Pakistan’s 1st visually impaired diplomat set to publish book on IIOJK abuses


Saima Saleem says she will try to publish her book in Braille as well

In September last year, Pakistan’s first visually im-paired UN delegate Saima Saleem was praised by the whole nation after she made a speech in the exercise of the right of reply at the 76th United Na-tions General Assembly (UNGA) while reading from Braille.

On the occasion of World Braille Day, which is celebrated worldwide on Jan 4 annually, Saima made an announcement that her first book is all set to be published this year, and if she will get a chance, she will definitely try to publish it also in Braille.

Saima is the first blind civil servant of Pakistan. She came sixth in the 2007 competitive examination and was the first among female candidates taking the test to be recruited in government departments. She became the first blind diplomat of Pakistan for whom rules for recruitment were amended by the government for joining the foreign service.

“Braille is a tangible form of written language which is used as a medium of communication by the people who cannot see. In my life as a person, stu-dent and now a career diplomat, Braille has played the most significant role,” Saleem told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.

Saleem holds a master’s degree in international law with a specialisation in international humanitar-ian law and human rights from Geneva Academy, the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

“Working for human rights is my passion, and my book is also written on the topic of gross and systematic human rights violations happening in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. It is in the last phase of editing and I will try my best to get that published in Braille as well,” she said.

Saima believes that people with disabilities can become useful and productive for society if attitudi-nal and access barriers can be removed for them.

“These barriers can only be removed by creating awareness-raising in which the media can play an instrumental role. Every library should also create a Braille corner like the National Library has done, and try to make the e-books and audio ones avail-able as well.—APP


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