Ending corruption key to poverty alleviation: President

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STAFF REPORT

ISLAMABAD

President Dr Arif Alvi Wednesday terming corruption as a major cause behind poverty, said ensuring the people’s access to basic needs of health, education and shelter could bring real change in their lives.

Addressing a day-long seminar on ‘Poverty Alleviation in Pakistan – Learning from Success Stories’ organized by the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI) here, the president said change of a few leaders could not realize the dream of a New Pakistan unless the common man enjoyed the real change in the shape of socio-economic equality.

President Alvi said it was a test case for every public institution and ministries to ensure how Pakistan could witness a real change in terms of poverty alleviation.

He said the prime basis of the foundation of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was to give realization to the common man about his right to basic needs, including health and education.

He mentioned that charity remained a remarkable aspect of the Pakistani society for poverty alleviation. He, however, stressed that the state had a responsibility in judicious dispensation of resources amongst the people belonging to different socio-economic classes.

The president said Islam laid down guiding principles about the distribution of wealth to end poverty and mentioned that in the Holy Quran, 12 verses emphasized on poverty alleviation – 10 about material poverty and two regarding the spiritual poverty.

In the Islamic history, he said, the Bait-ul-Maal was a good administrative inspiration to deal with the challenge of poverty. Also, the spirit behind fasting was to realize the hunger of the people deprived of food, he added.

The president said empowerment of women by ensuring their inheritance rights, vocational training to help the people earn livelihood and addressing the challenge of malnutrition to avoid stunted growth of children was also among other important aspects of poverty alleviation.

He appreciated the government’s Ehsaas initiative aimed at bringing socio-economic parity among the people and lifting them out of poverty.

He said athough the government had taken steps to cut expenditures in every sector, yet there was need to sensitize the society’s opinion leaders, including parliamentarians, media and prayer leaders at mosques.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar highlighted the salient features of Ehsaas Programme that encompassed the areas of social welfare, investment in human capital, vocational training and managing the  state capital by diverting resources from a few powerful elite to poor.

ISSI Director General Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry said poverty remained a worst enemy of humanity and mentioned China’s leading example of lifting 700 million people out of poverty. He said Pakistan’s challenges were growing with time to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood, Chinese Deputy Chief of Mission Lijian Zhao, intellectuals and academia attended the event.