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Sunday June 16, 2024

PBM using all means for relief, rehabilitation of flood victims

By Myra Imran
September 12, 2022

Islamabad : Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal (PBM) Amir Fida Paracha has urged all stakeholders to unite and play their role in the relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction process in flood-affected areas.

In an interview with ‘The News’, the new MD PBM talked about the current projects and challenges faced by the department and the role it can play in providing relief to flood victims. He also discussed the misperceptions around the welfare projects started by the previous government. Amir Fida Paracha said that the PBM is using all available human and financial resources to contribute to the relief and rehabilitation of flood victims. He said that the routes of ‘Meal on Wheel’ trucks have been revised to cover the maximum affected area.

“Besides that, PBM regional offices are working in close collaboration with Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) team in Sindh to address the relief needs. In fact, all our projects can cater to flood-affected people in different capacities during the relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction process.” Established in 1992 through an Act of Parliament, the PBM provides financial assistance to the destitute, widows, orphans, invalids, infirm, and other needy persons with an emphasis on rehabilitation. Under different projects, it provides educational assistance to needy orphans and stipends for the outstanding, non-affording students for higher professional education. In addition to that, residential accommodation and necessary facilities for the deserving, free medical treatment for indigent sick people, free hospitals and rehabilitation centres for the poor, and financial aid to charitable institutions are basic initiatives of PBM. It also sponsors and promotes self-employment schemes.

“Currently, PBM is running 162 Women Empowerment Centres at district level around the country where women receive training in different skills like computer courses, stitching, beauty parlour etc. Our shelter homes have provided shelter to more than 55 thousand people since September 2021. We are running 51 Sweet Homes for orphans in different parts of the country whereas 31 trucks provide meals to the needy under the Meal on Wheels programme.”

The Managing Director said that during the last three years, PBM has provided financial assistance to more than 3000 thalassemia patients. “We have established old-home in each provincial capital which we plan to expand to other areas as well. So far, 45,000 students have been passed out from 159 Pakistan Bait ul Mal schools for rehabilitation of child labor.” He further added that PBM provides financial assistance for wheelchairs, white canes, hearing aid, artificial limb, and artificial legs to special people under the Special Friends programme, education assistance to deserving poor students of government schools, universities, colleges, and Institutes, and medical aid for treatment in government hospitals.

Amir Fida Paracha negated the impression the projects of shelter homes and Meal on Wheal, initiated by the previous government have been closed. “Despite limited financial resources, the PBM is trying its level best to continue these projects as well as the project of Cochlear Implant despite the fact that it is an expansive treatment.” He said that one implant requires Rs1.3 million. “But all depend upon the financial resources available with the PBM. The previous government initiated these projects but no fund was reserved for them in the last budget presented by them,” he said.

Talking about the required budget for new projects, he said that they have received 2,300 applications for Cochlear Implant only which means Rs2 billion only for this initiative. “We demanded a budget of Rs12.5 billion for the current financial year but received Rs6 billion which was barely enough for the running cost of main projects and staff salaries,” he said adding that the Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Shazia Marri has moved the summery for additional funds and she intends to keep all projects running. He appreciated the philanthropist organizations and individuals for their assistance which contributes to a great extent in running these programmes that are meant to provide relief to the neediest segment of society.