LAHORE – Speakers at a seminar have stressed the need for proactive role of the media to address the issues of the senior citizens, besides imparting religious education to the children and youth at home and educational institutions to maintain their morals so they give respect and take care of their elders as a duty.

The seminar was organised by Hameed Nizami Press Institute of Pakistan (HNPIP) on Tuesday to discuss the issue of ‘Problems of Senior Citizens and Human Rights - Role of Media’.

Chief Justice (r) of Lahore High Court and Federal Shariat Court, Mian Mehboob Ahmed was the chief guest on the occasion, while the guests included Major General (r) Ashraf Chaudhry, Senior Citizens Foundation Pakistan President, Malik Muhammad Hussain, former DGPR DG and Dr Muhammad Ajmal Niazi, Patron-in-Chief, Punjab Pensioners Association and columnist. HNPIP Director Absar Abdul Ali conducted the programme.

Malik Muhammad Hussain said it was shameful that the needs of the senior citizens have not been fulfilled despite being a Muslim country and the old age persons have to stand in the long queues of the banks for getting their pension and same was the case at the public sector hospitals, besides at other government institutions.

He said that the senior citizens outside the ambit of the retired government employees have to face more difficulties, as they have no financial or other security when they reach at old age.

He said that Holy Quran ensured the rights of the senior citizens whether they were parents or other elderly people, however there was dire need for legislation following the directions of Quran.

Malik said that the media which has become extremely powerful over the years could play a vital role in ensuring the rights of the senior citizens.

He proposed that media could publish and air advertisements with slogans to aware the masses about the senior citizens issues, besides holding talk shows and feature writing to highlight one of the serious issues of our society. He also proposed wall-chalking and running advertisements on public transport with the assistance of the government and private sector for awareness.

Ashraf Chaudhary discussing the issue said that they under the banner of the foundation were making efforts to ensure various facilities for the senior citizens, however the poor response of the rulers was dumping their endeavours. He said that the foundation has written several letters to the federal government and at last the government told us that after the passage of 18th Amendment the senior citizens issue came under the ambit of the provincial government concerned while the Punjab government has also not taken any major step to address the problems of the senior citizens. He said that due to efforts of the foundation, senior citizens get separate windows at the post offices and banks besides some transport concessions with the cooperation of the Lahore Transport Company.

Ashraf said that they have not been succeeded in getting some space for the senior citizens at the public hospitals and they have only been provided 10 to 15 percent concession for the senior citizens at cantonment hospitals. He said that media being the most powerful tool to influence the policymakers in the government could play an important role to press the government for addressing the problems of the senior citizens.