Sunday Apr 11, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday announced the launch of the 'Koi Bhooka Na Soye' initiative of the ruling PTI's flagship Ehsaas Programme in three cities of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
PM Imran Khan's 'Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye Programme' — already started in Islamabad and now to be launched in Peshawar, Lahore, and Faisalabad — would distribute free food through mobile kitchens among labourers, daily wagers, and low-income people who may not be able to afford access to Panahgahs and Langar Khanas.
The PTI regime runs Panahgahs and Langar Khanas, or shelter homes and alms-house, respectively, in partnership with the private sector. The latest development came during a virtual event held simultaneously in Islamabad, Faisalabad, Lahore, and Peshawar and attended by Sardar Usman Buzdar and Mahmood Khan — the respective chief ministers of Punjab and KP.
Under the initiative, four trucks in each city would distribute food among 500-1,000 people every day at specific service points.
PM Imran Khan, in his remarks at the event, said that Pakistan was made in the name of Islam, which spread throughout the world in a very short time and the Riyasat-e-Madina — or the welfare state of Madina — under Islamic law established itself as a model for rule of law and service to humanity.
"God showers His blessings on those who feed the hungry and take care of the poor people," he said, adding that Pakistan was among the top countries whose people give huge amounts of charity.
The premier explained that when he planned to set up the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centres (SKMCH&RC), even the doctors told him it was difficult to run the facility.
Now, however, the hospital gives free treatment to 70% of the cancer patients, he added. "We fulfilled the promise made to the people and gave free treatment to cancer patients, besides arranging for their food and accommodation," he said.
PM Imran Khan mentioned that he first established the SKMCH&RC in Lahore with Rs700 million, with the cancer hospital having spent Rs50 billion on the treatment of people until now. The second one, he added, was built in Peshawar and a third would be constructed in Karachi.
The people of Pakistan gave money for the construction of all three hospitals, he said, adding that the same would now make the 'Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye Programme' successful.
"There will be a network of these facilities across Pakistan," he added.
The prime minister underlined how, for the first time in the history of Pakistan, Panahgahs were set up for labourers who came from other cities and did not have a place to spend night. They also get food at these facilities and send the money they save to their families back home, he added.
The network of Panahgahs would also be expanded, he assured the nation.
PM Imran Khan also spoke of how universal health insurance would be provided to all the people in Punjab and KP. Each citizen would enjoy an insurance worth Rs1 million to spend on their medical needs.
In the next phase the network of hospitals would be expanded and further reforms undertaken in the health sector.
The PM lauded CMs Buzdar and Khan, Saylani Welfare International Trust (SWIT), as well as his aide on poverty alleviation and social protection, Senator Dr Sania Nishtar, for successfully running the Ehsaas programme's different components, arranging finances, and ensuring transparency.
People should give Zakat and donations in the holy month of Ramadan to different Ehsaas programmes, he urged.
Initially, PM Imran Khan had launched the 'Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye Programme' in Rawalpindi and Islamabad on March 10 — both of which have so far served food to more than 38,000 people through the mobile kitchens.
The 'Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye Programme' was part of the prime minister's vision for 2021. By the year end, it would be further expanded to different parts of Pakistan.
According to him, the programme would ensure that nobody went to sleep at night on an empty stomach.
Dr Nishtar, who runs the Ehsaas Programme and its associated initiatives, briefed the participants about different aspects of the programme. A bank account number would be announced Monday to allow philanthropists to deposit their charity funds.
Separately, an SWIT delegation — comprising Maulana Bashir Farooq Qadri, Afzal Chamdia, Manzar Alam, and Farrukh Amin — called on PM Imran Khan today for a meeting, also attended by PTI lawmaker Farrukh Habib.
The SWIT welcomed PM Imran Khan's move, a statement from the Prime Minister's Office read. It offered to extend the scope of the programme to different cities, it added.
"The Prime Minister appreciated the SWIT's role in the Ehsaas Langar Khanas 'Koi Bhooka Na Soye' Programme," it noted.
"The Prime Minister assured that all possible facilities would be provided to expand the programme," the Prime Minister's Office wrote on Twitter.