ISLAMABAD: The Senate Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety were on Friday given a list of 2,700 officers who had registered themselves or their spouses as beneficiaries for financial assistance meant for the poorest in the country.

The committee in its meeting learned that these grade-17 and above officers had been fraudulently drawing money from the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

The committee was told that officers working in BISP have been terminated from service and cases against them have been referred to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

With regard to action against senders of fake messages in the name of BISP, officials informed the senators that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in coordination with FIA had blocked around 3, 000 phone numbers and filed 440 FIRs.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

They told the members that the FIA cybercrime working group is keeping an eye on these messages vigilance.

In January this year, the BISP wrote to the provincial chief secretaries and federal ministries that action was underway against the officers who had illegally enrolled themselves as BISP beneficiaries.

According to official data, more than 1, 100 government officials from Sindh had been receiving BISP assistance, 741 government officials from Balochistan, 403 government officials from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while 137 officers availed themselves of the facility from Punjab.

From the federal government, 62 officers received the funds. Additionally, one officer of the Pakistan Railways, 22 of Kashmir, and 49 of Gilgit-Baltistan were also marked as undeserving recipients of the BISP.

From within the BISP itself, six officers were listed among the beneficiaries.

The committee appreciated the work of the ministry and department in this regard.

The committee was also given a briefing about the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and its schemes.

The committee was told about the grant programme and loan programme of the fund working for people below poverty line. Poverty, human development, and food scarcity work as indicators where the fund is to be disbursed.

According to BISP, as a first step associations are established in communities, which help determine needs there.

Currently 38, 000 schemes of PPAF are underway in different areas. Under the Assets Transfer Programme, a total of 180, 000 people will be given assets to run their livelihood and 25, 000 have already been given the money.

The project is conducted in close coordination between PPAF and BISP.

Under the interest-free loan program, 1, 100 loan centers have been established, 1.3 million people have so far benefitted from the loan in 110 districts.