Dr Sania Nishtar gives food to Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza at the Langar inaugurated at Pims on Friday. — White Star
Dr Sania Nishtar gives food to Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza at the Langar inaugurated at Pims on Friday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD, Jan 17: Ehsaas opened second Langar (soup kitchen) at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) on Friday.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza performed the groundbreaking of the Langar.

Pims Executive Director Dr Anser Maxood, Adviser to Chairman of Saylani Welfare International Trust Mohammad Afzal Chamdia and the trust’s chief operating officer, Mohammad Ghazzal, were also present on the occasion.

This Langar will serve two meals a day to at least 1,000 people, including patients and their attendants at Pims, as per the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

In the first phase, Ehsaas Saylani Langars will be opened in Peshawar, Swat, Multan, Lahore and Umerkot in the next two months.

Overall, in the public-private partnership with Saylani Welfare International Trust, Ehsaas will set up 112 Langars nationwide over a two-year period.

The first prototype Langar was inaugurated by the prime minister on Oct 7, 2019 at Peshawar Mor in Islamabad.

Langars are part of the prime minister’s ‘Mazdoor ka Ehsaas’ initiative and are primarily meant to serve meals to the poorest and most vulnerable segments of the society, especially daily wage labourers.

“The prime minister is personally committed to ensuring that no one goes to bed hungry in Pakistan and Ehsaas is working hard to realise that vision,” stated Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and BISP chairperson Dr Sania Nishtar.

Elaborating further, she said: “Under the Ehsaas framework, the government is mainly extending logistic support to Langars through a strategic approach with zero cost implications.

The second way in which the government is playing its role is by setting safety and quality standards, and the third is by disseminating information widely.”

Addressing on the occasion Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said: “We are glad to give free space for the Langar at the Pims. Families of poor patients will be served here.”

The Pims executive director lauded the support of the federal government and the trust in opening the Langar in Pims vicinity and pledged full cooperation in this noble cause.

Mr Chamdia thanked the federal government for extending on-the-ground facilitation and support and reassured it that the trust will continue bringing all its kitchen and food distribution resources to feed the marginalised throughout the country.

Other speakers said there was a lot of criticism on Langars but it should be understood that they lessen despair among the homeless.

They restore dignity and self-reliance to those who otherwise go hungry, and they contribute to grassroots activism and social cohesion with food security and nutrition aims.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2020