POPULATION of senior citizens in Pakistan is on the increase and within a few years it may go up to 13 per cent of the total population. I suppose there is a draft which was prepared by higher authorities in the past but is still hanging in the balance and is yet to be presented in the parliament and passed.
Before it reaches any final shape, I would like to submit a few suggestions which may be included in the bill.
Special discounts be given to senior citizens for buses, railway and air travel. Free annual medical checkups in all private hospitals and special discount be given for treatment and medicines.
There should be separate counters in all hospitals, banks and supermarkets to avoid queue and long waits.
Availability of wheelchairs and constructions of ramps be made compulsory in all government and public buildings.
All multinational organisations and big local companies should be advised to spend a substantial amount of their corporate social responsibility budget on the benefit of senior citizens.
Builders of new townships and residential colonies should be instructed to build an old home for senior citizens in their new projects.
The EOBI be revitalised and reformed. The employers should be asked to increase their contribution up to 10 per cent to the EOBI. The existing private hospitals, hostels, rest houses, and clubs can allocate a few rooms used as old homes for the senior citizens.
All TV channels should be advised to telecast special programmes, emphasising the care of old parents in the light of our religion and culture. The senior citizens have already played their innings well and served the country.
Now it is the responsibility of the government and society to pay back and treat them with respect and dignity and make a difference in the quality of their lives.
SYED NUSRAT ALI Karachi