Young Pakistani all set to become first visually impaired judge

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Yousaf Saleem, a visually-impaired young Pakistani, is all set to become country’s first-ever civil judge and vows to serve the society despite all the physical and societal challenges. (AN photo)
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Yousaf Saleem, a visually-impaired young Pakistani, is all set to become country’s first-ever civil judge and vows to serve the society despite all the physical and societal challenges. (AN photo)
Updated 14 May 2018
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Young Pakistani all set to become first visually impaired judge

  • Saleem is a brother of four sisters of which two are also visually-impaired
  • I have come here through my struggle and hard work, and I’m sure I’ll go places, says Salim

ISLAMABAD: A visually challenged young Pakistani, Yousuf Salim, was all set to become the first visually impaired judge in the country’s history as he received his recommendation for appointment of civil judge last Saturday.
The dream of the 25-year-old Punjab University gold medalist to become a judge is about to be fulfilled as the differently-abled man vows to deal with all challenges of life with determination and courage.
“Honourable examination committee for recruitment of district judiciary and Lahore High Court Establishment has recommended you for appointment as civil judge-cum-magistrate,” said the recommendation letter that Salim received and proudly shared with his friends and family members.
“I always wanted to become a judge and thank God my dream is finally coming true,” he told Arab News in an interview, adding that some formalities may take two to three weeks before he assumes the office.
Salim, a resident of Lahore, had topped the written judiciary examination among 6,500 candidates and he was among 21 candidates who qualified for the job interview, but was never selected because of his visual impairment.

Yousaf Saleem, a visually-impaired young Pakistani, is all set to become country’s first-ever civil judge and vows to serve the society despite all the physical and societal challenges. (AN photo)

Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took notice of the issue after it was highlighted in local media and directed the chief justice of Lahore High Court to review the case. Nisar remarked that a person could be a judge even if he is visually impaired, provided he meets all other criteria.
“I hope and pray that my appointment as a civil judge will serve as an inspiration for all differently abled persons in Pakistan and they will always do their best to achieve their goals,” he said while thanking the chief justice.
He said he had faced a lot of challenges in life, especially during his studies, but he never gave up. “Challenges and difficulties in fact always prove as a source of motivation for me,” he said, adding that being visually impaired, he has to put in extra effort to prove himself, and this has made him a “strong man.”
Salim is son of a chartered accountant and brother of four sisters, two of whom are also visually impaired. None of them let physical disability get in their way and proved themselves in different fields of life through commitment and hard work.
One of his visually challenged sisters, Saima Salim, joined the civil service of Pakistan in 2007 and has served in Pakistan’s United Nations missions in Geneva and New York. She is now posted in the Prime Minister Secretariat as deputy secretary.
His other visually impaired sister teaches at a university in Lahore and is also doing her PhD.
Salim said society needs to overcome misconceptions about the differently abled persons and help them become useful citizens of Pakistan instead of making them an outcast.
“I have come here through my struggle and hard work, and I’m sure I’ll go places,” said Salim, who is determined to serve society despite all the physical and societal challenges.


Brazil seeks to privatize key stretches of Amazon highways

Updated 38 min 58 sec ago
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Brazil seeks to privatize key stretches of Amazon highways

  • President Jair Bolsonaro’s government is seeking to overhaul Brazil’s poor transportation infrastructure
  • The Trans-Amazonian highway was inaugurated in the 1970s but only a fraction of its nearly 3,000 kilometers were paved
BRASILIA: Brazil will add the Trans-Amazonian Highway to the list of projects for privatization, its infrastructure minister said on Tuesday, seeking new investment to pave part of a dictatorship-era roadway already blamed for extensive deforestation.
The road concession will be added to a priority list for privatization at a meeting next month, Infrastructure Minister Tarcisio Freitas told Reuters in an interview.
The government will package a short section of highway with a concession to run a major section of BR-163, a key northern route for shipping Brazilian grains, a ministry spokesman said later on Tuesday. The 40-km (25-mile) section of the Trans-Amazonian up for privatization will connect BR-163 with the river port of Miritituba in northern state of Para, the spokesman said.
President Jair Bolsonaro’s government is seeking to overhaul Brazil’s poor transportation infrastructure, which raises costs and causes delays for the commodity-exporting powerhouse, by seeking private investors to operate dozens of road, rail and airport projects.
On Monday, government Secretary Adalberto Vasconcelos, who has been tasked with creating public-private infrastructure partnerships, said the country would privatize more airports and secure new investment for railways.
For roadways, five concessions are slated for auction this year with a long pipeline of projects to follow, according to Freitas. BR-262/381 in the state of Minas Gerais, sometimes called the “Road of Death” because its poor condition has contributed to lethal accidents, will also be put on the privatization list next month, he said.
The Trans-Amazonian highway, officially known as BR-230, was inaugurated in the 1970s under Brazil’s military dictatorship, but only a fraction of its nearly 3,000 kilometers (1,864-miles) were paved and much of the existing roadway has fallen into disrepair. It stretches from the coastal state of Paraiba deep into Amazonas state. Original plans for it to reach the border with Peru were never completed.
Nevertheless, research by Brazil’s space agency and academics has linked the road to a rise in deforestation, and road improvements allowing easier access deep into the Amazon have consistently led to increased deforestation nearby.
He said that major construction firms that were implicated in corruption schemes remain unable to participate in public auctions for infrastructure projects, but could act as subcontractors for winners of concession auctions.
Engineering conglomerates Odebrecht SA and Andrade Gutierrez SA, both implicated in corruption schemes to fix contracts, signed leniency deals with the government admitting guilt and agreeing to cooperate, which allows them to contest government contracts. Companies linked to corruption but without such leniency deals may be subject to legal challenges.
“They are companies that have know-how, companies with engineering (ability), companies that can provide good services,” Freitas said.