ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday launched the Sehat Insaf Card facility for the transgender community, the first in the country’s history, to provide succour to the most vulnerable segment of society.
Speaking as a chief guest at the launching ceremony of Sehat Insaf Card under the Sehat Sahulat programme for the transgender community, the prime minister regretted that previous governments never took responsibility for the most vulnerable sections of society, including transgenders.
The present government, he said, had taken the responsibility of transgender community and would give them a sense of ownership. Pakistan was created on a great idea of sense of justice, humanity and humane feelings for the downtrodden, he added.
Criticising past governments, he said they even did not accept the existence of the transgender community. The incumbent government would, however, provide them full protection in society by removing negative perceptions about them.
PM criticises past govts for not accepting existence of most vulnerable segment of society
The government was determined to provide health cards and insurance to all weaker segments of society, he added.
The initiative will cater to individuals of the transgender community registered with the National Database and Registration Authority from the Islamabad Capital Territory, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and all other provinces.
About the economic turnaround, Mr Khan said the government faced the most difficult economic challenges last year, but the year 2020 would dawn with progress and prosperity for the countrymen.
The government took steps for economic stability during 2019 and now would focus on job creation for the youth along with giving boost to the industry, he said and mentioned the recently introduced NAB (National Accountability Bureau) Amendment Ordinance as a step in the right direction.
The prime minister also referred to the government’s flagship social security Ehsaas programme for the alleviation of the economic ordeals of the poor.
He said through Utility Stores, subsidised foodstuff would be provided to the people besides issuance of ration cards was on the anvil to enable the deserving people to get food items at nominal prices. Moreover, the network of Lungar would be spread so that no needy person was left hungry, he said, adding that loan facility was also being extended to the youth.
“In the year 2020, we will now move forward on the path of progress and prosperity,” Mr Khan said.
The prime minister further observed that with the Sehat Insaf Card, the poor families would have confidence to get treatment facilities in different health facilities of the country.
He recalled how the poor families could not manage treatment of their ailing members due to their meager financial resources.
Mr Khan also appreciated Dr Zafar Mirza for floating the idea of extending such facility to the transgender community, saying they had been facing a lot of social problems.
Special Assistant to the PM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said a total of 6.8 million families had been provided with the Sehat Insaf cards and they were making strenuous effort to target all the 15 million deserving ones by the end of next year.
The Sehat Sahulat programme was launched in 84 districts where a total of 300 private sector hospitals had been providing health services to the deserving people, he added.
He said about 50 per cent of the country’s total population had been living below the poverty line, who would be benefited with the potable insurance facility.
Dr Mirza said they had discussed the idea in the cabinet which had approved it.
He said the government’s social security programmes would have far reaching effects upon the vulnerable communities.
Under a decision of the prime minister, they had given Sehat Insaf cards to all families in Tharparkar and tribal districts and now they were working on provision of cards in the Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, he added.
The special assistant said they had collected data about the transgenders with the assistance of their community leaders. He said that with such facility, families would get facilities of surgeries and treatment for different chronic diseases.
Dr Mirza also lauded the promulgation of Transgender Protection Act ensuring the equal citizenship by ending discrimination against them in all sectors.
The prime minister also distributed Sehat Insaf cards among members of the transgender community.—=
Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2019