Islamabad : With the inauguration of an Ehsaas Saylani langar at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences here on Friday, the availability of two square meals will no more be a worry for patients...
Islamabad : With the inauguration of an Ehsaas Saylani langar at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) here on Friday, the availability of two square meals will no more be a worry for patients and attendants traveling to Islamabad for treatment from far-flung areas, with scant or no resources to buy food and shelter. The langar will serve two meals a day to at least 1,000 persons, including patients and their attendants.
The PM’s Special Advisor on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar and Advisor on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza performed the groundbreaking of the PIMS langar in the presence of Advisor to Chairman of Saylani Welfare International Trust (SWIT) Muhammad Afzal Chamdia, SWIT’s Chief Operating Officer Muhammad Ghazzal, and Executive Director of PIMS Dr. Ansar. The first prototype langar was inaugurated by the PM on October 7, 2019 at Peshawar More in Islamabad.
While there has been lot of criticism on langars, who better than a poor patient, an attendant, a laborer, or a homeless person, who will otherwise sleep on an empty stomach, explain how the availability of free food has lessened their despair and restored their dignity and self-reliance. Free food is a blessing for those whose lifespan is dotted with days when they have had to almost forgo lunch or dinner. Langars are part of the PM’s ‘Mazdoor ka Ehsaas’ initiative and are primarily meant to serve meals to poorest segments of the society, especially daily wage laborers. The project has specifically been designed with the ethos to contribute to SDGs 1 and 2 i.e., no poverty and zero hunger, respectively.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Sania said, “The Prime Minister is personally committed to ensuring that no one goes to bed hungry in Pakistan and Ehsaas is working hard to realize that vision.” Elaborating, she said, “Under the Ehsaas framework, the government is mainly extending logistic support to langars through a strategic approach to collaboration with zero cost implications. The second way in which the government is playing its role is by setting safety and quality standards, and the third is by disseminating information widely.”
“We are glad to give free space for the langar at PIMS. Families of poor patients will be served here,” remarked Dr. Zafar. Afzal Chamdia thanked the government for extending on-the-ground facilitation and reassured that the Trust will continue to bring in all its kitchen and food distribution resources to feed the marginalized. Dr. Ansar also lauded the support of the government and SWIT in opening the langar at PIMS and pledged full cooperation to the cause.
In the first phase, Ehsaas Saylani Langars will be opened in Peshawar, Swat, Multan, Lahore and Umer Kot in the next two months. Overall, in the public-private partnership with SWIT, Ehsaas will set up 112 langars nationwide over a two-year period.
SWIT, which is partnering with Ehsaas on this initiative, is a reputable Pakistani charity focusing on social welfare of the poor and distressed. The Trust already provides over 70,000 meals a day, and with government’s support, this will be doubled. Under the Ehsaas Saylani agreement, the expectation is that the trust will provide healthy and nutritious meals, ensure quality of food, cleanliness in the premises; and that in each langar, hand-washing will be promoted, trans-fats will not be used in cooking, salt will be kept to a minimum, and nutrition guidelines adopted by Ehsaas will be followed.