Disabled social activist Niaz Bahadur talking to TNN. - Photo by Sajid Ali Kukikhel

PESHAWAR, 12 April: A disabled person from Khyber Agency has set up an institution for serving the disabled persons of his area.

The 40 years old Niaz Bahadur, who has lost both his eyes and legs in a blast, was given assurance by many non-governmental organisations to assist him for education of his children and giving him wheelchairs and other things, but they did not keep their word.

After facing disappointment due to the apathy of NGOs, Niaz Bahadur decided to start work for the rights of disabled people in 2012.

Mr Bahadur, who was an FC soldier, was rendered disabled in a bomb blast in Balochistan 14 years ago. He laid foundation of his welfare organisation with his pension money. As a first step Mr Bahadur started collecting data of disabled persons from Jamrud and Landikotal tehsils of Khyber Agency with his own expenses.

“There was a time when I was living a normal life, but I came to know about the problems faced by disabled persons when I personally faced immense difficulties after that tragedy. After going through all that troubles, I decided to establish a welfare body for the disabled persons. We conducted a survey with the help of social activists and students and registered 1,745 disabled persons in the first phase,” Mr Bahadur told TNN.

He said he came to know during the survey that not a single disabled person possessed disability certificate and many others even did not possess identity cards. He said his institution then obtained 70 disability certificates and identity cards for disabled persons. Shah Jee Gul Afridi, Member of National Assembly from Khyber Agency, also helped the organisation by providing it 45 wheelchairs and an ambulance from his fund. The wheelchairs were then distributed among the local disabled persons. The ambulance is being used for welfare activities buts there is no arrangement for its fuel charges.

Mr Bahadur said the spinal cord patients were provided wheelchairs on priority basis as they were in dire need of those wheelchairs. “Those patients who did not have any relatives were taken to hospital by our organisation for treatment. We also brought back those patients to their homes after completion of their treatment. Our organisation will extend help to every special person without any discrimination. All people with physical, vision or any other kind of disability will be facilitated,” he said.

FATA Development Authority (FDA) had approved a skill centre for this welfare organisation but that centre has been taken back now. Mr Bahadur alleged that an officer of the FDA has given that centre to his son. He said he has sent an application in this regard to the Governor’s Complaint Cell.

Despite all challenges, Mr Bahadur is in high spirits and he is planning to obtain disability certificates and identity cards for the disabled persons of Bara tehsil as well. He further plans to get assistance for disabled persons from the FATA Secretariat and Pakistan Baitul Mal after collecting complete data of all the disabled persons of Khyber Agency to enable them to lead a respectable life.

“First we want to ascertain the real number of disabled persons in the area. Disability certificate is a must for special persons. In the next step we want to provide them wheelchairs, education, healthcare and technical training,” Mr Bahadur said, adding: “We demand the government to give us our rights. We should be provided education and healthcare facilities. Technical training centres should also be opened for disabled persons.”

Mr Bahadur was empty handed when he launched his welfare organisation. It will be interesting to see how far he succeeds in his mission of serving the disabled persons.

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Translation by Aamir Khan

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