ISLAMABAD: The federal government has initiated strict action against the fraudulent elements found involved in benefitting from the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and sacked four grade-17 employees.
Those dismissed had been working for the BISP and had enrolled their wives as the beneficiary in the scheme. They had been fired on charges of corruption and misconduct.
A notification for their dismissal from services has also been issued.
The government had planned the welfare scheme solely for the poor of the country but recently, government officials and their families had been found availing the facility.
The names of those sacked from the services are the BISP assistant directors Nouman Zaheem, Shafiullah, Fazle Amin and Sabeel Khan.
In addition, Rs440,000 had been recovered from their possession.
Two dismissed officers belonged to Abbottabad, while the remaining two to Dera Ismail Khan.
Last year in December, the federal cabinet had given approval to the removal of 820,165 beneficiaries from the BISP database, describing them as “undeserving”.
It was stated that those expelled from the welfare programme included 2,543 people who were serving on various government positions – from grade 17 to 21.
Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari described the move as “an attack on the economic empowerment of poor women in the country”.
The changes in the BISP database were made in the wake of apprehensions expressed by some cabinet members that the supporters of opposition parties, especially those backing the PPP, were benefiting from the programme, while those belonging to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf were being ignored.
Statistics stated that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ranked first in the list of “underserving” candidates from where 277,266 people were removed from the programme. The government struck down names of 243,380 people in Punjab, 183,342 in Sindh and 42,280 in Balochistan.
Out of total 820,165 beneficiaries removed from the BISP database, 14,730 were government employees – mostly employees of railways, post office and the BISP – despite the fact that the facility was not meant for government servants.
Launched in July 2008, the BISP is the country’s largest single social safety net programme with around 5.4 million beneficiaries, according to the 2016 data.
According to details, several top government officials continued to receive the monthly stipend in the name of their wives.
Those who benefitted from the quarterly support payments include three grade-21 officers, 429 grade-19 officers and 59 grade-20 officers from across the country.
Over 340 officers of grade-18 had unjustifiably benefited from the welfare scheme in Sindh, while 6 officers working for the BISP also benefited from the programme.
In addition, 1,240 grade-17 officers also profited from the scheme. Similarly, a wide majority or 741 government officers in Balochistan also availed the facility.