Over 2,500 senior government officers had added either their own names, or those of their spouses, to the list of beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Program, the head of the BISP said on Wednesday.
In a post on Twitter, Sania Nishtar, who serves as the BISP head as well as the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, said 2,543 government officers of Grade-17 and above had availed the BISP and had now been ‘exited’ from the program. “True: 2,543 exited from @bisp_pakistan are government officers/their spouses Grade 17 and above. We have written to Chief Secretaries and Ministries officially. At @bisp_pakistan disciplinary action is underway. Safeguards built for future under @Ehsaas_Pk governance reform,” she wrote.
According to official data, which was also posted on Twitter by Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry, the highest number of government officials availing the BISP was from Sindh. Per the detailed breakdown, 1,122 officers of Grade-17 and above from the province had been BISP beneficiaries.
The second highest number came from Balochistan province, where 741 government officials were signed up for the poverty alleviation scheme. From Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 403 government officials availed the BISP, while 137 did so from Punjab.
From the federal government, 62 officers availed the program. Additionally, 1 officer of the Pakistan Railways, 22 of Pakistan-administered 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.
Last month, Nishtar announced that the government had conducted forensic data analysis and identified 820,165 undeserving people who were availing the BISP. She had said the government was ‘exiting’ these people from the program, adding that this exercise would be conducted annually to weed out anyone who had achieved financial stability so that the funds could be disbursed to more deserving people.
Launched in July 2008, the federally funded BISP is Pakistan’s largest social safety net, catering to women and benefiting around 5.4 million people, according to data released in 2016.