ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday handed over the administrative control of five Panahgahs (shelter homes) in the federal capital to Pakistan Baitul Maal (PBM) and directed the authorities concerned to remodel them in three months.
”In the first phase, Panahgahs in Islamabad should be remodelled and these centres in the country should be revamped in the second phase,” the prime minister said during a visit to a Panahgah at Tarlai.
A source told Dawn that the government handed over the charge of all Panahgahs in the federal capital to PBM as the local administration was facing hardships in running them without any monetary assistance from the government.
The prime minister inspected the facilities in Panahgah at Tarlai, inquired about the condition and problems of the people staying there and later took meal with the inhabitants.
The source said the prime minister desired that over 100 Panahgahs in the country should have the same standard and facilities. In this connection, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation (PPA) and the PBM have been tasked to upgrade all Panahgahs.
”The control of Panahgahs in Islamabad has been handed over from Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT administration to the PBM in order to make them sustainable ventures because the local administration was facing problems in running them,” said a senior official of the district administration.
The official said Tarlai cantre was established on Dec 26, 2018, and now it has been upgraded only in one month after the prime minister had ordered for revamping of all the centres in the city.
Although the idea of the prime minister to establish shelter homes for homeless people was widely hailed, these homes are being run on a ‘help yourself’ basis, putting an extra monetary and administrative load on the already cash-strapped local authorities.
The government established Panahgahs in the federal capital and two provinces — Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — without allocating funds for them. It is believed that it would become difficult to run these homes on a long-term basis if the government does not provide funds to them.
Some of these shelter homes were established in government buildings, some in makeshift structures and some in rented buildings. Initially, the cost of the buildings and furniture of Panahgahs was borne by the local administrations and provincial departments.
However, they need funds on a regular basis for their better management.
Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2020