Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information (SAPM) Firdous Ashiq Awan on Tuesday announced that the cabinet has approved the 'Islamabad Capital Territory Senior Citizens Welfare Bill 2019' to ensure that the neglected elderly are looked after by the state.
"There is no greater tragedy than the fact that the ones who raise half a dozen children are not taken care of [when it's their] turn," Awan said as she provided details of the initiative.
"In view of these societal gaps we see, the challenges that the society faces nowadays, and the fact that our social fabric is being destroyed, the prime minister has approved this bill [for legislation]," she explained.
She said that the proposed law will work to safeguard the fundamental rights of senior citizens and ensure their uplift and protection within society.
Furthermore, a senior citizen's council will be formed which will begin its work in Islamabad with the creation of an old age home.
"For the past 12 years, I have been running an old age home in Sialkot which stems from my 'addiction' to social work. I am happy that the prime minister and I, along with the cabinet, are just as 'addicted' to social welfare and the need to serve people," she said.
Central database for missing or kidnapped children
Awan also announced the cabinet's decision to create a centralised data bank to record the information of children who are kidnapped or missing.
"The prime minister has a soft corner for the National Child Protection Commission, and the cabinet today accorded principle approval to the National Commission on the Rights of the Child.
"There needs to be a centralised database with figures from every province reported for kidnapped or missing children. This commisison will overcome this challenge and will make information easier to access for the media as well under a 'one-window operation' where all the relevant information will be available," she said.
New master plan for CDA
She also informed the media that in today's cabinet meeting, in the presence of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) chairman, the prime minister had directed the authority to create a new master plan for Islamabad.
"CDA, an important institution and pillar of the capital, was tasked with creating an organised structure," she said, adding: "1960 was the year in which the first law was made and the [currently in use] master plan is from that year."
She said the prime minister gave strict orders that the authority make a new master plan to address the following issues:
- expansion in the capital
- haphazard growth of housing colonies
- shortage of residences
- load on CDA due to not being able to distribute work
- rubbish everywhere
- maintenance of buildings
- supply of clean drinking water
- the green belts which were taken over and their misuse
She said that CDA will take immediate action under the available laws and will inform the cabinet if more laws are needed to address the above-mentioned challenges.
Awan further informed the media that an audit of the authority shall be done as it is an institution which is "tangled up in red-tape".