ISLAMABAD-Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) on Friday got a ‘langarkhana’ – a community kitchen - under Prime Minister’s Ehsaas programme for underprivileged people seeking healthcare in the hospital.

The sun was set, around a dozen media vans and cameras were on standby position at the opposite children hospital of PIMS and waiting for the chief guests.

The chief guests were Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza and SAPM on Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Dr. Sania Nishtar.

After both official dignitaries cut the red ribbon, dozens of people sitting on dining tables were to be provided the food.

Amongst them Kaleem Ahmed, a security guard in a plaza was also waiting for inauguration ceremony and food.

“I did not have lunch because I cannot afford it,” said Kaleem with starving eyes.

Hailing from a poor family of Bara Kahu, his earnings do not all allow him to have lunch daily and he prefers saving average Rs100 daily with the starving practice.

Kaleem reached PIMS to visit his ailing nephew in the hospital who was admitted here few days back.

He came to know in hospital that today there is an inauguration of langarkhana where free meals will be served.

“Security guards were welcoming people like me who look poor with the appearance and facilitating to sit for meals,” he said.

“I do not know what I am going to eat but it is enough that my appetite will be filled after ministers inaugurate this langarkhana.”

SAPMs Dr. Zafar Mirza and Dr. Sania Nishtar visited the community kitchen, with cameras following them and cut the ribbon.

Meanwhile, staff started serving the meals to around two dozen persons sitting in a big hall.

The Langarkhana of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences was re-inaugurated by the ministers under Prime Minister’s Ehsaas programme.

The same place inaugurated earlier, was well maintained under fibre ceiling, with the capacity of accommodating around 100 persons.

A separate portion inside the hall has been allocated for women also where cutlery was set but no female was sitting.

Clean cutlery was set before people with discipline and banners of Ehsaas programme were also hanging on the wall.

The langarkhana of PIMS has been established under Ehsaas programme with collaboration of Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), while the daily meals will be sponsored by Seelani trust.

SAPM on BISP Dr. Sania Nishtar briefing on the programme said the government has decided to open langarkhanas in entire country, and in federal city, it is the second inauguration.

She said that lunch and dinner will be served to around 600 persons daily in this langarkhana.

She said that it is PM’s direction to establish such langarkhanas in country that no poor sleeps hungry.

She said that government allocated space for langarkhanas while the Seelani trust operates it as welfare service.

SAPM on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza said that PIMS is a place where patients and attendants visit from far flung areas.

He said that after langarkhanas, the hospital will also get a Pannah Gah shelter home for people who sleep under open sky in hospital.

He also said that government feels pain of the poor and was trying to make their life easy.

SAPM on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza also said that 6.8million people have been disbursed with Sehat Cards and government plans to award around 15 million persons at the end of the year.