ISLAMABAD, Oct 10: A draft bill to protect the rights of senior citizens has been drafted and will be introduced in the National Assembly soon, the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development (CAD) announced here on Wednesday.
CAD Secretary Riffat Shaheen Qazi, while speaking at a national seminar on policy for the rights of senior citizens in Pakistan stated that the draft bill has already been circulated to senior citizens’ organisations and will be finalised after completing consultation with all the relevant ministries, division departments and other stakeholders.
She said that CAD will establish a senior citizen welfare council after the passage of the draft bill. The council will formulate policy proposals, conduct research and compile data in order to formulate action plan and mobilise financial resources to carry out projects for the welfare of senior citizens, she said.
Ms Qazi said the government intends to set up special desks at major hospitals like Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) and Poly Clinic to facilitate senior citizens for medical check-ups.
The seminar was organised by National Council of Social Welfare, HelpAge International and Pakistan National Centre on Ageing (PNCA) to urge the government for a policy for the rights of older people in Pakistan.
According to a recent report by UNFPA and HelpAge International, Pakistan is one of those 15 countries where population of people over 60 years of age is over 10 million, which will increase to 43.3 million in 2050, making 15.8 per cent of the population.
Ajeeba Aslam, Country Director HelpAge International Pakistan, said: “The ageing population – especially in the developing countries like Pakistan – requires urgent, strategic actions at national, regional and global level. She informed that senior citizens bill is pending in the Parliament since 2007 and it is fortunate today that the government had been advised for consultation of this bill with stakeholders and then it will be presented to the Parliament.”
A number of senior citizens spoke on the occasion, and emphasised on the need of policy for the rights of older people in Pakistan.