Federal cabinet approves bill for welfare of senior citizens

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–Firdous says govt will build an old age home to protect the fundamental rights of senior citizens

–Govt approves Hajj Policy 2019 to facilitate pilgrims with the aim of making Hajj scandal-free

–Qadri says govt will return some money to pilgrims as it saved huge amounts by ‘excellent bargaining’

–Zubair Gilani appointed as new Board of Investment chairman

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet, which met in Islamabad on Tuesday with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair, formally approved Senior Citizen Bill 2019 for the welfare of senior citizens.

This was stated by Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, flanked with Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Dr Noorul Haq Qadri, in a media briefing in Islamabad.

She said that an old age home will be established in Islamabad, which will be later on extended to other parts of the country. “There is no greater tragedy than the fact that the ones who raise half a dozen children are not taken care of when it is their turn,” she said, adding that “in view of these societal gaps we see, the challenges that the society faces nowadays, and the fact that our social fabric is being destroyed, the prime minister has approved this bill for legislation”.

She said that the fundamental rights of senior citizens would be protected under the proposed law. “For the past 12 years, I have been running an old age home in Sialkot which stems from my ‘addiction’ to social work. I am happy that the prime minister and I, along with the cabinet, are just as ‘addicted’ to social welfare and the need to serve people,” she added.

HAJJ POLICY 2019:

Firdous also said that federal cabinet approved the Hajj Policy 2019 and the prime minister has directed to make Hajj 2019 scandal-free and provide all possible facilities to the intending pilgrims.

She said that PM Imran will himself inaugurate Hajj flight operation and for the first time Pakistani pilgrims will leave Islamabad airport after completing all formalities of immigration for a hassle free journey to the holy land.

Dr Noorul Haq Qadri said for the first time Saudi Arabia is extending e-visa facility to Pakistani pilgrims. He said that this year, 200,000 Pakistani pilgrims will perform Hajj and the government has made excellent arrangements for their transportation, food, and accommodation.

He said that a sum of 25,000 to 58,000 rupees will be returned to Pakistani pilgrims under government Hajj Scheme as the government has successfully saved amount from excellently bargaining in transport and accommodation matters.

Dr Noorul Haq Qadri said that latest model air-conditioned buses have been hired for the transportation of Pakistani pilgrims. He added that Pakistani food will be provided to Pakistani pilgrims.

Speaking about other decisions of the federal cabinet, Firdous said that the cabinet also approved National Commission on Rights of Child to prepare a database of abducted and missing children, procedure for work visas with North Korea, and appointment of Zubair Gilani as new the chairman of Board of Investment.

Firdous said that the prime minister directed Capital Development Authority (CDA) to prepare a new master plan to address housing and other civic issues in the federal capital.

She said that the cabinet approved abolishing of prize bond with the denomination of 40,000 rupees to check black money.

She said that it has been decided that Pakistan Steel Mills will not be privatized, adding that it will be revamped with new vision and approach. “PSM is a national asset and it will be run on public-private partnership basis.” She added.

The special assistant said it is prime minister’s vision to forge a partnership with overseas Pakistanis. She said that the prime minister has directed establishment of facilitation counters for overseas Pakistanis at all airports.