RAHIM YAR KHAN - As a move to get passed "Senior Citizen Bill" in the Punjab Assembly, a mass signature campaign has been launched here in the city. The campaign was kicked off during a press conference by the representatives and officials of Jaag Welfare Movement (JWM), a non-governmental organisation working for the rights of elderly people.

JWM Executive Director Abdul Rub Farooqi, Senior Advocacy and Communication Officer Akhtar Shaheen Rind, Federation of Older People Associations (FOPA) Chairperson Qari Allah Bakhsh, Vice Chairperson Rab Nawaz and General Secretary Ashraf Peer Jee addressed the press conference.

He regretted that a senior citizen bill had been pending with the Punjab Assembly since 2007 and said the government should initiate steps for early approval of the important bill.

Abdul Rub Farooqi said that the signature campaign was a joint effort of JWM and another UK based non-governmental organization Help Age International. He said that the Help Age International was working for the rights of the elderly people in more than 90 countries since many decades.

He said that the petition with signatures of 20,000 people from the district alone along with a copy of proposed senior citizen bill would be sent to the Punjab government to pass it in the provincial assembly session.

The campaign aimed at raising voice for older people's rights in the power corridors and get realised the public representatives that they should legislate for a society which should also be friendly for older people.

He said the elderly people had special needs in terms of food, health and accessibility of other services and this should be addressed by the government, humanitarian and development organisations and other stakeholders at the earliest.

JWM Executive Director said that the JWM representatives would visit various institutes and organizations and would get the petition signed from people of all age group including journalists, lawyers, doctors, engineers, industrialists and other professionals.

In the proposed senior citizen bill free entry of to parks, entertainment sites, museums and libraries, accessible building, places and facilities, discounted fare in government transport, establishment of age friendly bus stands, financial assistance to people taking care of their older age parents and other older people, separate counter, outdoor department and medical ward in each hospital, discount in fees in all health facilities, provision of regular used medicines on special discount and inclusion of chapters on care of older people had been suggested, he mentioned.