Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan launched a hunger-free initiative and announced a direct subsidy to immediately support 30 million families and half of the country’s population from June 2021.
The programs aim to lessen the burden of rising inflation on Pakistan’s vulnerable population.
“Koi Bhuka Na Soye programme (No one should go to bed hungry) is the beginning of Pakistan’s transformation into a welfare state,” PM Imran Khan stated during his visit to one of the Ehsaas Langar Khana (soup kitchen) in Islamabad.
The prime minister also distributed meal boxes among the people after inspecting the food quality. The hunger-free initiative would “help the poor, deserving, labourers and daily wagers to save their hard-earned money to fulfill the needs of their children and families” instead of spending it on food items, he said.
Soup kitchens to end hunger
PM Khan said the mobile food trucks launched under the hunger-free initiative would offer free ready-to-eat food to the poor and needy twice a day in various parts of Islamabad and Rawalpindi cities where the project has been first initiated.
Each food truck would offer two meals to around 2,000 people daily and would cater to those people who do not have access to the 15 Panahgaahs (shelter homes) set up by the government all across the country for the poor people.
Dr Sania Nishtar, PM’s special aide on poverty allevaition and social protection, said the program was aimed at “providing two times hygienically packed food, lunch and dinner, to the needy individuals through mobile kitchens in urban and rural areas of Islamabad.” The soup kitchen project would be extended all across Pakistan to provide a free meal to the needy and hungry people.
Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PMB) that offers assistance to the disadvantaged in the country would be responsible for the operations of food trucks while Saylani welfare trust would look after the provision of meals.
“We are starting with two food trucks offering free, quality food at various points in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, including hospitals, bus stations and other public places with utmost dignity” and would soon expand the service to other cities, said PBM managing director Aon Abbas.
The prime minister also formally announced that the government’s plan to initiate a new program in June to offer direct subsidies that would help 30 million families buy essential food items.
PM Khan said the government is also considering a similar program for farmers to allow them access to fertilizer and other agricultural needs at subsidized rates.
Zero hunger initiative and universal health coverage for all citizens are the two public welfare projects that PM Imran Khan announced as his New Year’s resolutions as he vowed “to make Pakistan a welfare state” by the end of 2021.