ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the expansion of the network of kitchen trucks and health coverage across Pakistan to uplift the underprivileged and help the country prosper.

“We have now initiated this facility in Peshawar, Lahore, and Faisalabad, and this network will now see its expansion in the entire country,” the premier said on Sunday.

The announcement came as the premier addressed a ceremony marking the expansion of the ‘Ehsaas Koi Bhoka Na Soye’ programme to distribute free food to daily-wage earners in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. “We can only emerge among the comity of developed nations if we take steps for the welfare of the underprivileged,” he said.

The prime minister reiterated the responsibility of the state to uplift the underprivileged and deserving segments of society.

“In the next step, we will expand the net of hospitals across the country, with people being able to benefit from the facilities through the health card,” he said. “It is our responsibility to provide universal health coverage under a system across Pakistan.”

Fulfilling these responsibilities will also set the path for us to bring justice to the country and ensure supremacy of law in it, the premier concluded. The premier addressed the inaugural ceremony virtually in view of the third wave of Covid-19. Chief ministers and parliamentarians of K-P and Punjab were a part of the conference.

The food trucks inaugurated under the programme will provide free food to 1,500 to 2,000 people every day through the designated points. The programme will benefit the daily-wage earners and lower class workers who don’t yet have access to Ehsas shelters and charities.

The prime minister had previously inaugurated the “Koi Bhuka Nahi Soye” food security program in Islamabad on 10 March; the initiative is funded by Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and is a project of the Ehsas program.

The project’s pilot is being run by the Pakistan Bait-ul Maal (PBM) and Panahgah, whereas a private trust will be providing the food resources for the initiative. The food is provided by mobile food trucks in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, with each food truck stopping at specific spots thrice a day. 

During the briefing to the prime minister, Special Assistant of the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, Dr Sania Nishtar had informed that these spots around the cities were chosen as a result of research regarding food security levels across localities, with the lower scoring localities being prioritised.

The food trucks are equipped with an in-built kitchen and will be serving fresh food to 7,000 people daily and more than a hundred thousand people in a month.


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