Disguised in a burqa, she’s on a mission!

By: Maqbool Ahmad      Published: 02:30 AM, 9 May, 2020
Disguised in a burqa, she’s on a mission!
Dr Sania Nishtar — on the go.–File photo

Disguised in a burqa, she goes to different places to monitor how the programmes launched by the government for the poor are working.

She has done it before and she did it on Friday again. Dr Sania Nishtar visited an Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme payment site at Nurpur Shahan to monitor payments to category-3 beneficiaries that began on May 8. The covert visit, as she puts it in a tweet, was intended to assess arrangements in terms of quality of services, transparency in payments and adherence to COVID-19 measures.

Almost a year ago, Dr Sania had gone undercover to see operations at some cash distribution centres. Clad in a burqa, she stood in a queue with the poor women waiting to receive their financial assistance.

“When we make policies in air-conditioned offices, there is a chance that you’re not getting it right,” she was quoted as saying by a news channel. “It adds significance to policymaking when you go in the field and meet people on your own,” she said.

During her visit, she told the staff at the centres not to make women stand in long queues to avail the facility. She sat on the ground with the applicants and heard their complaints and assured them of a swift solution to their problems.

Her effort is being appreciated on the social media, especially twitter.

Some of her admirers believe she is doing the right thing at the right time.

Sania wears many hats. She is a physician, cardiologist, author and activist. Currently, she is also working as Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, with the status of a federal minister. Also, she heads the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), also known as Ehsaas Programme, which was launched by the then government of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in July 2008 with a focus on uplifting the most vulnerable and underprivileged in the society.