KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari ordered on Monday the launching of a nationwide ‘Benazir Behan Basti Programme’ for emancipation of women.
The president, who was presiding over a meeting at the Bilawal House after returning from visits to China and the UK, said the programme would benefit homeless women.
Women holding the Benazir Income Support Programme cards would be given land to build houses, Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri said while briefing journalists on decisions taken at the meeting.
Land will be provided by the government and financial assistance for the programme will be sought from the Friends of Democratic Pakistan.
President Zardari said the houses would be registered in the names of women and other members of their households should contribute in their construction.
The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan and provincial ministers Pir Mazharul Haq, Dr Zulfikar Mirza, Agha Siraj Durrani, Murad Ali Shah, Manzoor Wasan, Ali Nawaz Shah, Jam Mehtab Dahar, Ayaz Soomro and Shazia Marri.
The president emphasised the need for the lining of canals and adoption of drip and sprinkler irrigation methods. A meeting will be held between Wapda and irrigation departments of all the provinces to prepare a plan to train farmers to use the methods.
The president said an area should be earmarked in each district for the pilot training programme. Ms Marri said the meeting also discussed a plan to provide housing to police personnel.
The president said the police force should be turned into better service providers. Land of various police stations will be used for the housing scheme comprising high-rise buildings to accommodate all personnel.
The president stressed the need for facilitating prisoners with improved conditions in the barracks.
He said additional barracks should be built throughout the country to fulfil the minimum requirement of space in accordance with the jail manual.
He ordered preparation of lists of prisoners above 70 years of age and women with minor children not involved in heinous or anti-state crimes so that their sentences could be remitted.
Various development programmes for Lyari were also reviewed and the president said a cardiovascular unit in the Lyari General Hospital should be made functional as soon as possible. A nursing training centre and hostel in the area should also be built at the earliest, he said.
The governor and the chief minister informed the president that an area of 1,000 acres would be vacated along the Mauripur Road after the shifting of a truck stand.
The president said the land should be used for setting up a park and the Lyari University.
The president reiterated the need for all parties to work together in the spirit of political reconciliation.
Replying to a question, the information minister said it had been noted that there was need to improve the distribution of relief package, especially flour.
When asked whether the issue of the National Finance Commission had been discussed, she said the president had fulfilled his responsibilities and it was now up to the provinces to find an equitable solution to the problem.