The 2016 edition of the Pakistan Mobile App Awards with the theme “Embracing Mobile Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities in Pakistan”—which is aimed to focus on development of ready-to-use mobile applications addressing needs of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the country—has formally been launched.
The award has been launched by Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) together with Internet Society (ISOC) Bureau, Telenor Pakistan, National ICT R&D Fund, Ministry of Information Technology, Special Talent Exchange Program, Pakistan Foundation Fighting Blindness, Pakistan Blind Cricket Council and Pakistan Youth Foundation of Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Syed Ismail Shah, Chairman PTA said “There is so much more that can be done in this field and it all begins with an understanding of the needs of persons with disabilities.”
Muhammad Shabbir from ICT Accessibility Group said “The 2016, Mobile App Awards will allow us to harness the power of technology to promote inclusion and accessibility in order to help realize the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in the society”.
The launch participants were informed that as per independent international sources, 10 to 15% of Pakistan’s population consists of Persons with Disabilities; depicting approximately 20 to 30 million people face some form of disability.
Syed Raza Shah, Member IT, Ministry of Information Technology emphasized to include the matter related to ‘Web Accessibility’ in the upcoming IT policy of Pakistan on the instruction of MoS IT, while appreciating the support provided by the ICT Accessibility Group. He also mentioned that efforts are already underway to make Ministry’s website more accessible and inclusive.
Hassan Mangi, DG Human Rights, Ministry of Law and Justice, said “All UN conventions talk about Human Rights but there is no national body in Pakistan that takes into consideration matters revolving around people with disabilities. This initiative is therefore very crucial and extremely timely.”
During his closing remarks, ISOC Asia-Pacific Bureau Director, Rajnesh Singh appreciated the support provided by local organization(s) to ISOC in Pakistan.
About the 2016 awards he said: “The support and the interest from various stakeholders make these awards unique in nature and probably first of their kind in the region.”