President Asif Ali Zardari Thursday said the government was not afraid of terrorists and was determined to wipe out the cancer of terrorism from the country.
“We are not afraid of terrorists and the government, the people and myself are all steadfast in our resolve to wipe out this cancer from our society,” he said while launching Rs34 billion Benazir Income Support Programme by distributing cheques among the deserving people here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.
About the present economic situation, the president forcefully said Pakistan would not go bankrupt. “Pakistan is not going bankrupt. It is not a limited company that will go bankrupt. We are negotiating with the international community to address the situation,” he added.
President Zardari urged the business community to pay no heed to rumours being spread by unscrupulous elements. The president said he has full understanding that due to the present economic situation, there is a sense of depression and despair amongst the people. However, he assured the people that the government was taking effective measures to address the situation on war footing.
Under the BISP, families having income less than Rs6,000 per month would be paid Rs2,000 every two months. The president said nations often face crises but strong nations confront them with courage and boldness. “The people should have full faith that the present government has the ability and the means to confront these challenges,” he added.
The president said that the Benazir doctrine envisages peace and security for the people of Pakistan.He said Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto returned to her homeland despite serious threats to her life as she was determined to work for the downtrodden and the poor segments of society and bring true democracy in the country. “We are not afraid of death as we believe that death is guardian of life,” he said.
President Zardari also lauded chief of Awami National Party Asfandyar Wali Khan for fighting extremism and terrorism. “I salute him and will stand by my brother wherever he needs me.”On Kashmir issue, the president said there was no difference between the position and the philosophy of the Pakistan People’s Party and that of the country. “Those who know Pakistan People’s Party have no doubt that the party’s position on Kashmir dispute remains unchanged.”
The president described the holding of in-camera joint session of the Parliament on the security situation as a positive step towards strengthening democracy and democratic institutions. About BISP, President Zardari said this is the first programme in the country that will directly benefit the weaker sections of society. He said the welfare of women was a priority of the government and it was with this objective that the scheme has been initiated.
“I am pleased to launch the scheme in the name of great leader Benazir Bhutto Shaheed,” he said, adding, it is a step towards empowerment of the women and ameliorating the sufferings of the poorest of the poor.
“I wish Mohtarma was alive today to have launched the programme with her own hands,” he said. The programme to benefit as many as three million people will be implemented with complete transparency and by rising above political affiliations, the president said.
He said the recommendations of the parliamentarians would be kept in consideration while identifying the vulnerable sections of society. The president said the government has also directed Nadra to place all information about the financial transactions on its website so that the people may verify that the money is being given to the deserving, with complete openness.
The scheme will cover around 14 per cent of the population in the low-income group across the country, including FATA, the Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir. He said special focus of the scheme would be on the remote areas of Balochistan, Chitral, North and South Waziristan, Kohistan and Tharparkar.
The president handed over cheques to the deserving families. Prime Minsiter Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Chairman Senate and parliamentarians attended the event.Minister for IT and Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira, who is also looking after the BISP said the Benazir Income Support Programme will be the largest direct cash grant scheme in the country’s history and all members of parliament, irrespective of party affiliation, will be provided equal opportunities to recommend deserving families.
A unique feature of the scheme is that the payment will be made directly to the female head of the family and the amount will enable the family to meet 25-day requirement of wheat flour.
He said the Benazir Income Support Programme is the third largest allocation in the current budget and constitutes 0.3 per cent of GDP.For families earning Rs5000 per month, the Rs1,000 payout will amount to 20 per cent increase in their current purchasing power.
The funds would be disbursed through Pakistan Post and will be delivered by postal money order at the recipients’ addresses, so that they do not have to incur any cost or trouble in obtaining the amount.
He said under the scheme each parliamentarian would be given 8,000 forms, which would be distributed by MNAs and Senators in their respective constituencies. The forms will be verified by the union councillor as well as the area MNA.The parliamentarians will collect the completed forms and mail them to NADRA in pre-addressed envelopes provided by BISP.