LAHORE - Benazir Income Support Programme chairperson Marvi Memon yesterday gave a clean chit to the financial operations of the programme during the PPP tenure when she declared it the most transparent one in Pakistan since its inception.

“BISP has been issuing cards to the deserving since 2010 in a transparent manner,” she declared in her media talk on Tuesday, unmindful of the fact that her party leaders including herself had been raising questions of transparency on the same during the PPP tenure.

Once a strong critic of BISP, Marvi defended its utility for the poor while also declaring it transparent since the time when PPP government started issuing the poverty cards to the poor.

She told her political rivals who have been accusing the PML-N of utilizing BISP funds in the recent by-poll campaign in Lahore and elsewhere that government would not allow anybody to politicize it. “BISP is the largest social safety network in the country which extended financial support to the needy.”

Nevertheless she justified her presence in the campaign, saying she had taken part in the electoral campaign of NA-122 as a political worker of the PML-N. “I neither used governmental resources nor violated code of conduct of Election Commission of Pakistan”

She maintained that PML-N won the elections with the support of the people and it would again elect Sardar Ayaz Sadiq as Speaker of Nation Assembly in its next session.

She also advised PTI chairman Imran Khan to concentrate on the development of the KPK instead of leveling rigging allegations. Marvi alleged the PTI could not show any performance in the KPK where some key departments were still without their heads.

About the programme activities, she said that the BISP had issued cards to 5.15 million deserving families out of total 7.7 million families which were identified in the poverty survey, adding that the lists could not be edited or changed on the discretion of any political figure or BISP official.

She also announced that BISP would conduct a fresh survey to include more poor and exclude those whose living standard stands improved after receiving the official aid. International organizations including World Bank were providing assistance to the BISP to conduct surveys, she added.

Earlier, Marvi Memon presided over a meeting with the Punjab Welfare Trust for Disabled (PWTD) regarding extension of cooperation and assistance by the BISP.

Briefing the meeting regarding the operations of PWTD, MD PWTD Dr Israr-ul-Haq said that the trust was currently providing financial assistance of capital grants, operational grants for recurring expenses and others through its partner non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to the disabled persons.

He said that 116 NGOs were working with PWTD for the welfare and rehabilitation of disabled persons, adding that they had provided financial assistance to about four million in past ten years. Director General BISP Punjab Sara Saeed, Director Headquarters Ahmad Arbab Abid, Director Uzair Siddique and others were present in the meeting.