Not To Be Published, Broadcast, And Telecast Before The Morning Of December 3, 2015) PR No.12 Message From Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Prime Minister Of The Islamic Republic Of Pakistan On The Occasion Of International Day Of Persons With Disabilities Islamabad: December 2, 2015

The observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on3rd December every year aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for dignity, basic rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. This Day reinforces the spirit to integrate persons with disabilities in every aspect of social, political, economic and cultural life in such a manner that they enjoy full and equal human rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed for every citizen of the State. Instead of marginalization and segregation of persons with disabilities, our efforts should focus on their inclusion and empowerment in every sphere of life. This year the United Nations highlighted serious issues regarding disabilities in the theme: Inclusion matters: access and empowerment of people of all abilities.

It is estimated that one billion people living with disabilities worldwide face many barriers to inclusion in key aspects of social life. Consequently, people with disabilities feel restricted to exercise their faculties on equal basis with others, particularly in the domains of employment, education, social as well as political participation. The right to participate in public life is essential to ensure stable democracy, active citizenship and reducing inequalities in society. It is important to focus on the ability and not disability of an individual. Often, the societal image of persons with disabilities is impacted by attitudes based on stigma and discrimination. These attitudes must be discouraged. The public attitude plays an important role for persons with disabilities to perform as fully participating members of society. We must highlight their achievements as success stories to boost their confidence in our individual as well as national capacities.

The Government of Pakistan is committed to promote empowerment, provision of opportunities and equal participation for the persons with disabilities. It is our prime concern to enhance their capacities and support them in setting their own priorities. Our Government is cognizant of the fact that persons with disabilities hold every civil, cultural, economic, political and social right, on an equal basis with others. As we observe the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, I encourage all Pakistanis to play their active role in dispelling frivolous notions and attitudes towards the persons with disabilities. I am sure that with our sincere and joint efforts, we can enable them to contribute, on equal basis, to the well-being of the State and betterment of our society.