By Dr Saeed Ahmad Ali:
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is playing a great role in ending poverty in the country by supporting the poor and destitute strata of society through various relief packages, coordinated efforts and initiatives amid COVID-19 pandemic.
Combating the negative impact on the national economy due to spread of coronavirus, the government is making all-out efforts for wellbeing of the marginalised segments of the country while playing the ‘role of a mother’.
Prime Minister Imran Khan last Sunday inaugurated a free food service, under ‘Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye’ (EAKBNS) programme, through several truck-kitchens in Faisalabad, Lahore and Peshawar.
The premier said it was the responsibility of the state to take care of its marginalised, destitute and weaker segments, adding that the programme would help benefit the most deserving people across the country.
The prime minister thanked Saylani Welfare Trust for contributing to the noble cause of free food service. He also appreciated the efforts of chief ministers of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for taking interest in inauguration of the service in their provinces.
The initiative is an extension of the Ehsaas Langar, which aims to distribute cooked food, a document of Ehsaas programme said.
According to the Ehsaas document, in the 1st phase of the PM’s new initiative, special truck-kitchens will serve food in three cities of Pakistan, Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar. These trucks will cover the public places, slums and hospitals and provide meals to people.
Each food truck will help feed around 1,500 to 2,000 people daily on specified service points, the document adds.
The concept of truck kitchens ‘Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye’ is the vision of Prime Minister of Pakistan for 2021, which has been launched under the umbrella of Ehsaas to serve free meal boxes twice a day to daily-wage earners.
The programme would be expanded to other parts of the country later this year, in phase two and three soon, it says.
The coronavirus lockdown and restrictions have severely affected low-income households in a country where those falling in this category earn on average less than US$2 a day, the World Bank observed in its statement.
As per Asian Development Bank (ADB) statistics, a total of 24.3 per cent population of Pakistan lives below the national poverty line, while 3.9 per cent of employed class has the purchasing capacity up to US$1.90.
Giving detail of the ‘Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye’ operations, Senator Dr Sania Nishtar said in a statement that two trucks are currently serving the poor and labour class of the twin cities. Each truck feeds 1,500 to 2000 people daily on designated service points, she said adding that with the upcoming expansion to three other cities through 12 new truck kitchens, the initiative would reach those who cannot access ‘Ehsaas Panagahs’ or ‘Ehsaas Langars.
‘Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye’ is Prime Minister Imran Khan’s true vision towards establishment of Riyasat-e-Madina and he had committed his resolution for the year 2021 that ‘Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye’ would be launched to make sure that no one goes to bed empty stomach, she says.
The delivery of free meals would help the destitute and deserving people and daily-wage workers who hardly save anything to feed their young-ones and their families, she added.
The ‘Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye’ initiative was founded on the public-private partnership basis under the aegis of the Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal (PBM) for delivery of food through truck kitchens and Saylani Welfare International Trust (SIT) for provision of free meals.
Chairmen Businessmen Panel and former president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Mian Anjum Nisar said that ‘Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye’ was a people-friendly relief initiative, adding that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was successfully steering the country out of the economic crisis.
He said that it was for the first time that such massive programmes were providing relief to the needy strata of the country in every walk of life.
The Ehsaas Programme is providing a respectable living to a daily-wager and socioeconomic condition of the poor segments in the country is being improved, Nisar said while replying to a query.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had launched the new Kafalat Programme on January 31, 2020, according to which PKR 2,000 monthly cash payments was being made to 7 million poor women in the country.