Shel­ter for home­less

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

Prime Min­is­ter Im­ran Khan has made a good on his prom­ise of 'turn­ing Pakistan into a wel­fare state' by lay­ing the foun­da­tion stone of the first shel­ter home in Lahore. But as the brick and mor­tar struc­ture takes time to com­plete, in­struc­tions were is­sued for ar­rang­ing makeshift shel­ters for the home­less. The Punjab govern­ment was quick in pay­ing heed to the premier's call, as it set up tents at three dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions in the cap­i­tal city to ac­com­mo­date trav­ellers and peo­ple with no roofs over their heads.

As win­ter is upon us, the mea­sure was taken at an op­por­tune time. Poor peo­ple with lit­tle means to pro­tect them­selves against the na­ture are par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to un­for­giv­ing chilly weather when bit­ing cold leaves ev­ery­one shiv­er­ing. Even harder is the ex­is­tence of the skimpily-clad home­less peo­ple who of­ten have nowhere but an over­head bridge to sleep un­der. To come to terms with the sit­u­a­tion, the PM tweeted: 'I have asked CM Punjab to set up tents for peo­ple sleep­ing on foot­paths and pro­vide them food un­til the Panah Gahs (shel­ters) are built, as the weather is turn­ing in­creas­ingly cold'. In rapid re­sponse, the CM or­dered set­ting up of makeshift shel­ters at Data Dar­bar, Rail­way Sta­tion, Thokar Niaz Beg and Larry Adda and pro­vi­sion of quilts and food to the home­less. The PM was right in ob­serv­ing that those com­ing to the shel­ters rep­re­sented the voice­less 'who were not even vot­ers'. A spokesper­son for the Lahore dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tion said pas­sen­gers com­ing to the tem­po­rary shel­ters could spend the night and have food.

This mea­sure should earn the govern­ment good­will at a time when it is be­ing sub­jected to crit­i­cism by its de­trac­tors over many of its gaffes and mis­steps. There is no deny­ing the fact that it is the state's re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­vide refuge to the home­less. The task as­sumes even more ur­gency given the sheer size of the prob­lem. The PDP Foun­da­tion, an NGO, es­ti­mates that there are about 20 mil­lion home­less peo­ple in Pakistan. We must ap­pre­ci­ate the govern­ment step to grap­ple with the hu­man­i­tar­ian is­sue. There is a dire need to com­pletely over­haul this is­sue and come up with com­plete so­lu­tion so that the down­trod­den get re­lief in real sense and the shel­ter home projects does not fall into the trap of cor­rup­tion in food and other items. As in Pakistan so many good ini­tia­tive are marred with cor­rup­tion prac­tices and some time al­le­ga­tion for per­sonal grudge. More­over, on this sen­si­tive and im­per­a­tive is­sue there should be no pol­i­tics rather all po­lit­i­cal par­ties should co­op­er­a­tive and give sug­ges­tions to make this project a suc­cess.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.