Govt to issue special cards to families below poverty line, NA told


Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Shah on Thursday informed the National Assembly that the government would soon issue special cards through BISP to people living below the poverty line, which would give them immunity from sales tax and electricity bills. “These special cards will be issued through BISP to facilitate the people living below the poverty line. The government is already providing health and life insurance to the people linked with the BISP,” he said while responding to a query in the question hour. The minister said relatives of 129 deceased who were on BISP record had received Rs 100,000 each.
Responding on behalf of the minister in-charge of the Cabinet Division, Shah said post masters or postmen were getting Rs 500 as bribe from people to give them their Rs 2,000 of BISP, while huge bribes were being offered for transfers and postings in post offices for this corruption. He said the BISP had closed this system and now the amount was being provided through banks. He said a survey was being conducted across the country to find out the families living below the poverty line, middle class and upper class. He said the survey in some of the area was halted due to security reasons, however, it would be completed by March 2012. Giving statement on reported privatisation of WAPDA, the minister said the government had no intension to privatise WAPDA. “This parliament has removed all black laws made by dictators against labourers and gave them privileges … some people are conspiring to bring labourers on to roads,” he said. Responding to a question regarding inflation and substandard food items available in restaurants along the motorway, Parliamentary Secretary for Communication Saeed Iqbal said the matter could only be resolved if powers were given to directors and assistant directors of motorway and the ministry would soon discuss it with the prime minister.
To another question regarding liver diseases and liver transplantation in Islamabad, Minister for Communication Arbab Alamgir said on behalf of the minister in-charge of the capital administration that a ward in Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences had been reserved for the purpose, while an intensive care unit (ICU) had also been established. He said the first liver transplant operation in the country would be carried out in a couple of months. Parliamentary Secretary Nawab Liaqat Ali Khan informed the House that the Ministry of National Food Security and Research had nothing to do with the supply of fertilizers, however, it used to inform the concerned ministry about the total demand of fertilizer. He claimed there was no shortage of urea fertilizer in the country at present.
He further said the ministry had no plan to introduce organic farming system in the country, however, Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) had tested it on micro level. He added that the system was not applicable in Pakistan due to certain reasons, such as farmers having to leave their land uncultivated for five years. Minister for Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said an amount of Rs 3,09,20,43,836 (Rs 3.921 billion) had been paid to various newspapers/periodicals against advertisement charges from July 2010 to November 2011. “The advertisement agencies are required to arrange the payments to the newspapers within 90 days of the publication of an advertisement,” she said in a written reply. She said the Press Information Department (PID) used to verify the advertisement bills soon after they were received from the concerned advertising agencies.