Development Boom in Thar Brings Hope For Pakistan's Least Developed Region

New roads, an airport and a water reservoir in Tharparkar are opening up Pakistan's least developed region. Jobs are being created, drought-resistant nutritious trees and crops being planted and fish farms being established for the benefit of the the people of Thar. New water pond is attracting migratory birds that feed on fish. 

Tharparkar Peacock

Underground Water: 

Fortunately for the people of Thar, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company has discovered significant amount of underground water, the most precious commodity in drought-hit Tharparkar region of Pakistan.  Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SECMC and Thar Foundation was quoted by Business Recorder as saying, “While carrying out hydrogeological studies for Thar coal project, we found out abundant water reserves of groundwater at the depth of 450 plus feet in the whole of the desert region." The available water in Thar has the potential to irrigate thousands of acres of land by applying modern watering methods such as drip and sprinkler systems, he added. 

Rizvi said in collaboration with Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) and Institute of Sustainable Halophyte Utilization of Karachi University, Thar Foundation has produced commercially viable amounts of Apple Ber, guava, dates, Rhodes Grass (for livestock feed), Castor (cooking) Oil, Cluster Bean (guar), and vegetables. Utilizing the underground saline water, the foundation has piloted a 40-acre plot of land to grow fruits, vegetables, and local grass species and established Sindh’s largest private sector nursery which nurtures 500,000 saplings at a time. It has also set up a 68-acre Green Park which has grown local species of trees that comprises Neem, Babur, Roheero, Kandi, Moringa, and other species.

Gorano Pond has begun to attract a lot of migratory birds that feed on fish. Some species, the report said, have even started nesting on the partly submerged tree tops, according to the Turkish Andolu News Agency

Moringa Trees Fight Malnutrition:

Aga Khan University and Sindh Agriculture University are jointly promoting Moringa tree planting in Pakistan's Thar desert to fight malnutrition, according to multiple media reports. Moringa has gained popularity as superfood in the West in recent years. People of drought-stricken Tharparkar have been suffering from malnutrition and disease in the middle of a long-running drought in the region. Sindh Agriculture University, Tando Jam, and the Aga Khan University will plant 40,000 moringa tree seedlings in Matiari, a rural district in central Sindh, in an effort to improve the health of malnourished mothers, children and adolescents in the area. The moringa tree plantation campaign has been funded by the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment, a $10 million fund dedicated to practical solutions to environmental problems.  

Moringa tree packs 92 essential nutrients, 46 antioxidants, 36 anti-inflammatories and 18 amino acids which help your body heal and build muscle. Native to South Asia, the hardy and drought-resistant Moringa tree can contribute to everything from better vision and stronger immune system to healthier bones and skin. Moringa has 25 times more iron than spinach, 17 times more calcium than milk, 15 times more potassium than bananas and nine times more protein than yoghurt,  according to Dr. Shahzad Basra of the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, Pakistan. “It also has seven times more vitamin C compared to oranges, over 10 times more vitamin A compared to carrots and three times more vitamin E compared to almonds", he added. No wonder the powder made from Moringa leaves is sold as superfood in the West. Global market for Moringa products is estimated at $5 billion and growing at 8% CAGR. 

Fish Production For Protein:

Dewatering operation of the deep aquifers underneath the coal deposits has discovered large amounts of water which has been removed and pumped into a lake called Gorano Pond. This has opened up  organic fish farming in the region. 

Gorano is 35 KMs south of the Islamkot Taulka where an artificial reservoir of 1500 Acres was established, according to Business Recorder.  Dewatering started in April 2017 from SECMC coal mine and so far, 600 Acres of the reservoir have been filled with water. More than 100,000 fish-seedlings (3-4inches in size) were initially released and within 8-9 months with full grown fish reaching more than 1Kg in weight only on natural feed (Zooplanktons, Phytoplanktons, Algae and other marine insects available in Pond) and were declared fit for consumption by an external laboratory.
Jobs For Locals:
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), the largest contractor working in Thar desert coal project, has committed itself to hiring locals wherever possible.

