President reiterates pledge to lift people out of poverty

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday reiterated pledge of the PPP led government to lift the poor and destitute from the poverty trap.The President asked BISP for expediting the process of extending health insurance facility to the BISP beneficiaries to ensure free medical assistance for them. “The BISP must stand out as Pakistan flagship program for poverty alleviation and women emancipation”.He said this while chairing a presentation on BISP nation-wide poverty survey at Aiwan-e-Sadr.Those who attended the presentation included Syed Naveed Qamar, Minister for Privatization, Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Minister for Textile Industry, M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, MOS for Foreign Affairs, Ms Farzana Raja, Chairperson BISP, Ms. Sassui Palijo, Minister Government of Sindh, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Ms Asma Arbab Alamgir, Begum Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Malik Asif Hayat, Secretary to the President, Ali Arshad Hakeem, Chairman NADRA, Khizer Hayat, Population Census Commissioner, Mohammad Sher Khan, MD BISP and Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar. Briefing the media about the meeting, Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar said that Chairperson BISP, Ms Farzana Raja while giving a detailed briefing informed the meeting that cash grants of Rs. 54 billion were disbursed among 2.2 million families in the first phase of the programme as the beneficiaries were identified through parliamentarians.She added further that Rs. 6.4 billion has so far been disbursed among 386,174 eligible families country wide as a result of identification through ongoing nationwide poverty survey which is second phase of the programme as well. These families include 3,918 families in AJK, 13,706 in Balochistan, 6,164 in Gilgit Baltistan, 43,276 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 186,568 in Punjab and 132,542 families in Sindh.In view of the government’s commitment through “Aghaz-e-Huqooq-e-Balochistan” BISP targeting survey in 22 districts of Balochistan was conducted on priority basis while survey in few districts will be carried out as soon as law & order situation improves and work on poverty survey in FATA will start this month, the meeting was apprised.

The President was informed that in all districts, where the survey is being undertaken, the notables, parliamentarians and all other concerned are being taken on board during the whole process.The President was informed that in all districts, where the survey is being undertaken, the notables, parliamentarians and all other concerned are being taken on board during the whole process.Babar said that the President, who is also the patron in chief of BISP Program, appreciated the initiative of nation wide poverty survey by BISP and the fact that it was being conducted on non-partisan basis.The President advised that the preference be accorded to less developed and areas that have been worst hit by devastating floods.He said that taking on board all concerned during the entire process would not only ensure the complete success of the initiative but would also help the government to reach out to the most deserving and the needy regardless of their political affiliations and political influence.“Transparency and credibility of the poverty survey are critical for the success of the program”, the President said adding that no effort should be spared to ensure that the poverty survey was credible.He said a credible and transparent poverty survey untainted by political consideration would also attract international attention and assistance to take the program to greater heights – APP