ISLAMABAD - Federal Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir on Monday said the recently signed MoU with Ali Baba has added new dimensions to development of E-commerce industry in Pakistan which can be used for the benefit of poor women.

While speaking at the first exhibition of beneficiary hand embroidered shawls and BISP E-commerce Launch at Lok Virsa, he said it is heartening to see the poorest women being linked with E-commerce by Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). The recently signed MoU with Ali Baba by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, during his visit to China, has added new dimensions to development of E-commerce industry in Pakistan, so it is high time to use E-commerce for the benefit of poor women, he added.

‘BISP brand shawls’ exhibition is part of BISP poverty graduation model, the pilot phase of which started three weeks back where traditional shawls made by beneficiaries from Haripur, Kohat, Swabi, Nowshera, Swat, DI khan (KPK), Thatta, Sujawal, Karachi, (Sindh), Renala Khurd, Mianwali, Gujrat, Bahawalpur (Punjab), Skardu, Astore, Nagar (Gilgit-Baltistan), Bhimber, Muzafarabad, Poonch, Neelum (AJK), Qilla Abdullah, Quetta, Sibbi and Loralai (Balochistan) were received that were displayed at the exhibition. These shawls can also be ordered online at TCS launched by the minister. The entire amount received from sale of shawls will go directly to beneficiaries.

Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil khan Bizenjo, Federal Minister for Law & Justice Zahid Hamid, Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training Balighur Rehman, PM’s Special Assistant on Human Rights Barrister Zafarullah Khan and a number of foreign dignitaries, ambassadors, parliamentarians, government officials, civil society, media and public attended the event. The exhibition showcasing BISP Brand shawls will continue till June 23, 2017. BISP Chairperson Marvi Memon said that BISP is trying to come up with graduation strategies that are most relevant, economical and productive. Through the provision of E-commerce platform, BISP aims at harnessing entrepreneurial potential of its beneficiaries, she added. This exhibition will not only preserve the tradition but promote work of rural women as well, thus helping them graduate out of poverty, she said.

She said that in the FY2017-18, BISP beneficiary families who are willing to start their own businesses will be provided with training as well as a one-time cash grant of Rs50,000 to start their own business and become productive members of society. Initially, this grant is proposed to be provided to 250,000 families that will enable them to graduate out of poverty. Famous Fashion Designer Sonya Batla, who served as a master judge, appreciated BISP for bringing out the talent of the rural women to the world. She chose 12 best shawls from different provinces and regions and offered the winners to work with Sonya Batla brand. The BISP chairperson expressed hope that the exhibition would receive positive response from the community and reiterated that it is a quality purchase that would help poor women, thus contributing in poverty alleviation. She said that the shawls are priced between Rs3000 to Rs5000 and a single time sale of a shawl would make beneficiary earn as much amount as she gets in form of quarterly stipend. She urged public to encourage this initiative and play their part as responsible citizens.