CHITRAL: Even though Pakistan has developed a database of its citizens in the form of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), it could not use the online information for providing social security to its marginalized citizens.
Every year, billions of rupees are set aside for Pakistan Baitul Maal (PBM) and Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) but a lion’s share of the taxpayers’ money end up in the pockets of non-deserving people, including corrupt government officials and supporters of political parties and groups.
When we have the database showing poor and people with disabilities, why funds allocated and supposed to be spent on their welfare never reach them? This is because the database is not used for social protection of the deserving poor rather the funds are mostly misused or doled out on the basis of political and other considerations.
When the BISP was launched, a survey was carried out to enlist poor and deserving people as beneficiaries of the scheme through a non-governmental organization in Chitral. During the survey, names of such people were included in the lists who did not deserve to get the monetary assistance at all. In some cases even more than four members of a single family were included in the lists.
In mot of the cases, BISP forms were used as a bribe to get votes. In many cases, forms were handed to workers of a political party to use it for getting votes. This political corruption left thousands of deserving people out of the BISP net while undeserving people continued getting the amount.
Still there is no system under which the billions of rupees set aside every year could be used for the welfare of the marginalized people.
A few weeks ago, a video clip showing five disabled siblings being taken care of by their 70-year-old father in Ashiret village of Chitral went viral on social media. It was strange to know that none of the five disabled children of Saeed Hameed was getting any financial support from the government departments. The old man has been taking care of his children for the last over 40 years without seeing any financial support from others.
Muhammad Qasim, the newly-appointed chairman of the District Zakat Committee Lower Chitral, on Wednesday visited the house of Mr Saeed Hameed in Ashiret along with rations. While talking to Mr Hameed, he regretted that the state had failed to discharge its responsibility of taking care of his children with disabilities.
The Zakat chairman also said even though the five siblings were special persons and visual impaired, their father continued their care without approaching any government organization seeing help. He assured Mr Hameed that for now onward the government would be providing financial help to the family in accordance with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
People of the village on the occasion also said so far no chairman or any other official from the district zakat committee had ever visited the family or provided any assistance to it. — Sher Jahan Sahil