ISLAMABAD - The federal government on Wednesday released names of 2,037 government officers who illegally enrolled themselves or their spouses as Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) beneficiaries and announced registering criminal cases against these officials.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar in a joint press conference flanked by Special Assistant Prime Minister on Information Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said the government had started actions against the 2,037 government officers, who had registered themselves or their spouses to BISP beneficiary list, which included departmental actions and registering of criminal cases against these officials. 

The SAPM on accountability said that total 140,000 government servants were involved in this illegal act of registering themselves or their spouses as BISP beneficiaries.

“A major chunk of 140,000 officials are from grade 1 to 16. The total number of officer rank employees of grade 17 to 22 was 2,037 who were taking benefits on their own or their spouses’ names illegally,” he maintained, adding that out of 2,037 beneficiaries, 100 officers of grade 17 to 22 had taken benefits directly while 1,937 officers in same grades were using their spouses for this purpose. He said that in some cases these officials were getting BISP stipends directly against their names, while other had included their spouses in the beneficiaries list illegally.

He said the federal government has decided to take action against these officers. First there will be departmental action where they have written to chief secretaries and secretary establishment division to take action against these officials and recover the amount from the officers.

Secondly, he said that since the money belonged to the federal government, therefore, the government had referred all these cases to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to register criminal cases against all those involved.

“The government will not only recover the amount from these officials, but also register cases against them.  Sindh province was on the top where 50 officers directly and 888 indirectly were taking the benefits through their spouses,” he maintained.

Shahzad Akbar also revealed names of 2,037 officials, from grade 17 to 22 were getting stipends of BISP unlawfully one way or the other.

He said the names appeared in the list after detailed data verification carried out by the BISP in collaboration with National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to identify fraudulent elements.