Tents set up for Lahore’s homeless on PM’s orders

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LAHORE: The Punjab government has started installing tents to accommodate homeless people until proper Panah Gahs (shelters) are constructed.

Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation for the first of five shelters for the homeless in Lahore and one in Rawalpindi earlier in November. In a tweet, he had said the government is “committed to building a social net for our poor citizens so everyone has a shelter over their head”.

However, as the shelters are yet to be constructed, PM Khan on Saturday directed Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to provide food and tents to the homeless as cold weather approaches.

“I have asked CM Punjab to set up tents for people sleeping on footpaths and provide them food until the Panah Gahs (shelters) are built, as the weather is turning increasingly cold. Peshawar and Karachi spots also being located,” tweeted the premier.

In a subsequent tweet, the prime minister said that the tents were being set up in Lahore as temporary shelters for the homeless sleeping on footpaths of the provincial capital.

He also shared the images showing packs of new quilts, bedspreads and pillows placed inside the tents yet being erected by the workers.

Another picture showed homeless people enjoying food served to them at the temporary shelter.

Last month, PM Imran had also said that the government wants to build houses under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme for those who ordinarily do not even dream of owning a house, as they fall in low-income group and barely manage to find a shelter.

“Our target is to build five million homes in five years. The homes are to be made for the common man, who earns Rs10,000 to 25,000 a month,” PM Khan had said.

The premier, vowing that he will supervise the project himself, had expressed confidence that the programme would not only provide affordable housing to the poor but also create employment opportunities in the country.

“The project will also attract local and foreign investment,” he had said.

“A special housing authority would be established in three months to serve as one window for all construction-related formalities. A task force would look after the housing project until then,” he had added.

In its initial stages, the mega-project will be launched in seven cities, including Muzaffarabad, Sukkur, Quetta, Gilgit-Baltistan, Dera Ismail Khan, Faisalabad and Islamabad whereas spots for construction of shelters are also being located in Peshawar and Karachi.