ISLAMABAD           -        Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday launched commencement of Ehsaas initiatives including Ehsaas Rashaan portal, Ehsaas Langar, Panagah apps and PM Corona Relief Fund website to ensure better coordination among the civil society and the government in combating the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking during a meeting in which he was given briefing by Special Assistant to the PM, Dr. Sania Nishtar; the Prime Minister said that the government is implementing smart lockdown in coronavirus hotspots of the country to protect mainly the most vulnerable people.

He said that the elderly people and those already suffering from serious diseases are the most vulnerable people; if they are protected against coronavirus, the impact of the pandemic will get considerably reduced.

He added that the next one month is difficult for dealing with the pandemic.

He said the government was providing confidence to the donors about the transparency of their donations with the launch of related apps and websites.

Upon the newly launched PM website, he said they would publish lists of all beneficiaries. The Ehsaas programme was also firmly rooted in transparency, he maintained.

The prime minister also commended efforts of Dr Sania Nishtar and her team for the success of Ehsaas cash programme under which cash was transferred in complete transparent and efficient way. The cash programme provided much needed relief to the deserving people in these hard times, he added.

He also expressed his satisfaction that the Ehsaas web portal also proved successful in financially supporting those who lost jobs during the pandemic.

About the launch of PM Corona Relief Fund website, he said it contained complete information and would facilitate the donors to reach the deserving people directly.

He said due to the lockdown, the whole world witnessed an unprecedented situation even, in the United States people waited in long queues to get food whereas in Italy people had been facing hardships in getting food.

The prime minister said if the provinces had asked him for lockdown options, he would have never endorsed for such steps because they had a very different situation when compared with Wuhan city of China.

Sharing his experience during his recent visit to Sindh, the prime minister said in Larkana alone, about 20 per cent among the affected were vendors who were also shut down.

The decisions were taken in panic due to the pandemic, he said, and cited situation where Modi’s government enforced complete lockdown with the statistics now showing that another 34 per cent chunk of its population was pushed under the poverty line and facing adverse economic situation.

The prime minister further said that due to lockdown, the service sector in the country suffered badly including hotels and marriage halls.

The prime minister reiterated his resolve to transform the country on the model of world’s pioneer welfare Madina state in which, for the first time, focus was made to uplift the conditions of the neglected and downtrodden segments.

About Panagah, he said, the number of shelter homes would be incrementally increased in future to accommodate large number of deserving people.

The prime minister reiterated that it was shameful to watch the labourers and other workforce who used to arrive cities for earning their livelihood and have to spend nights in the open or on roads as they could not afford accommodation.

“The idea for setting up Panagah was to facilitate these people. I have also asked ministers to visit these areas and inquire about conditions of people staying there,” he added.

The prime minister while stressing upon the smart lockdown, said that they were being faced with the challenge to save the lives of most vulnerable, old and those suffering from chronic diseases during these measures and maintained that volunteers of the tiger force would be helpful in this regard.

The prime minister also eulogized the sincere passion of the nation for making donations for every good cause and cited the construction of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital (SKMH).

He said for the last 30 years, he had been raising funds for the noble cause and had unique experience about the donations made by the common people. The country ranked among the top most countries where the people had been making huge donations, he added.

About the PM COVID Relief Fund, he said the small donations dominated the total sum collected so far.

He said SKMH was a miracle where 75 per cent patients in the facility were being provided free of cost treatment. Most of the developed countries even did not think to afford such treatment.

The health facility was running into loss of Rs12 billion annually, but it were the people of Pakistan who had been donating for it and paying for its losses, he said.

Dr Sania Nishtar also briefed the prime minister about the details of these initiatives.

She said the Langar and Panahgah apps would help the deserving people and donors about the location of these sites and related facilities easily.

It would also help the volunteers of the Tiger Force to locate the facilities and guide the people, she added.

Dr Sania further said PM COVID Relief Fund website was also being formally launched.