'Govt committed to improving lot of downtrodden'

ISLAMABAD (APP)- Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Chairperson Farzana Raja Friday said that government was taking steps to bring revolutionary changes in the system, fulfilling its promises made before February 18, 2008. Following BB's vision, the government is striving to prioritise the welfare of marginalised segments of society, she said that in connection with Democracy Day. The changes to strengthen democratic process and democratic institutions cannot be brought overnight but still the present government has proved its commitment by taking various steps for the development of the country, she said in an exclusive interview with this news agency. The government has lifted ban from the student unions so they can raise their voice against injustices and abolished the anti-worker Industrial Relations Ordinance (IRO) 2002 and introduced worker friendly Industrial Relations Act 2008. Media is also provided freedom of expression to give a true picture of prevailing issues and circumstances in the society. The harassment bill passed to provide women an environment free of harassment at work place so that their full energies can be utilised in the development process. Farzana Raja said that the approval of youth policy is also a remarkable achievement as youth was deprived of an official document that would help to harness their potential in right direction. The construction of small houses for poor under recently launched small house scheme and provision of employment opportunities are the top priorities of the government, she informed. The government has struggled hard for strengthening the institutions as well as ensuring free judiciary. The judges were released and Dr Qadeer is also announced as free citizen. The judges have been restored and government is committed for restoration of Chief Justice. "We do not believe on politics of personalities, we always prefer to work for the betterment of the masses. To strengthen the Parliament, PPP has given Charter of Democracy (CoD) to its coalition partners, she said while urging all the parties to work collectively to solve problems of the masses. About Benazir Income Support Programme, the chairperson said the government is targeting the less privileged class for providing economic assistance. The scheme will be extended to health and life sectors. The poverty survey will be completed till the end of the year. The programme due to its transparency and uniqueness captured the attention of the world, she added. "Our main focus is on 'Roti, Kapra and Makaan', she said. Following BB's vision, government is taking forward the 3Ds policy that include Dialogue, Development and Deterrence to resolve the issue of Tribal Areas. In President's recent visit to NWFP, he announced special package forrehabilitation of the people living in FATA and strongly condemned the destruction of educational institutions by extremists. The PPP history is full with the sacrifices, the great party leaders Mohtarma Benazir and Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto have sacrificed their lives for the country. The President Zardari spent 11 years in prison. "People are with us and we would go ahead taking our masses into full confidence", she said.

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