Monthly Archives: October 2009

Civilians in the war zone

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

We are constantly being exhorted to treat the war on terror as our own war and not theirs (the Americans’). We are told to own it. From that one deduces that we should make our due contribution to the war effort. One would not argue with that line of thinking — no, not at this stage.

Now that Pakistanis find themselves caught in this quagmire of conflict they do not have much of a choice except to try and wade their way out. For this they are extending full support to the army and the government.
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Whither mental health law?

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

OCTOBER 10 was World Mental Health Day and the occasion provided health professionals with an opportunity to draw attention to this very crucial area of human well-being. This is a subject many do not want to talk about, so strong is the stigma attached to it.

Yet it has relevance for the lives of a large number of people. Research shows that nearly 10 per cent of the population suffers from mental illness at one stage or another in life. Given the insecurity and conflict that grip Pakistan today, it is likely that the `burden of mental disorders`, to use the World Health Organisation`s terminology, is greater in the country than is believed to be.
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Disabled by society

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

New thinking in the last century has radically changed political concepts that determine relations between the state and its citizens, and between society and its members. New rights are now being defined although the ground realities have yet to change.

Take the case of persons with disabilities. Until recently, providing them with care was perceived as charity. Today, they can legally claim respect for their dignity, inclusiveness in society, non-discrimination and equality of opportunity as a matter of right.

Disability is being redefined in a social rather than a physiological context. Sociologists and human rights activists now place the onus on society to make the necessary structural changes for enabling persons with disabilities to realise their full potential and make a contribution to the state.
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