Aspiring to represent the disabled in parliament, a blind man has collected a nomination paper from Jatiya Party, to contest the 11th national election slated for December 30.
A man of formidable mental strength, Hafez Qari Esa Ruhullah Asif is probably the first blind man of the country, who desires to be a member of the parliament and advocate for the rights of the disabled.
Asif, 49, lost his eyesight just a year after birth, is a joint religious affairs secretary of Jatiya Party central committee.
He has been involved in politics since 1985 and wants to contest the election from Patuakhali-2 constituency.
But a tough fight awaits Asif as the ruling Awami League-backed candidate ASM Feroz, also the chief whip of the party, is also contesting from the same constituency.
Asif said he wants to be a member of parliament to work for the wellbeing of the disabled community, including the visually-impaired ones.
"If a blind man can be the Imam of a mosque in Makkah and a UK home secretary, why not me?" he asked.
David Blunkett, who is blind since birth, was the home secretary of the United Kingdom from June 8, 2001 to December 15, 2004.
Asif told UNB that he will advocate for the rights of physically-challenged people so that they have their representation in the Jatiya Sangsad and enter government services.
He will also advocate for a provision in tax law so that physically-challenged people do not have to pay value added taxes.
Asif is the joint secretary of religious affairs in Jatiya Party. He collected the nomination form on November 13 and submitted it to the party office on November 15.
Though his ancestral village is under Patuakhali-1, Asif did not purchase the nomination form to contest the polls from that constituency as Jatiya Party Secretary General ABM Ruhul Amin Hawlader is a probable candidate from there.
Born in 1969 at Paschim Dewkhali village in Patuakhali Sadar upazila, Asif studied up to Dhakil (equivalent to SSC) at Patukhali Nesaria Madrasah.
A father of three children, Asif supports his family by delivering religious lectures across the country.