PAKISTAN was founded as a welfare state in 1947 but we have not yet made the desired progress, while the nation has forgotten the three golden rules of unity, faith and discipline given by the Quaid.
The answer for both these questions lie in one answer: Unless we get properly educated and mentally mature, neither can we appreciate and obey the commandments of our leader nor can we correctly evaluate the value of universally-accepted Darwinian Laws, including the ‘struggle for existence’ and the ‘survival of the fittest’. Both of these are needed for progress.
Although initial efforts for a welfare system for senior citizens were initiated in 2007 but still nothing in the form of a law has come out. As such, from time to time news and letters to the editor continued getting published and kept the matter alive.
In this context, some of the published references include the letter ‘Senior citizens’ (Feb 15, 2009), letters ‘Concessions for senior citizens’( Jan 1, 2009 and June 10, 2010), news item ‘Call for legislation of senior citizens’ (March 1, 2010), the press announcement by a Khyber Pakhunkhwa minister to soon introduce legislation focusing on senior citizens rights (‘Law for senior citizens’, Sept 24 , 2012) and senior citizens bill (Dec 12, 2012).
The above subject regarding the welfare of senior citizens is a longstanding one as seen from the above given references. Two more important letters regarding the subject under discussion are referred here. These include ‘Bill for the rights of senior citizens’ (Oct 11, 2012) and a letter under the heading ‘Senior citizens rights’ by Lala Fazal A. Belaee (Oct 16, 2012). Appreciation is strongly endorsed in favour of Administrative and Development Secretary Shaheen Qazi for preparing the bill concerned for the National Assembly.
Since the opinion of senior citizens is intended to be sought in the near future, it is preferred to provide some points which would surely be helpful in the preparation of the intended draft for the National Assembly.
These points include: (1) Provisions of shelter houses on nominal charges only for senior citizens; (2) provision of health services with nursing facilities; (3) concessions in travelling by bus, train and air, especially within Pakistan; (4) provision of legal services and security; (5) provision of pension credits; and (6) provision of free admission to national exhibitions (especially concerning books, museums, parks, art galleries, etc).
The senior citizens of Pakistan (a total of only 10 million) have almost lost hope as 65 years have passed but nothing substantial has been done for them though they were also citizens who carved Pakistan for us in spite of all kinds of hurdles and oppositions. Our heartiest thanks go out to them.
DR S. IFTIKHAR AHMED Karachi