KARACHI: President Asif Zardari on Friday formally launched ‘Waseela-e-Haq Sindh’ scheme aimed at creating a new middle class in the province by providing self-employment opportunities to 35,000 youth between the ages 19 to 35 who have at least passed secondary school examination and are unemployed.
President’s Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that yet another condition that entitled youth to be included in the draw was that the family must score between 16 and 30 along the poverty scale devised by the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) in accordance with the internationally accepted standards for measuring poverty. The innovative programme was launched by the President by pressing a computer button at Bilawal House that made huge computer screens display names of lucky winners of Rs 300,000 interest free loan for each to set up their own businesses ranging from transport to cattle raising and from auto workshops to pharmaceutical businesses regardless of the winner’s religion, political affiliation and urban rural divide.
He said the special scheme was devised under the directions of President Zardari and powered by R 12 contributed by the provincial government of Sindh from out of its budget. A large number of jobless youth having metric education in the province had qualified for inclusion in the draw out of which 35,000 were picked up by the computer randomly that day, he said. “Let those who merely boast of bringing change and raise hollow slogans witness today how change is brought about through the creation of new middle class, breaking the generational cycle of poverty and to power national growth and economy”, the President said while addressing the ceremony, adding “The PPP is actually bringing about change while others were merely talking about it”.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also pressed another computer button to randomly select another batch of over 13,700 beneficiaries under the normal BISP programme of draws held after regular intervals. The beneficiary of normal programme are also given Rs 300,000 interest free loan to start their own businesses, but is meant for even poorer sections of the society who score no more than 16.17 on the poverty score card. The ceremony was witnessed by Chief Minister (CM) Syed Qaim Ali Shah, provincial ministers, Parliamentarians, Chairperson BISP Farzana Raja as well as political workers and beneficiaries drawn from throughout the province. President Zardari also distributed cheques among BISP Waseela-e-Haq beneficiaries.
President Zardari appreciated Sindh CM for allocating Rs 12 billion for this programme which will give a new dimension and new style to self-employment approach. He suggested the selected persons under BISP to prefer cattle farming which has a high return adding that these cattle are also covered under insurance scheme.President Zardari pointed out that his idea of currency swap for international trade had got support and so far three countries Russia, China and Turkey had agreed to this idea. Referring to his recent visit to Myanmar and meeting with pro democracy leader and Nobel laurate Aung San Suy Kyi, he said that Pakistani President was the first leader in the world who had a meeting with her and conferred upon her Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Democracy Award.
Conspirators were busy in hatching conspiracies and they came up each day with new plot, he said, adding that Bhuttoism would prevail. He vowed to make Pakistan as safer place to live and said that he would develop Pakistan and change its destiny. President Zardari said that the success and international recognition of poverty alleviation programme, started by the government in the name of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, was not only a source of great pride and satisfaction for the government but was also a source of personal satisfaction for him witnessing millions of beneficiaries being freed out of inter-generational poverty trap and were being empowered in a real manner. – Dailytimes