13 new Ehsaas Panagahs opening soon in country, Advisory Council informed

Staff Reporter

“Thirteen new Ehsaas model Panagahs will be established in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan to provide shelter to the destitute and helpless people”.

This was revealed by the newly formed Panagah Advisory Council during its first meeting held Wednesday at Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) Headquarters.

The new Panagahs to be established included three in Rawalpindi, Lahore and Gujranwala districts of Punjab; four in Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan districts of KP; three in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur districts of Sindh; and three in Washuk, Noshki and Kharan districts of Balochistan.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, Senator, Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting on Prime Minister’s special directives.

In line with PM’s instructions, a sixteen-member Advisory Council of Ehsaas Panagahs has recently been formed under the umbrella of Ehsaas.

The Advisory Council has been assigned the mandate to provide valuable oversight on policy and strategic direction, institutionalization of audit and accountability systems, improving the quality of delivery, scalability, and sustainability of Ehsaas model Panagahs.
The meeting of the Advisory Council was held in two sessions.

The first session featured comprehensive orientation on the structure and standard operating procedures of Ehsaas Panagahs followed by a visit to Panagahs in Mandi More and Tarlai areas of Islamabad.
“Panagahs’ (shelter homes) is one the Prime Minister’s priority programmes.

Panagahs not only provide shelter to the labourers but also a two-time meal for them. To facilitate daily wagers, 22 Panagah facilities have been built up so far under Ehsaas countrywide”, Dr. Sania said while speaking on the occasion.

Focal Person for Panagahs, Naseem-ur-Rehman said, “The concept of ‘Panagah’ emerges from the Prime Minister’s vision of compassion to facilitate the destitute and helpless people, while upholding their self-respect. ‘Panagahs’ protect the people from extreme weather conditions and chilling temperatures.”

While orienting the Council on the expansion plan of Panagahs, MD Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal informed that the opening of thirteen Ehsaas model Panagahs is on the anvil.

Last year in August, the Prime Minister entrusted the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division with the responsibility of improving quality standards within ‘Panagahs’.

Since then, work was accelerated speedily, and a framework was developed to upgrade standards of all five ‘Panagahs’ in Islamabad as a starting point.

Poverty Division developed the policy framework and Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal was given responsibility for execution.

“These ‘Panagahs’ provide one star+ bed and breakfast facility with meals, essentials, hygiene and security standards. And, each ‘Panagah’ serves free meals to around 500 people and offers 100-bed facility for overnight stay and breakfast.

Members of the Advisory Council who joined the meeting were Haseeb Ather, Ex-Federal Secretary; Aurangzeb Haq, Ex-Federal Secretary; Amjad Watoo, Head of Noor Foundation; Professor Dr. Rahat Naveed Masood, Social Worker, Retired Head of Department, PU-CAD; Ghais Khan, CEO Angro; Shahid Yousuf, Executive Director, Poverty Eradication Initiative; Siraj Ahmed, Financial Expert; Ghulam Mustafa Kausar, CEO Fast Cables; and representatives of Pakistan Business Council; District Government Islamabad; Social Welfare Department Islamabad; and Pakistan Center of Philanthropy.

Malik Zaheer Abbas Khokhar, Managing Director, PBM is the Chairperson and Naseem-ur-Rehman, PM’s Focal Person for Panagahs is the Vice Chairperson of the Advisory Board.