‘Making the accessible inaccessible in Capital’: Footpaths, pathways, parking etc.
Accessibility means to assist a person to reach any destination without any help, support or hindrance. For easy access to various places certain measures are taken either by the government or by the community or by a person him or herself. Furthermore, accessibility is strongly related to universal design which is the process of creating products that are usable by people with the widest possible range of abilities, operating within the widest possible range of situations. This is about making things accessible to all people (whether they have a disability or not). The disability rights movement advocates equal access to social, political, and economic life which includes not only physical access but access to the same tools, services, organizations and facilities for which everyone pays. In this connection almost every developed countries have passed legislations including USA, UK and Europe. For example a European Accessibility Act was proposed in late 2012. This Act would establish standards within member countries for accessible products, services, and public buildings. One of the first areas where information technology improved the quality of life for disabled individuals is the voice operated wheelchair. Quadriplegics have the most profound disability, and the voice operated wheelchair technology was first developed in 1977 to provide increased mobility. Likewise, to make a disabled person moveable certain steps are taken e.g. use of sign language for hearing impaired persons, ramps for physically challenged persons and braille language for visually impaired persons. Here in Pakistan either these facilities are not available for persons with disabilities or if anywhere, these services are available they are misused by non-disabled persons. For example pathways and footpaths are made for the use of common person in general and persons with disabilities in particular. In the Capital Islamabad right under the nose of Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Capital administration these footpaths and pathways are occupied by car dealers specially in the sectors G-8 and G-9. But none of the authorities are going to take action against such mafias who are misusing the public parking, footpaths, pathways and ignore parking areas reserve for disabled persons. Not anywhere in the developed countries such violations are tolerated and violators are heavily fined so that next time no one dare to violate basic rights of disabled persons. It is hoped that at least in Islamabad concerned authorities like capital administration, traffic police and CDA would take stern action against such violators who have occupied public places and are illegally doing businesses at the cost of accessibility of persons with disabilities.