Imran Khan
Imran Khan inaugurates the first Langar Khana (soup kitchen) in Islamabad to provide free food to the poor. Image Credit: Social media

Dubai: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has launched a new initiative to provide free food to the poor and homeless across the country

He inaugurated the first soup kitchen as part of the project called ‘Ehsas Salyani Langar’ in Islamabad on Monday.

At least 112 such Langar Khanas (soup kitchens) to distribute free food will be opened across Pakistan within a year. The target is to open a total of 1200 Langar Khanas across the country.

“It is one of the biggest projects of the government’s Ehsaas (care) Programme that aims to combat hunger throughout the country,” said Imran Khan at the inauguration ceremony.

Imran himself stood in the queue behind two labourers at the Langar Khan and put food in his plate on his turn but later he shared the lunch with the already present poor people gathered for free meal at the venue.

The scheme, which has been launched in coordination with the Saylani Trust, one of the country’s biggest welfare organisations, aims to provide hygienic food to the poor.

Saylani Welfare International Trust is a Pakistani charity focusing primarily on feeding the homeless. It was established in May 1999 and is based in Karachi, Pakistan. It was founded and headed by famous spiritual and religious scholar Maulana Bashir Farooq Qadri. The charity provides free food to needy thrice a day.

Prime Minister Imran said some people were getting impatient with the government and questioning about the existence of the ‘Naya Pakistan’ after just one-and-a-half year.

“They must know that wrong practices of 70 years take time to phase out. But I assure you, this country will overcome tough times and witness a new dawn of progress and prosperity,” he said.

With the government’s vision of making Pakistan a welfare state, he said that steps were afoot to provide poor basic necessities of life including food and shelter.

He mentioned that the government had launched several welfare schemes for improvement of healthcare, police system and women-centric issues, with a basic objective of facilitating the common people.

More to come

Dr Sania Nishtar, Chairperson of Ehsas (care) Programme said the Langar (free food) project was in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan who wanted that no person in the country slept with empty stomach and under the open skies.

She said by next year, 112 Langars (free food venues) would be opened in collaboration Saylani Trust, to provide quality meals to the needy persons in a dignified manner.

Founder Saylani Welfare International Trust Bashir Farooq said Pakistan was blessed to have Imran Khan as a prime minister who had a firm intention to make the country a welfare state which took care of poor, homeless and abandoned people.

He said the Langar Khana in Islamabad would also provide 120-bed accommodation for the needy and travelers besides providing free food.

Dr Nishtar said that Prime Minister Imran had instructed that the food at the soup kitchens must be hygienic and provided to people in ample proportions “with respect”.

“[The prime minister] has instructed that no person should go to bed hungry. This Ehsaas Langar programme has been launched in accordance with his wishes,” she told the people present.

‘State of Madina wasn’t established in a day’

Prime Minister Imran congratulated Dr Nishtar as well as the Saylani Trust for initiating the programme and said that none of the previous administrations had spent on welfare as much as his own government.