COVID-19 and State Responses in Pakistan’s Policy towards Persons with Disabilities
The outbreak of COVID-19 has initiated debate in the world about the response mechanism towards different communities in society. Pandemics have a long history in human societies, changing not only human behavior but also world politics. The Russian flu of 1889, the Spanish flu of 1918, the polio pandemic of 1949, H2N2 virus, 1956, HIV/AIDS 1981, Swine flu 2001, SARS 2002 among others have caused millions of deaths in contemporary recorded history. This paper examines Pakistan’s response mechanisms for persons with disabilities through an analysis of relevant policy documents, UN guidelines and content analysis of key speeches by the Prime Minister Imran Khan, interviews and initiatives taken by the government. The paper concludes that in the absence of any definitive policy for persons with disabilities during COVID19, there has been a general ignorance and apathy towards the way persons with disabilities were given care or in dealing with them during the lockdown situation. As the COVID-19 second wave started in different parts of the world, it is time for the government to take substantive measures to ease problems faced by persons with disabilities.