PESHAWAR, Feb 27: The number of disabled persons, widows and orphans has increased alarmingly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since 2005 due to militancy and natural disasters, said provincial social welfare minister Sitara Ayaz on Wednesday.
The minister told a news conference here that her department had registered around 100,000 disabled persons and 50,000 widows in the province since 2005 and majority of those women lost husbands to militancy. She said the number of orphans had also risen in the province.
“This is very alarming situation and number of vulnerable people is on the rise because thousands of disabled persons, widows and orphans have not been registered so far,” she told a news conference here.
Minister for Zakat and Ushr Mohammad Zarshid Khan was also present.
Ms Ayaz said the planning and development department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) were conducting joint survey to register widows, orphans and permanently disabled persons and after registration, the government would begin livelihood programme for the registered people.
She said on average, one dozen widows visited her office daily for financial assistance.
The minister said the social welfare department had also run pilot project for orphans and widows in Peshawar district.
She said 3,000 nongovernmental organisations had been registered in the province but many of them were non-functional.
Ms Ayaz said the department had played vital role in helping the internally displaced population in 2009 and introduced registration system.
She said the welfare homes were set up in Abbottabad, Bannu, Charsadda, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat, Malakand, Nowshera and Peshawar for destitute and homeless children, while formal education, vocational and skill development training were given to children there.
The minister said halfway house was renovated in Peshawar to provide temporary residential service to women in distress and need. She added that two Darul Aman for homeless women and two hostels for working women were also established.
Ms Ayaz said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare Commission had been established under an act in 2010 to implement policies on prevention, protection, rehabilitation and integration of children at risk.
She said eight child protection units had been set up in different districts, while the commission had registered total 8,219 cases of which 6,168 had been disposed of successfully.
The minister said total size of the allocations in annual development programme in 2007-08 was Rs71.47 million, which was increased to Rs492 million in annual development programme of 2012-13.
The Zakat and Ushr minister said withdrawal of money by people from banks before Ramazan 1 had reduced quantum of money deducted from account-holders. He added that the practice had cut the volume of the total amount. The minister said the number of recipients of Zakat was rising in the province which was a sign showing surge in poverty in society.
He said Rs2.52 billion Zakat had been distributed among 20,163,341 deserving people in the province during the last four and a half years.