KARACHI: In ongoing anti-corruption crackdown, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday summoned Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Farzana Raja in connection with embezzlement in Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) funds.

The anti-corruption watchdog has formally launched investigation into alleged Rs.3 billion embezzlement in the BISP’s advertisement funds.

Ex-BISP chairman Farzana Raja was summoned for interrogation.

NAB will also inquire the owners of private advertising companies including Sher Khan, Inam Akhtar and others.

It may be mentioned here that Farzana Raja was appointed as Chairperson of the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) in 2008.

Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) was launched in July 2008 with an immediate objective of consumption smoothening and cushioning the negative effects of slow economic growth, the food crisis and inflation on the poor, particularly women, through the provision of cash transfers of Rs. 1,000 per month to eligible families.

Its long term objectives include supporting the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to eradicate extreme and chronic poverty, to empower of women and to achieve universal primary education.

The monthly installment was enhanced to Rs. 1200/- per month w.e.f 1st July, 2013 by the present government and has now been fixed at Rs. 1500/-per month w.e.f 1st July, 2014.

Since its inception in 2008, BISP has grown rapidly; it is now the largest single social safety net program in Pakistan’s history.

The number of beneficiaries has increased from 1.7 million households in FY 2008-9 to approximately 4.7 million as of 31st Dec, 2014 and BISP annual disbursements have risen from Rs. 16 billion in FY 2008-9 to Rs 65 billion in FY 2013-14. This FY, disbursements to beneficiaries is expected to reach Rs. 90 billion.