Raja Imran Hussain says he is the first physically challenged candidate contesting on a general seat
Islamabad: In Pakistan, elections are generally considered a ‘sport’ of the rich and only members of the affluent families can think of trying their luck for the national or provincial assembly seats. Still, there are some role models who, though with limited resources and humble political background, dare to challenge the mighty and the powerful and are determined to make a difference in the lives of the poor people as they belong to the same community. Such individuals are rare in society yet their energy and work speak for themselves. Raja Imran Hussain, a physically challenged (polio affected) young man, is one such example. He has decided to contest on a general seat to the Punjab Assembly from Rawalpindi’s constituency PP-14.
President of Special Persons Rehabilitation in Nutrition & Games (SPRING), an organisation working for the welfare of special persons, Raja Imran, is determined to give a tough time to the veteran politicians of his constituency saying his mission is to serve the people of his constituency particularly, the handicapped and the physically challenged persons.
It may be noted that the candidates who are contesting from his constituency include former provincial minister Raja Basharat who recently switched from Pakistan Muslim League (Q) (PML-Q) to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI); Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’ (PML-N) veteran politician Chaudhry Tanveer’s son Chaudhry Usama and Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Agha Afzaal.
Undeterred by the political credentials of his rivals, Raja Imran says he is focusing only on his campaign and the feedback he is receiving is tremendous. He claims he is the first ‘disabled’ candidate in the history of Pakistan’s elections to contest on a general seat, otherwise “my community is always overlooked and its talent more or less goes unexploited”.
To a question, whether he was facing any difficulty in approaching people, he said, “I am running a door-to-door campaign in a perfect way and asking people not to lose this historic moment for change in their lives.
“I am physically handicapped, yet my spirits are fully intact and my campaign is in full swing and I am approaching my voters, their families and friends just like an ordinary candidate,” he said.
It also goes to the credit of the young candidate from PP-14 that he took up the cause of the physically challenged voters with the Election Commission of Pakistan that there were no adequate arrangements made for the handicapped at the polling stations in the past general elections. Most of the polling stations were either inaccessible or arrangements made there did not suit the physically challenged voters to cast their votes.
He had conducted a survey in Islamabad’s Sector F-7 to F-11 and shared with the Election Commission that in those five sectors, the number of physically challenged persons was around 8,221 but arrangements made for them were nowhere to be seen.