ISLAMABAD: Pakistan lacks a national policy and legislation to safeguard the fundamental rights of around 12 million senior citizens.
Though a national policy has been finalised, it remains pending with the Capital Administration and Development Division for the last one year. Only the K-P government has approved Senior Citizen Act 2014. The Punjab government has finalised the bill but its cabinet has stalled progress while the Sindh government has presented it in its assembly.
On the World Elder Abuse awareness day, Waqas Qureshi, advocacy and communication coordinator at Help Age International, said the policy was drafted with a two-year delay.
Talking to The Express Tribune, he said it was still waiting to be presented before the National Assembly for a year. He believed that the major reason behind the delay was the government’s attitude as the issue was not on its priority list.
“They do not have dedicated health care centres or proper public transport facilities. They do not even shelter homes where they can live in respect and dignity after being deserted by family members. We can see many senior persons begging on the road as they do not have any source of income,” he said.
According to UNFPA and HelpAge International report, there are 11.6 million people over 60 in Pakistan. This figure will rise to 43.3 million by 2050, making it 15.8% of the total population.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2015.