Coalition for Inclusive Pakistan Elects Disability Rights Activist Syed Imtiaz Fatima its Chairperson

ISLAMABAD, June 18, 2021: An ardent advocate for the rights of vulnerable people particularly persons with disabilities (PWD) Syeda Imtiaz Fatima has been elected Chairperson of the Coalition for Inclusive Pakistan (CIP), a unique grouping of more than 170 civil society organizations led and staffed by persons with disabilities, transgender persons and women.

Fatima, who is suffering from polio-associated physical disability, has coasted her wheelchair to lead efforts for greater social, economic, political and electoral emancipation of the PWD in the country. Her deniability has never been a barrier in her way to raise the cause of vulnerable segments of population in the country. “I am humbled for the confidence that CIP members have reposed on me and I wish to lead this forum to become strongest voice of the voiceless communities,” said Fatima after her oath-taking ceremony that was held in Islamabad.

CIP is working to promote and protect the political and electoral rights of PWDs, transgender persons and women. It has 15 Regional Chapters and a National Body comprising three members from each province and Gilgit Baltistan.

Hailing from Lahore, Imtiaz Fatima was earlier elected as member of National Body of CIP on PWDs-seat from Punjab.  A woman living with polio-associated disability, Imtiaz Fatima is working for the welfare of PWDs since more than 26 years. She is among the pioneer members of CIP and has also been associated with various other civil society alliances such as Peace and Justice Network. She is associated with Voice Society for the Rehabilitation of Special Persons. She has also been a member of Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) District Voter Education Committee (DVEC) in Lahore. She is also a creative writer and an artist.

Having compounded vulnerabilities because of her gender and her disability, she said, she had first-hand experience of the struggle that persons from marginalized segments of society go through to find place in political and electoral spaces. She asserted her efforts would be focused on transforming CIP into a platform that strives towards realizing the constitutional rights of PWDs, transgender persons, and women. Despite being very different communities, PWDs, transgender persons and women face similar neglect in political spheres which have unfortunately been reserved for only men and that was what we ought to change, Fatima said.

We would make our vulnerabilities our strengths and would not let anyone or anything usurp our rights, she said. Talking about her own struggles, Fatima shared that. “And this is exactly what I preach”, said Imtiaz Fatima.