Disability centers in Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) have the largest number disabled persons. Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) says, it is due to the militancy in North and South Waziristan tribal district.
A huge number landmines in the tribal districts have disabled local people who were brought to those centers in Bannu and D. I. Khan.
Managing Director PIPS told the Tribal Post that they have been providing free treatment including artificial organs to the victims of landmines targeted in the tribal district of erstwhile FATA.
Umar Ayub said that some 22 thousand disabled persons are registered with PIPS and about six thousand patients are provided with treatment every year.
He said that most of the registered landmine victims belong to the tribal districts. PIPS approaches the locals and victim families and brings them to their centers in KP.
International organizations including World Health Organization (WHO) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provides funds for helping the disabled persons.
Umar Ayub told, PIPS provides artificial organs like legs, hands and arms to the victims. However, the organization also provides special education to them after proper treatment of them.
According to the United Nations Human Rights Council world’s 10% population consists of the special or disabled persons, whereas Pakistan’s 15% population is disabled.
According to the UN’s human rights body Pakistan has huge number of the disabled persons, because of lack of the awareness of disabilities among people. People do not take small case of the disabilities seriously.
Secondly, militancy in the country have disabled thousands of common people. Polio is another big reason behind disabilities among the 15% population of Pakistan.
Militants in the tribal districts had banned polio campaign for years which caused more polio cases reported in the erstwhile Fata.
The Social Welfare Department had started its operation in the tribal areas in 2005, providing treatment to the disabled persons. However, the department was established in the Fata Secretariat in 2011.
Director Social Welfare Department (KP) Dr. Ubaidur Rehman told the Tribal Post that they had appointed a Social Welfare Officer in each tribal district to look after in the disability cases in the region.
The department issues a special certificate to the registered disabled persons, which is used for their further treatment. This means that those who do not have that specific certificate, were not able receive the treatment.
Dr. Ubaidur Rehman told Tribal Post, “About 14 thousand disabled persons belonging to tribal areas, are registered with the department and about six thousands have already been provided with the treatment.”
Mr. Rehman said that the erstwhile Fata has 15% disabled persons of its total population and it is because of the decade long terrorism and militancy in the tribal areas.
Dr. Ubaidur Rehman said that initially only 0.15% of the total Fata’s budget was allocated to the disabled persons, and it was lately increased to 0.28% until now. “It is not enough yet,” he added.
He added that they need to start special programs in the tribal areas but the budget is not enough for the purpose. “We demand more funds and include various needed programs in the Annual Development Plan, but our proposed programs and demanded funds are rejected,” said Dr. Ubaid.
Focal Person for the Physical Rehabilitation centers of the tribal district, Muhammad Hayat Sahibzada told Tribal Post, that the government have already established laboratories for preparation of artificial organs, in the tribal districts Bajaur, Khyber, Kurram, North Waziristan and Tank district.
MR. Hayat said that South Waziristan has highest number of the disabled persons who are provided treatment in Tank and D. I. Khan.
Dr. Ubaid Rehman told that government did not provide and funds after the Fata-KP merger, which is alarming.
The social welfare department has been facing problems due to due to lack of the required funds. The department also provides scholarships to disabled students but after the merger funds are not approved by government for such programs.
Dr. Ubaid stressed and strongly demanded issuing the required and more funds. “Social welfare department is in drastic need of funds,” he said.
There is no vocational training center for special and disabled persons in the erstwhile Fata. It is causing unrest and economic problems among those needy persons as they are not able to support their families financially.
Amir Alam is a disabled person belongs to Mohmand tribal district who had came to PIPS in Peshawar and received free treatment. “PIPS is our last hope, when we are hopeless,” he told Tribal Post.
“I lost my legs in landmine blast in 2013 and went to a government hospital for treatment,” said Amir Alam and added, “but was laying on bed for years at home. Fortunately, I got registered with PIPS in 2015 and got an artificial leg.”
Amir Alam now needs another artificial leg. He told Tribal Post, “I am waiting, the doctors of PIPS has told me, they will complete my full treatment, I am thankful to PIPS.”