Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability (SAPM) Shahzad Akbar revealed the names of 2,037 officials, from grade 1 to 22, getting stipends of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) unlawfully, one way or the other.
He revealed this while addressing a news conference, along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, here on Wednesday.
Shahzad stated that “In some cases, the officials were getting BISP stipends directly against their names, while some had included their spouses in the beneficiaries’ list,”
He said the names appeared in the list after a detailed data verification carried out by the BISP in collaboration with National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to identify fraudulent elements. The data of BISP beneficiaries have been divided into two categories from grade 1-16 and grade 17-22.
However, interesting facts have been revealed during the verification process as in most of the cases the government officers’ having two wives both of them received the same stipend,” he added.
Shahzad said such initiatives in every regime were designed to help the masses living below the line of poverty as it was a social welfare project. He said the Grade 17-22 officers had deprived the people of their rights who were dying of malnutrition and destitute households.
He noted that grade 17-22 officers’ cohort was receiving many perks and privileges from the government. “BISP should have been kept transparent and free from misappropriation whereas the federal government took the decision to confirm the veracity of the project’s beneficiaries.”
The SAPM on Accountability gave the credit to Dr. Sania Nishtar and her team for working on the verification of the data. A total of 140,000 beneficiaries were government employees who had withdrawn the BISP stipend including their spouses. However, the 2,037 officers and their better halves were among those who applied for the BISP registration and successfully received the stipend after biometric verification and its evidence was available with the BISP.
The federal government, he said had decided to initiate departmental action against these public servants and had written a letter to the Establishment Division in this regard.
While mentioning the region-wise statistics of fraudster BISP stipend recipient, the SAPM said Sindh province had taken the lead where grade 17-22, as many as 938 officials including 50 officers were directly receiving the BISP stipend and 888 public servants were among those whose wives were BISP beneficiaries. The majority of these officers belonged to the Education department, he added.
The Balochistan province remained in second place with 554 (Grade 17-22) government officers receiving BISP stipend where 17 officers were directly benefitting through the BISP and 537 senior government officers were those whose wives were the beneficiaries of it.
Shahzad said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was in the third place with a total of 343 public servants of grade-17 and above receiving the BISP stipend in different ways and all of them were women. At least, 16 government officials got direct BISP stipend whereas 327 officer’s spouses were the beneficiaries with most of them from the education department, he added.
Almost 101 grade-17 and above officers in Punjab province were BISP beneficiaries where 11 public servants were directly receiving the BISP stipend whereas 90 officers’ spouses were the BISP beneficiaries including those having two better halves, he said.
He said 48 officials of grade-17-22 from the federal government availed the BISP stipend. Around two female government employees from different departments directly received the stipend whereas 46 officers’ spouses had benefitted from the BISP.