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Rawalpindi’s first shelter for homeless opens its doors

RAWALPINDI: Federal ministers for health and railways, Aamir Mehmood Kiani and Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, respectively — both of whom were elected from Rawalpindi — recently inaugurated the city’s first shelter for the homeless.

The shelter home has been built in the basement of a car park plaza near Fawara Chowk in Rawalpindi and can accommodate 100 people. Apart from providing shelter, the homeless will also be provided with free, hot meals and medical attention.

Moreover, the health minister said that the poor people who were visiting the nearby District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) to tend to patients will also be allowed to stay at the shelter.

Kiani said that gradually, they will enhance this facility, expanding its capacity with plans to build a multistorey shelter home for the homeless in the city, adding that despite the government’s refrain of being strapped for cash, it has the money to support the shelter homes.

Talking about the provision of the health insurance cards, he said that it will provide treatment worth up to Rs0.72 million and the facility will be extended to 20 million poor and needy people by next year.

He also refuted reports of medicine shortage in the allied hospitals of the city — which are primarily looked after by the Punjab Health Ministry — and said that sufficient medicines are available at the hospitals.

Replying to a question, Amir said that the Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken the notice of Punjab Law Minister and Medical superintendent Benazir Bhutto Hospital incident and ensured that matter would be decided on merit.

While speaking to the gathered media, Sheikh Rashid chose to launch a tirade against political opponents, including the deposed prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and former president, Asif Ali Zardari. He said that the two had taken turns to steal from the country.

Now, he said, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was also about to join that clique.

“You can say whatever you want, but you can’t say that [Prime Minister] Imran Khan is corrupt,” Ahmed asserted.

Having been designated as the focal person for the Nullah Leh Expressway by the prime minister, Ahmed said that work on the project was expected to begin soon. He added that they would impose a Rs20 toll on using the expressway. Kiani also backed the project, noting that it will help ease traffic in the city. Moreover, he said they were planning to build a solar energy market on the bank of the Nullah Leh. Further, he said that a new city will be set up which will be inaugurated by PM Imran.

Along with the two federal ministers, Deputy Commissioner Umer Jhangir, parliamentarians Sheikh Rashid Shafique, Raja Rashid Hafeez, Adnan Chaudary and a number of other people were present on the occasion.

January 2, 2019

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