Pr Lahore - People belonging to the middle class in Punjab donate more than Rs113 billion a year in charity, which indicates philanthropic trend among the Punjab’s philanthropists to reach out to the poor and marginalised segments of society.

This was stated by Mueen Afzal, former Secretary General Finance, Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan, while sharing contents of study on Individual Philanthropy carried out Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP) on charity trends in Punjab at a press conference at Lahore Press Club on Saturday.

Quoting the study, Mueen Afzal said monetary giving is the highest in Punjab with approximately Rs39. 3 billion while Rs12.3b are donated in the form of Zakat. However, Rs23.1 billion are donated in-kind and Rs18.4 billion in-time donations in the province. Major recipients of these donations are individuals (needy, disabled and beggars). Some amount is also donated to mosques and madrassas.

Mueen Afzal said that roughly, 39 per cent of Pakistanis live in multi-dimensional poverty and this proportion is nearly six times higher in rural than urban areas. “Philanthropy offers enormous opportunities to supplement state-run social programmes to reach out to the poor and the underserved to address local needs and poverty issues,” he added. PCP undertook this landmark study to assess volume of individual giving and came up with insights about patterns and motivation of giving trends at national level.

Several things stand out about philanthropy in Pakistan in comparison to other nations: first, Pakistan has a long tradition of religious giving through Zakat and other forms of giving. Second, nearly 98 per cent of Pakistanis either give through cash, in-kind, or time volunteered.

Mueen said that the report addresses varied questions to assess magnitude of individual philanthropy in Pakistan and explores peoples’ preferences and choices about giving to better inform organisational and policy decisions.

“If mechanisms are in place to ensure greater transparency and local involvement in decision making, respondents will be willing to give more to organizations committed to social causes,” Mueen Afzal said while quoting the study.

The study makes it evident that there is enormous potential for individual giving and social investing in Pakistan. Philanthropy can alleviate immediate and long-term suffering of the poor and supplement the state-run social programs to a greater extent.