LAHORE - In an apparent image-building move concerning the issue of police torture on blinds, the Punjab government reveals it has started providing Rs1,000 as subsistence allowance to 10,000 selected blind persons every month.

During the Punjab Assembly session on Friday, Provincial Minister for Zakat and Usher Malik Nadeem Kamran disclosed that 10000 thousand blind persons were selected through a transparent process of blind persons associations. “Although the Zakat funds cannot provide complete financial support to the needy but one can call it the token of support,” he added.

However, it was a common feel among the MPs that the minister made such a revelation against the backdrop of police torture on the members of the blind association who were protesting outside the Lahore Press Club.

The provincial minister told the House that there were 24398 local Zakat committees in Punjab, while several of these committees had completed their three-year term. The process of constitution of new Zakat committees was under process and 19982 committees had been constituted so far, he said. He informed the members that Punjab gets 57 per cent from the Zakat fund, which was collected from the Zakat cuts on the bank account holders across Pakistan on first of the Ramazan. The funds collected in the result of Zakat funds were sent to the State Bank, which distributes the same among the provinces.

“Unfortunately, the Zakat funds are becoming thinner every year,” he regretted.

Admitting the failure of the federal government for not sending the second installment of the Eid grant, he said that the grant could not be distributed among the needy as the federal government sent the first installment, while it had failed to send the second.

Nadeem also told the house that the incumbent government had increased the percentage of Zakat for the women.

Meanwhile, Speaker Punjab Assembly administered oath to two new members, Inam Ullah Khan Niazi and Ehsan Riaz who reached the house in the result of by-elections. The house witnessed interesting situation when newly elected member Inam Ullah Niazi called the Speaker as his ‘Captain’. The Speaker in his reply said that such words should not be used for him.