Inquiry ordered against officers tainted by BISP scam

From Balochistan 741 govt officers received funds meant for the poor

Mohammad Zafar January 11, 2020
Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) PHOTO: PID

QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal ordered inquiry into reports of involvement of a large number of provincial officers receiving money from Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) in the name of spouses.

According to reports, 741 officers of grade 17 to 21 were involved in the scam.

“The CM ordered authorities concerned to submit list of officers who have utilised BISP funds by registering their wives and depriving the needy women of Balochistan of their right,” said an official source.

He added that the names of officials would be disclosed after the completion of inquiry.

Earlier, BISP Chirperson Dr Sania Nishtar tweeted on a micro-blogging website saying 2,543 government officers of grade 17 and above had received assistance meant for the poor. She added that the officers had got themselves registered among beneficiaries from the social safety net and received the assistance meant for the poorest of the poor. They have been excluded from the programme.

Nishtar confirmed that a disciplinary action has been initiated against the officers. She added that the BISP has also written to the provincial chief secretaries and federal ministries whose officers had illegally enrolled themselves as BISP beneficiaries. They have been informed that action is under way against these people.

To avoid such irregularities in future, appropriate measures had been taken under the government’s Ehsaas programmer reforms, the BISP chairperson said.

According to official data, the highest number of government officials receiving the BISP assistance was from Sindh. As many as 1,122 officers of grade 17 and above from the province had been BISP beneficiaries.

The second highest number came from Balochistan where 741 government officials were signed up for the poverty alleviation scheme. From Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 403 government officials availed the BISP funds, while 137 were from Punjab.

From the federal government, 62 officers received the programme funds. Additionally, one officer of the Pakistan Railways, 22 of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and 49 of Gilgit Baltistan were also marked as undeserving recipients of the BISP.

From within the BISP itself, six officers were listed among the beneficiaries.

In December 2019, Dr Nishtar had announced that the government had conducted forensic data analysis and identified 820,165 undeserving people who were availing the BISP assistance. She had said the government was ‘exiting’ these people from the programme, adding that this exercise would be conducted annually to weed out any beneficiary who had achieved financial stability so that the funds could be disbursed to more deserving people.

Launched in July 2008, the federally-funded BISP is Pakistan’s largest social safety net, catering to women and benefiting around 5.4 million people, according to data released in 2016.

Nishtar earlier announced to throw out almost 8 million and 20 thousand illegal beneficiaries of Benazir Income Support paradigm.

High officials from all over country have been illegally utilizing the reserved funds for poor and needy women of the society. Almost 2543 officers from grade 17 to grade 21 from all over Pakistan has been listed out from the circle of Benazir Income Support Program beneficiaries.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2020.

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