MUZAFFARABAD: Taking notice of the plight of an impoverished family with three differently-abled members, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas has fixed a monthly stipend for them apart from directing the officials concerned to initiate process within three days for construction of an artery to their abode, an official said on Sunday.

On Saturday, Shahnaz Khan, a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader, had uploaded a post on her Facebook account to draw attention towards the ordeal of one Mohammad Shahzad Abbasi, the father of three differently-abled children, in the absence of a link road between his house and the main highway.

Mr Abbasi, a resident of union council Sahliyan in Dhirkot subdivision of Bagh district, had been facing great deal of difficulty in transporting his wheelchair-bound children – 20 years old Hammad, 17 years old Maria and 14 years old Hashir –to the health facilities as and when required, Ms Khan had written while urging the affluent people in general and government in particular to come in aid of them without further ado.

It was learnt that the eldest child of Mr Abbasi, a former trucker who was out of work due to renal ailment, had himself raised his family’s plight through social media posts in the past as well, but to no avail.

Orders construction of road leading to its house; fixes monthly stipend

Yasir Arif, a member of the PM’s media team, told reporters that incidentally Ms Khan and her spouse were already scheduled to meet PM Ilyas on Saturday during which they briefed him on the agony of the ill-fated family among other things.

Immediately after the meeting, the prime minister issued a direction in black and white to the deputy commissioner of Bagh to visit the residence of Mr Abbasi along with retired Maj Latif Khalique, PTI’s candidate from the area in last general elections, and officers of administration and highways department for competition of a survey of a link road to his place within three days, he said.

In the next stage, the deputy commissioner would ensure construction of the link road after obtaining special approval for this purpose on a priority basis, he added.

Mr Arif said the prime minister had also announced provision of Rs500,000 as a one-time donation from the budget of the PM secretariat as well as a monthly stipend of Rs20,000 from Zakat profit fund to the family.

The stipend would be delivered to them at their doorstep by some government official every month, he said.

The prime minister, who has returned from a constituency of Bagh district, had directed the deputy commissioner to keep his secretariat in the loop about the implementation of his directions with regard to this family, Mr Arif said.

Additionally, he said, the deputy commissioner was also asked by the prime minister to collect data of differently-abled persons in the entire district and give directions and recommendations to the departments concerned to address the problems being faced by them.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2022

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