August 2020 — The Pakistan Supreme Court ruled that federal and provincial governments must discontinue using offensive words directed at people with disabilities such as “physically handicapped.” In their published verdict, the justices noted that these words “deeply bruise and offend human dignity of persons with different abilities.” The Supreme Court directed governments to utilize alternative phrases such as ‘persons with disabilities’ or ‘persons with different abilities.’ This ruling comes in response to discriminatory hiring practices in Pakistan that violate their Disabled Persons (Employment and Rehabilitation) Ordinance of 1981. These discriminatory practices are based on outdated and prejudiced beliefs about the ability of people with disabilities to perform job tasks. In Pakistan, between 3.3 million and 27 million people are living with disabilities; however, many face barriers to securing employment because of prejudiced attitudes. The justices' decision to alter the language, paired with other inclusive-focused policies, can alter the experiences of people with disabilities in the workforce. However, the ruling has also revived the discussion of issues Pakistans with disabilities encounter in the workplace, such as inadequate accessibility. But the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Pakistan ratified in 2011, has helped to focus Pakistans’ efforts towards improved inclusivity. [Source: Zulqarnain Iqbal via Samaa]
Pakistan Court Rules Against Use of Offensive Language
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