Braille corner


IN a welcome move, a Braille Corner Gausha-i-Noor has been created at the National Library in Islamabad to afford an opportunity to the visually impaired persons to study in a peaceful and serene environment. Inaugurated by Prime Minister’s Advisor on National History and Literary Heritage Ifran Siddiqui, the corner has initially over fifty books on different subjects besides the Holy Quran while more books and computers would be added to it with the passage of time.
Like other citizens, special people too are entitled to equal rights and special privileges because of their mental or physical impairment. Pakistan is amongst 148 countries that have signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities envisaging that a mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community. Even before signing of the Convention in 2011, Pakistan had developed a network of facilities, though limited, for education, training and look after of the special persons and children and 2% quota has been reserved in government jobs for disabled persons — an attempt to afford them an opportunity to earn a decent living. Latest figures are not available but according to 1998 Census, the number of persons with disabilities in the country was 3.28 million and this might have doubled now. This calls for special planning and efforts on part of the Federal and Provincial governments to take care of these special citizens. Setting up of Braille Corner is a small and symbolic step and its utility would be limited as it is situated in the Red Zone of the capital, where one cannot have easy access. However, the gesture would surely boost the sense of participation among special persons as far as civic facilities are concerned. They would develop a feeling that the government does care about them, the credit for which definitely goes to Irfan Siddiqui. Hopefully, provinces would replicate the good example set by him in establishing similar corners in most of the public libraries keeping in view the fact that Braille books are costly and beyond the reach of the common man.