Poverty alleviation, social safety division explore various options to support street vendors


Zubair Qureshi

Street vendors have remained an integral part of the urban economy around the world as they provide a range of goods and services to middle-and low-income mass segments of the society.
This economic activity is also a major employment vehicle for the urban poor. However in Pakistan, the potential of street vending has not been harnessed and despite the existence of the policy which was developed in 1986 for Islamabad Capital Territory and subsequent convening of special committee in 2015 and 2017 for the Municipal Corporation of Islamabad, significant work has not gotten underway and a comprehensive framework for street vendors has not been developed yet.
The existing street vending framework talks about responsibilities and penalties applicable due to violations but a comprehensive framework that includes rights, privileges and entitlements of street vendors has not been set out in line with the much-needed safeguards. In this regard, the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) has been in consultation with Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) for several months now and has encouraged PIDE to develop legislative bill for the protection of street vendors’ rights.
In this context, PIDE organized a webinar yesterday in which a number of experts spoke about the context in which the draft bill is being developed.
Experts included Zia Banday, a Development Consultant & Initiator of Street Vendors Protection Project; Ahmed Bashir, Author of Street Vendors’ Protection Bill from Ahmed Bashir & Associates Law Firm; and Umer Gilani from Law & Policy Chambers Firm. The consultation organized by Vice Chancellor PIDE also brought together Naveed Abbasi, President, Khokha Association Islamabad.