ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Friday directed secretary finance to immediately release the HEC funds as it was the matter pertaining to the future of thousands of students studying at home and abroad.
The prime minister gave these directions to the secretary finance on telephone. On the occasion, he said that no amount of complacency would be tolerated in this regard. He expressed these views while talking to Sheikh Waqas Akram, Federal Minister for Professional and Technical Training, who called on him at the PM House.
The minister congratulated him on becoming the country’s chief executive saying that it was the result of PM’s sheer hard work, loyalty to PPP’sideology and passion for people’s welfare. He said that Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s rise to the country’s top position from grass-root level was the reflection of democratic credentials of the PPP. He also appreciated the PPP leadership for rewarding its worker quite justifiably by inducting him into the post of the prime minister. He said that it spoke volumes about party’s representative character in the real sense. He challenged other political parties to give such positions to party workers. He said that rise of a hardcore political worker to the top executive post of the country had infused hope in the political activists and had set a new trend in the national politics, which other political parties should follow and exhibit real commitment to democracy and people’s empowerment.
Later, Tasneem Ahmad Qureshi, Minister of State for Water and Power, Sardar Saleem Haider, Minister of State for Defence and Moazzam Ali Jatoi, Minister of State for National Food Security and Research separately called on Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf at the PM House.
They felicitated him on assuming the responsibilities of the chief executive of the country. They said that induction of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf into the top political office of the country had sent an encouraging message to the middle class as well as the political workers. They said that the election of new PM proved that the workers were the backbone of the PPP. They said that those who braved dictatorial regimes and shed their blood and sweat for restoration of democracy were the real assets of the PPP and indeed of the country.
Earlier, the PM directed Chairperson BISP Farzana Raja to focus on the less developed areas of Balochistan and Fata in its operations to provide financial assistance to the poorest sections of the society. He further directed that provision of 10 per cent discount at Utility Stores to the Benazir Debit Card holders should be ensured as provided in the budget for the financial year 2012-13.
He said that he would soon visit BISP headquarters to get first-hand update on the programme, which is the flag-carrier initiative in the social safety net in the country. He said that transparency and outreach of the programme to the downtrodden segments of the society was the hallmark of BISP which is evident through the wide appreciation it received from the international donors. He said that BISP had been a major source for poverty alleviation in the country and the government would provide all possible resources to further expand its operations.
PM Raja noted that the allocation for the BISP had been raised from Rs50 billion to Rs70 billion in the next financial year to support the poorest of the poor.
BISP Chairperson Farzana Raja apprised the PM that the programme was a major socio-economic initiative of the PPP-led government providing financial support to six million poor families. She informed him that poverty survey had been a major success and so far 7 million families had been registered in this regard. She said that so far 0.4 million people from Balochistan had been registered and the survey would be completed in near future. “Regarding the Fata the survey is near completion as the people are taking interest in the registration process,” she said.
The PM directed that the people of North Waziristan Agency (NWA) and South Waziristan Agency (SWA) should also be included in the survey as every Pakistani should have equal right to benefit from the programme.
Farzana Raja also informed the premier that so far 1.5 million Benazir Debit cards had been issued under the programme to ensure transparency at every level.Later, Ayatullah Durrani, MNA, and Asma Arbab Alamgir, MNA, separately called on PM and congratulated him on assumption of the office of the country’s premier. Ayatullah Durrani invited the prime minister to visit Balochistan and initiate dialogue with the Baloch leaders in line with the declared policy of his government.