LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) senior leader and former deputy prime minister Chaudhary Parvez Elahi said on Thursday that the rulers had made life difficult for the public, evidenced by their lack of enthusiasm in public service projects and their attempts to close down ongoing ones, including Rescue 1122.
He was addressing a delegation of representatives from different non-government organisations (NGOs) which called on him, under the guidance of civil society head Abdullah Malik, at his residence. The visiting delegation apprised Chaudhary Parvez of their problems.
The NGOs being represented in the delegation’s visit included Aurat Foundation, Bardasht Foundation, Homeland Pakistan, Labour Education Foundation, Teachers Association Foundation, Awaz Foundation and Bhatta Mazdoor and Child Labour Foundation. Among those representing their respective NGOs were Khalid Mahmud Chaudhry, Mehr Safdar Ali, Anjum Rafiq, Amna Ulfat, Naseemur Rehman, Samiya Yousuf, Shehnaz Iqbal, Sarah Sheeraz and Ruqaiyya Siddiqui.
According to reports, the head of the delegation told Chaudhary Parvez that the projects launched under his guidance had contained vision, whereas the current rulers not only did not do anything for the public but also kept the development sector including NGOs from making any positive contribution.
Responding to their grievances, Chaudhary Parvez Elahi said that the focus of his politics had always remained on the common and poor people of the country, adding that this was the reason he and his party did special welfare work for the deprived segments. He said that he and his party had launched such projects as giving free education and books to students of classes up to matriculation, providing free medicines in emergency situations, fixing stipends for children, passing a legislation regarding child beggars and establishing institutions where child beggars are given education. He added that 14 gangs operating in Lahore who forced children into begging were arrested and punished under the Child Protection Bureau.
He added that his party had launched projects despite opposition from Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, adding that the latter was forced to go along with their projects due to the good results they bore. These, he said, included the provision of wheelchairs, hearing aids, free transport and uniforms to young patients afflicted with polio and other disabilities. He added that, in his tenure, the salaries of teachers teaching special children had been raised while Rescue 1122 had been launched which was still running successfully.
He said that every aspect of projects launched under his leadership was first reviewed and examined, adding that this was the reason why Shehbaz Sharif had not be able to close them.
During the meeting, the civil society representatives expressed their hopes that the problems faced by NGOs would be raised in legislatures, and the “inhumane” treatment being meted out to them presently would stop.