Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday launched the extension of the “Meals on Wheels” program with an ambitious aim for ensuring that no one sleeps hungry across the country, with the addition of service to three more cities.
The Prime Minister’s program was launched a month back by the Prime Minister in Islamabad and has now been extended to Lahore, Faisalabad and Peshawar. The program is being run by Ehsaas, in collaboration with Saylani Welfare Trust and the donations of the philanthropists.
The event was attended virtually by Chief Ministers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan and Punjab Usman Buzdar who inaugurated the free food service in their respective provinces.
Daily wage earners, particularly the labourers and low-income people who could not afford to have access to Panahgaahs and Langarkhanas run by the government in partnership with the private sector would be the main beneficiaries.
In a virtual event held in Islamabad, Faisalabad, Lahore and Peshawar simultaneously, the prime minister along with chief minister Punjab Usman Buzdar and chief minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan launched the distribution of food among people through the kitchens on trucks in the three cities.
The Prime minister in his address on the occasion said Pakistan was made in the name of Islam which rose as a new civilization in a very short time and the Riyasat e Madina established itself as a model for rule of law and service to humanity.
He said the blessings of Allah are showered on those who feed the hungry and take care of the poor people. Pakistan, he said, was among the top countries whose people give an immense amount of charity.
He said when he planned to set up Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital, he was told even by doctors that it was difficult to run the cancer hospital. Now the hospital was giving free treatment to 70 per cent of cancer patients, he added.
“We fulfilled the promise with the people and gave free treatment to cancer patients and arranged for their food and accommodation.”
He told that first he established the cancer hospital in Lahore with Rs 700 million and uptil now it had already spent Rs 50 billion on the treatment of people. The second cancer hospital was built in Peshawar and the third will be constructed in Karachi.
People of Pakistan gave money for the construction of the three hospitals, he said adding now the same people will make the “Koi Bhooka Na Soye” Programme successful and there will be a network of these facilities across the country.
Imran Khan said for the first time in the history of Pakistan, Panahgaahs were set up for labourers who came from other cities and did not have a place to spend the night. They also get food at these Panahgaahs and save money to send it to their families back home. The network of Panahgaahs will also be expanded, he assured.
He said universal health insurance will be given to the whole population in the provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A citizen will have insurance of Rs one million to spend on his medical needs.
In the next phase, the network of hospitals will be expanded and further reforms will be undertaken in the health sector, he said.
He lauded chief ministers of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Senator Sania Nishter and Saylani Trust for successfully running the different components of the Ehsaas programme, for arranging finances and ensuring transparency.
He urged people to give Zakat and donations in the month of Ramzan for different Ehsaas programmes. Under the new food programme, four trucks in each city will distribute food among 500 to 1000 people every day at specific service points.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Senator Sania Nishter briefed the participants about different aspects of the Ehsaas programme.
She said on Monday a bank account number will be announced so that philanthropists could deposit their charity in it.
Currently, two custom-built Ehsaas food trucks are providing free cooked meals at different locations in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The meals are cooked, stored and distributed from trucks’ kitchen. Each food truck can feed around 2000 people daily and the service is provided 7 days a week, 365 days a year, twice daily.
The programme, part of the vision of the prime minister for the year 2021 has so far served food to over 38000 people. By year’s end, the “Koi Bhooka Na Soye” programme would be further expanded to different parts of the country.
A delegation of Saylani Trust Sunday called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and appreciated his government’s Ehsaas “Meals on Wheels, no one sleeps hungry” programme.
Bashir Farooq, Afzal Chimdia, Manzar Alam, Farraukh Amin, Irfan Wahid, Salman Iqbal, Imtiaz Hussain and Yousaf Lakhani were included in the delegation, PM office media wing in a press release said.
Farrukh Habib, member the National Assembly, was also present on the occasion.
The delegation offered its services in the expansion of this programme to other cities of the country.
The prime minister commended services of the Saylani Trust in Ehsaas Langar Khana and ‘no one sleeps hungry’ initiative.
He also assured the delegation of government’s full facilitation during the extension of this programme.