ARIF MEHMOOD KHAN
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that Pakistan never saw the scale of progress it should have seen because the underprivileged “were left behind” to serve an elitist agenda.
“Neither did we provide them quality education, nor build good hospitals for them. We didn’t care for their health or ensure the provision of food. “No country that has only served its elite ever progressed,” said the premier, while addressing the launch ceremony of the Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme for poor women, in Islamabad.
According to Radio Pakistan, under the programme, a stipend of Rs2,000 per month will be paid “to the most deserving and poorest women across the country through a digital payment system based on transparent mechanism”.
The premier, while addressing the event, promised that the state will take responsibility of the underprivileged. “Seven million women will receive the Kafaalat card which means seven million households will benefit,” said the premier, adding that health cards had already been distributed to six million families, enabling each to seek treatment worth Rs720,000. “So far, I believe, our government’s greatest achievement is this,” said the prime minister. “The helplessness that people feel when they don’t have the funds for their treatment, is the greatest cruelty in society,” he continued.
“When illness befalls a member of an underprivileged family, the entire household is thrust below the line of poverty as their entire budget is spent trying to seek treatment,” noted the premier.
During the event, the prime minister distributed cards to several women and expressed satisfaction at the way the programme’s system had been developed so truly deserving women could benefit.
“Such work is in service of Allah. Humanity demands that you help those less privileged than you. The money you collect, when there isn’t honesty in the use of the funds, then such programmes are never successful,” said the premier.
“So for its success, it was important for such systems to develop so the money reaches those people who are truly deserving, who are barely able to feed their children,” said the premier, explaining that the programme saw delays because of the focus on developing a transparent mechanism for the flow of funds.
The prime minister explained that it was under this mechanism, 800,000 people had been weeded out which included government officers who had cars and were availing foreign tours.
“These women, to whom I just distributed the cards, are among the people whose money was being stolen,” he said.