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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday announced to expand the network of meals-on-wheels kitchens under ‘Ehsaas Koi Bhooka Na Soye’ (EKBNS) programme to the entire country gradually.

The prime minister was addressing a virtual ceremony to inaugurate expansion of EKBNS programme in three more cities including Peshawar, Lahore and Faisalabad and expressed resolve to expand the network of meals-on-wheels kitchens to the entire country in a gradual manner.

He said it is the responsibility of State to take care of weaker segments of society and the programme will benefit the most deserving people across Pakistan, adding that the meals-on-wheels kitchens would travel in the identified places for provision of foods to the deserving people.

“Provision of free food to the poor is a great service to humanity, which will shower Allah Almighty’s blessings on Pakistan,” he asserted.

The prime minister said for the first time in the history of Pakistan, the government has launched multiple programmes, which include establishment of shelter homes and free meals for the welfare of poor people.

“We are committed to provide universal health coverage in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad, where our party is in power… Through the health cards to every citizen under which the holder can get medical treatment up to one million rupees from any hospital. We are now focusing on establishing a network of hospitals across Pakistan to provide quality health services to the people,” he further announced.

He pointed out that when he planned to set up Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital, he was told even by doctors that it was difficult to run the cancer hospital. “Now the hospital is giving free treatment to 70 percent of cancer patients,” he said, adding that he established the cancer hospital in Lahore with Rs 700 million and till now it has already spent Rs 50 billion on the treatment of people.

He said the second cancer hospital was set up in Peshawar and the third will be constructed in Karachi.

“People of Pakistan gave donations for the construction of three hospitals and now the same people will make the ‘Koi Bhooka Na Soye’ programme successful and there will be a network of these facilities across the country,” he maintained.

The Prime Minister urged people to give Zakat and donations in the holy month of Ramzan for different Ehsaas programmes. He added under the new food programme, four trucks in each city will distribute food among 500 to 1000 people every day at specific service points.

The premier also thanked Saylani Welfare Trust for contributing in the noble cause of free food service. He also appreciated chief ministers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan and Punjab Usman Buzdar for their efforts in inaugurating the service in their respective provinces, besides appreciating the role of Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation Sania Nishtar in this regard.

Later, a delegation of Saylani Trust including Bashir Farooq, Afzal Chimdia, Manzar Alam, Farraukh Amin, Irfan Wahid, Salman Iqbal, Imtiaz Hussain and Yousaf Lakhani also called on Prime Minister Khan, according to a statement of the PM House. MNA Farrukh Habib was also present on the occasion.

The delegation offered its services in the expansion of the EKBNS programme to other cities of the country.

The prime minister commended services of the Saylani Trust in Ehsaas Langar Khana and ‘No One Sleep Hungry’ initiative. He also assured the delegation of the government's full facilitation during the expansion of the programme to the rest of the country.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021