No aspect of Pakistan is free of controversies. There is rarely an organization on an administrative level that isn’t benefiting the pockets of the ones in-charge. Unfortunately, greed didn’t spare welfare programs either. Benazir Income Support Program, established in 2008 is the single largest social safety net program in the country. Recently, it came under scrutiny for its preferential treatment of supporters of other parties except for that of PTI.
BISP ignores candidates that support the incumbent government.
The lawmakers of Pakistan claimed that BISP isn’t independent of personal motives. Further claiming that it prioritizes PPP supporters first and then that of opposition parties; excluding backers of PTI. Now, BISP has another problem at hand as the PTI government decided to remove around 800,000 people from availing the BISP.
This news came after the government found loopholes regarding the financial conditions of the beneficiaries; which included families of government employees and those who own at least one vehicle in their name.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation Sania Nishtar submitted a proposal requesting to exit 820,165 BISP beneficiaries on grounds of criteria posted by her, in a tweet.
Sania Nishtar’s ‘exit criteria’ for BISP beneficiaries!
I wish to thank the Cabinet for approving my proposal: exiting 820,165 @bisp_pakistan beneficiaries. Using forensic data analysis, we found they were ineligible for support based on the crtieria below. This translates into saving of PKR 16 billion for the government annually. pic.twitter.com/diwEzQ1IGq
— Sania Nishtar (@SaniaNishtar) December 24, 2019
Nishtar informed about the process through which these individuals were identified. Moreover, the process was achieved through forensic data analysis with the help of the National Database and Registration Authority. Among the factors included whether the beneficiary or their spouse was a government employee, whether they owned a car or a motorcycle and moreover, whether they or their spouse traveled abroad or not.
Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari’s stance on this move.
This news didn’t sit well with many including with Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari, daughter of former PM Benazir Bhutto- who criticized the weak criteria.
Since BISP has helped millions of needy Pakistani women, helping them in becoming independent; she said, “Almost 1 million beneficiaries of the only social safety net for women are cut off for meeting just one of the ridiculous criteria. Shameful that the idea of further suppressing and taking away independence of a woman came from a woman. Cut off from monthly stipend because of her husband’s phone bill,”
In another tweet, she expressed her concerns.
God forbid they APPLIED 4 a passport or travelled abroad ONCE (no analysis on whether it was even gov umra/hajj grant). How does this legitimatise removing stipend. Just when u thought the PTIMF gov couldn’t stoop lower than bulldozing shops & 600% increase on all commodities 🤦♀️ https://t.co/asDgY06WnG
— Bakhtawar B-Zardari (@BakhtawarBZ) December 25, 2019
Unfair, illogical and weak; especially the one regarding traveling abroad. However, Dr. S Nishtar has maintained this to be the ultimate factor and has received the approval from the federal cabinet.
What are your thoughts on this? Comment below!