Tuesday October 19, 2021

Senior citizens need attention

Nearly all over the world senior citizens are given special benefits, not only to help them physically but in the form of discounted rates on medical needs and travel etc: but unfortunately in Pakistan there are no such concessions available - all governments have been oblivious and indifferent to the difficulties faced by them. While legislators are quick to take up the issue of a raise in salary for themselves, they are not bothered about the elderly population of the constituency they represent, the majority of which tries to manage with a pension or has to depend on their children for support. The government gives subsidies worth billions of rupees to farmers, traders and industrialists and it distributes free laptops to students but senior citizens/pensioners are always ignored.

There are no old age benefits both monetarily as well as seeing to it that there are wheelchair ramps in buildings; hand rail supports in places where there are stairs and steps and reserved seats in public transport. A law was passed a year or so about this issue but it has not been implemented by all establishments.

Good ‘Old Age Homes’ as they are called, need to be established all over the country for those elderly persons that do not have anyone to care for them or they are not looked after by their children - something which is happening more frequently than it used to as the younger generation gets more self-centered and can’t be bothered. The few establishments set up by the present government to feed and house laborers are a step in the right direction because many of them are on the elderly side, but they are not enough.

Speaking to a number of senior citizens from different walks of life, the same complaint was heard - they feel neglected by the government. Those who have served their entire life in government organizations get a measly pension which they commute and put into a scheme that will give a decent return on their investment. Many of them say that in the next election they will vote for the political party that includes taking care of senior citizens in its manifesto - something which is not a priority for any of the dozens of parties that exist.