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Makeshift shelters for Lahore's homeless

Updated November 25, 2018

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Prime Minister Imran Khan had laid foundation stone of the first “Panah Gah” in front of the city railway station on Nov 10. — White Star
Prime Minister Imran Khan had laid foundation stone of the first “Panah Gah” in front of the city railway station on Nov 10. — White Star

LAHORE: After Prime Minister Imran Khan’s tweet about arranging makeshift shelters for the homeless, the Punjab government has sprung into action and erected tents at three different locations in the city to accommodate such people.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had laid foundation stone of the first “Panah Gah” in front of the city railway station on Nov 10, announcing that four more such shelters would be established in Lahore at Icchra, Chauburji, Data Darbar and Shahdra for the homeless where they would also be provided with food.

The prime minister had called this initiative “first step towards transforming Pakistan into a welfare state”.

Though work on the first shelter had begun, no one from the government had come forward to offer relief to the poor homeless people who became more vulnerable with the advent of winter.

The prime minister intervened and tweeted: “I have asked CM Punjab to set up tents for people sleeping on footpaths and provide them food until the Panah Gahs (shelters) are built, as the weather is turning increasingly cold”.

The PM also stated in the same tweet that Panah Gah spots were also being established in Peshawar and Karachi.

Following the tweet, the chief minister ordered his workforce to immediately set up makeshift shelters at Data Darbar, Railway Station and Thokar Larry Adda and provide quilts and food to the homeless.

People at the Panah Gah and on social media appreciated the step to help the homeless.

The prime minister has stressed the poor and the homeless needed to be protected and taken care of and added that the PTI government was committed to building a social net for them so that everyone had a shelter and access to health and education. He said those coming to the Panah Gahs represented the voiceless who were not even voters. He said the visitors should also be offered food.

He added that a Board of Governors (BoG) would oversee the maintenance and functioning of these centres. The BoG will finalise the policy for the shelter homes.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018