabled individuals have to face in Pakistan.

Diagnosed with polio at the age of just 2.5 years old at a time when the vaccine wasn't common, Tazeen Raza lost strength in both her legs and as a result, had to use crutches from a very early age.

Fortunately, Tazeen’s family and friends were very supportive which greatly helped her get through the many challenges she had to face throughout her life which began shortly after her marriage.

Strong-willed and independent, Tazeen was at one point faced with such extremely hard times that she had no choice but to support her family financially leading to the accidental opening of her now-successful salon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fSFzGLq73A

Being a physically disabled woman in a highly insensitive society with lack of awareness, not only did Tazeen Raza often have to deal with nosy comments and pitiful stares as she passed by but she also had to face a lot of problems once she started using a wheelchair – for instance, Defence Housing Authority (DHA) straight up refused to construct a ramp outside her salon because it’s “not their policy” to be flexible about matters concerning a few inches from the outer staircase area of any construction.

Understanding their position, Tazeen Raza provided DHA with several possible alternatives to counter the issue but hostile as ever, the housing authority barely listened and kept making excuses.

As a result, she had to get a wooden ramp made for her wheelchair to pass through, which to this day she has to place on the door at the back of the salon, in a filthy alleyway, each time she has to enter the salon.

Furthermore, a similar incident occurred when she once went to a movie theatre and was straight up refused to be provided with some assistance regarding her wheelchair not being able to pass through.

This, as a result, shows how physically disabled individuals are denied basic facilities which all citizens have rights for example, a ramp outside stores and buildings and in public places for wheelchairs to easily pass through.

All this talk about economic growth and development in Pakistan means nothing if our very own local authorities and businesses will not provide individuals with the basic assistance they require.

The only way we'll truly ever be able to grow as a country is by first catering to the needs of our very own citizens.