KARACHI    -   Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety and PPPP Central Information Secretary Shazia Marri has said that PTI chief Imran Khan is not a bit worried about the sufferings of flood affected people and inundated areas of the country.

She said that the international community was sympathizing with the flood victims but Imran Khan was setting up concerts. The federal minister said that the national leadership’s priority was to rehabilitate the flood affected people. While expressing regret at Imran Khan, she said that Imran Khan was spending money on holding public gatherings instead of helping the flood affectees. Shazia Marri said that Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) in collaboration with World Food Programme (WFP) had decided to cover the flood affected pregnant mothers and children under the Benazir Nashonuma Programme.

“For this purpose, an additional amount of one billion rupees would be allocated for flood affected mothers and children apart from the existing beneficiaries” Shazia Marri said while talking to APP. The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) intervention of Benazir Nashonuma was designed by BISP in August, 2020 to increase the uptake of health and nutrition services of its beneficiaries. The primary objectives of the programme is to prevent stunting in children under two years of age, improve weight gain of pregnant women during pregnancy, reduce anemia and micronutrient deficiencies and prevent low birth weight.

World Food Programme is the lead implementing partner for Benazir Nashonuma. The total budget of the three-year programme is approximately Rs 8.52 billion. A total of 50 Benazir Nashonuma Centres across 14 districts are being established countrywide at the district and tehsil level to provide health services and conditional cash transfers under two years old; Rs1500 for a boy child and mother and Rs 2000 for a girl child mainly to prevent children from stunting growth issue.

The programme has enrolled 99,190 beneficiaries and disbursed Rs 310.81 million till March during the Fiscal Year 2022, since inception. Besides this programme, BISP has been given the task of disbursing Rs. 25,000 per family to the flood victims by the Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif considering the severity of flood situation in the country. Shazia Marri said it is a matter of honour for the BISP team that the prime minister has selected this program for the cash relief disbursement.

BISP has once again broken its own previous record of disbursing cash assistance among the flood affected families in a short time despite unusual circumstances for which its team deserves appreciation. The monitoring teams of BISP have been formed to ensure transparency in the cash disbursement process while the concerned officers are visiting the relief centers and monitoring the provision of assistance, she said while expressing the commitment that “BISP will not compromise on duties”.

The minister said that over 20 FIRs have been registered against those involved in the illegal deductions from the BISP payments to the flood affected families.”Zero tolerance policy has been adopted against those involved in illegal deductions from payments of the affected families”, she added. She said around 33 million people have been displaced at national level as a result of the recent floods which is a big number. Shazia Marri said the people of Pakistan are a part of the global community and are suffering from huge flood devastation. She urged the international community and philanthropists to stand with the flood victims and extend support, “We need more tents, ration and essentials for the flood affected people”, she added.