President launches a scheme to create a new middle class in Sindh Benazir Income Support Programme

Karachi: President Asif Zardari Friday formally launched a scheme titled “Waseela e Haq Sindh” aimed at creating a new middle class in the province by providing self employment opportunities to thirty five thousand youth between the ages 19 to 35, who have at least passed secondary school examination and are unemployed.

The innovative program was launched by the President by pressing a computer button in Bilawal House that made huge computer screens display names of lucky winners of Rs 300,000 interest free loan to each to set up their own businesses ranging from transport to cattle raising and from auto workshops to pharmaceutical businesses regardless of the winner’s religion, political affiliation and urban rural divide.

Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that yet another condition that entitled youth to be included in the draw was that the family must score between 16 and 30 along the poverty scale devised by the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) in accordance with the internationally accepted standards for measuring poverty.

He said that the special scheme was devised under the directions of President Zardari and powered by Rs 12 billion contributed by the provincial government of Sindh from out of its budget. A large number of jobless youth having matric education in the province had qualified for inclusion in the draw out of which 35,000 were picked up by the computer randomly today, he said.

“Let those who merely boast of bringing change and raise hollow slogans witness today how change is brought about through the creation of new middle class, breaking the generational cycle of poverty and to power national growth and economy”, the President said while addressing the ceremony adding also, “The PPP is actually bringing about change while others were merely talking about it”.

The Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also pressed another computer button to randomly select another batch of over 13,700 beneficiaries under the normal BISP program of draws held after regular intervals. The beneficiaries of the normal program are also given Rs 300,000 interest free loan to start their own businesses, but is meant for even poorer sections of the society who score no more than 16.17 on the poverty score card.

The ceremony was witnessed by Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, provincial ministers, Parliamentarians, Chairperson BISP Farzana Raja as well as political workers and beneficiaries drawn from throughout the province. President Zardari also distributed cheques among BISP Waseele-e-Haq beneficiaries.

President appreciated Sindh Chief Minister for allocating Rs 12 billion for this programme which will give a new dimension and new style to self employment approach.

He suggested the selected persons under BISP to prefer cattle farming which has a high return adding that these cattle are also covered under insurance scheme.

“Small borrowers are honest and return their loans while large borrowers tend to default. So trust them and give them loan”, he said and added that small loaners have already started inquiring BISP how to return their loans.

President Zardari pointed out that his idea of currency swap for international trade has get support and so far three countries Russia, China and Turkey have agreed to this idea. Referring to his recent visit to Myanmar and meeting with pro democracy leader and Nobel laurate Ms Aung San Suy Kyi, he said that Pakistani President is the first leader in the world who had a meeting with her and conferred upon her Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Democracy Award.

He said PPP serves the people as a worship as we believe that politics is a worship. He said PPP will go into elections with the aim to serve people and not for the sake of votes. He said PPP workers have always given sacrifices for the party and they deserve better return and advised Chief Minister Sindh to give them jobs.

President Zardari said that he has accepted the responsibilities of being PPP’s co-chairperson and President of Pakistan as a trust of people and noted that only Bhutto’s can bear this burden. Conspirators are busy in hatching conspiracies and they come up each day with new plot, he said and added that Bhuttoism will prevail.

He vowed to make Pakistan as safer place to live and said that he will develop Pakistan and change its destiny. President Asif Ali Zardari has said that the success and international recognition of poverty alleviation program started by the Government in the name of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was not only a source of great pride and satisfaction for the Government but was also a source of personal satisfaction for him witnessing millions of beneficiaries being freed out of inter-generational poverty trap and were being empowered in a real manner.

“I can think of no other better way of paying homage to the legacy of our Shaheed Bibi than handing over to the poor what is their due”, the President remarked.

He said that it was a matter of pride for the nation that the Program named after their great leader, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, has not only progressed and was blossoming into a comprehensive social safety net but has attracted worldwide appreciation for its transparency, objectivity and efficiency. To have reached more than 6 million families in a span of three years is indeed a major achievement, the President continued.

Provision of interest free financing would help the beneficiaries to get out of the poverty trap while upholding their self-esteem, the President observed. He said that he was pleased to witness successful on-ground implementation of Waseela-e-Haq scheme.
He said that keeping the promises of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, the women beneficiaries of BISP family would get the cash for establishing their own business so they can start earning their livelihood and are financially empowered.

Financial empowerment of our women would not only give them confidence to lead better lives but would also save them from exploitation that invariably results due to their incapacity to support themselves financially.

He said that keeping in view the ratio of unemployed youth of Sindh, due to variety of reasons including the underdeveloped industrial and service sector, he had advised BISP to design and implement a special Waseela e Haq, worth Rs. 12 Billion, specifically for the educated and unemployed youth of Sindh in collaboration with the Government of Sindh.

He called upon BISP to start the Health protection services for its beneficiaries at the earliest while noting Life Insurance under Waseela e Sehet and Vocational training for BISP beneficiaries under Waseela e Rozgar schemes which were already underway.

The President also complimented Chairperson Benazir Income Support Program Ms. Farzana Raja and her team for making this social safety net program a success story.

Speaking at the occasion, Madame Farzana Raja, Chairperson BISP said that some opportunist elements are hell bent to term BISP a programme initiated to serve PPP workers which reflects their utter ignorance about this programme. She said that the PPP workers are those who have always laid their life for the sake of country and democracy and making demands as return is not their character.

She said added further that Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto scarified his life giving Pakistan its nuclear programme while Shaheed Benazir Bhutto gave Pakistan its missile technology to strengthen the defense of the country and finally laid her life in the same struggle for the country and its people.

Chairperson BISP said that that the provincial government has initiated Waseela-e-Haq Sindh for the educated jobless youth of the province in coordination with BISP. She said that the Waseela-e-Haq Sindh scheme reflects the vision of President Asif Ali Zardari.

She informed the audience that BISP would provide technological support to government of Sindh for executing this scheme which would provide benefit to 35 thousand jobless male female youth from the province with matriculation or above level education and age bracket of 19 to 35.

She said that these youth would be provided with an interest free loan of Rs. 3 Lacs each to initiate their own business while they would be provided a proper training to run a business as well. She said that Sindh government has allocated Rs. 12 billion to initiate this scheme.

For more information, contact:
Shafquat Ali
Assistant Media Officer
Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) – Sindh
Cell: +92333 239 4466