When SECMC launched its Female Dump Truck Driver Program near the town of Islamkot in Thar,  Kiran Sadhwani, a female engineer, visited several villages to motivate women to apply for the job and empower themselves, according to Express Tribune newspaper. “Not all women who are working as dumper drivers are poor or in dire need of money. It is just that they want to work and earn a living for themselves and improve the lives of their families,” she told the paper. SEMC is hiring 30 women truck drivers for its Thar projects, according to Dawn newspaper.
Private Sector's Role in Thar:
Most of the social sector improvement effort in Tharparkar is part of what is known as "Corporate Social Responsibility" (CSR). It is led by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Co (SECMC), and the Thar Foundation, funded by SECMC. SECMC is joint venture of Engro Corporation (Dawood Group) and Sindh government.  The Thar Foundation is a special department under SECMC that serves as the CSR office of the Thar project, and handles all the CSR work in the entire Thar area on behalf of all the funding parties. Also helping out are Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund & several universities in Sindh, including Karachi University, Aga Khan University and Tando Jam Agriculture University.
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Comment by Riaz Haq on February 25, 2021 at 7:46pm

With the increasing significance of corporate philanthropy and awareness of corporate social responsibility to deliver socio-economic benefits at gross root level, telecommunication companies in Pakistan are working on the same agenda for making “social friends”. Telecommunication industry in Pakistan has its prime role in adopting CSR strategies for the social welfare activities, providing assistance to the community in elevating literacy rate, eliminating poverty through monetary policy and providing with health facilities. Four telecommunication companies MOBILINK, WARID, UFONE and TELENOR are studied in this respect for studying their CSR activities with the prime focus upon their Philanthropic contribution in health, education and community development in the Pakistani society. Furthermore, environment protection is also the focused area of all the four organizations.
It is pertinent to mention here that all of the four companies contributed during the flood relief activities. Moreover, all seems interested to do philanthropic activities but at different levels.
MOBILINK leads in corporate social responsibility activities; providing health, education and community services through charity, active employee volunteerism etc. Mobilink is the leading CSR contributing company and oldest mobile company in Pakistan which has largest consumers in Pakistan. Employee volunteerism is the distinguishing feature of Mobilink which makes it different from other three telecommunication companies.
WARID, on the other hand, focuses on health and education assistance to needy persons. Warid has the strategy to provide customer satisfaction and community development. Warid has the privileged upon other three companies when it celebrates Worlds Tobacco day on health issues. Warid has the distinguishing characteristics that support white ribbon campaign for violence against women in PAKISTAN.
Most of the attention is focused to provide education to Pakistani community is the agenda of TELENOR. The manifestations of TELENOR Company for providing education are scholarships and construction of school buildings. Telenor has edged upon other three companies after contributing in Attaabad landslide event. Furthermore TELENOR is keener to eradicate the evil of child labour in Pakistan. TELENOR is the only company which has partnership with international organizations i.e. UNICEF, RED CROSS, NOBEL PEACE CENTER and GSMA for charity purposes.
UFONE merely focus on health and education having low contribution in the list. In collaboration with the citizen foundation Rahbar, a mentor program, for Youth development completed seven successful Cycles in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi. Furthermore, As per evaluation of the content of the official website of UFONE it is found that it doesn’t have any significant contribution in other sectors.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 25, 2021 at 7:47pm

While businesses try to address the gaps in their operating models to counter Covid-19–induced recession, both global and local brands have stepped up to play their part as brand activists and social crisis responders. Examples surfaced in a matter of weeks as brands called for “flattening the curve” through social distancing. Brands like Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Mercedes-Benz bombarded digital media with their visual identities in support of social distancing. Emirates was among the first companies to encourage staff to go on paid leave.

Brand activism also takes the form of donations to organisations fighting the pandemic. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has directed all listed companies to divert their CSR funds towards fighting Covid-19. The largest donor to the cause from the private sector is Engro Corporation Chairman Hussain Dawood who pledged Rs1 billion. 

Biscuit-maker EBM announced that it would dedicate its advertising budget to the fight. Unilever Pakistan announced a donation of Rs200m. Textile exporter Interloop Ltd announced a donation of Rs20m. Pakistan Cables Ltd collaborated with the Karachi Relief Trust and pledged Rs2m.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 25, 2021 at 7:48pm

KARACHI: Foreign investors have spent Rs16 billion in Pakistan on corporate social responsibility programmes during 2019-2020, Overseas Investors Chambers of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) report showed.

The annual CSR Report 2019-2020 showed that about half of OICCI members invested about Rs8 billion collectively on CSR-related activities, excluding the amount spent on Covid-19. The members reached out to around 62 million direct beneficiaries throughout Pakistan, OICCI statement said.

In addition to monetary contributions, the CSR activities of OICCI members included investment of their employees’ time in different value-adding social activities across Pakistan with the underlying commitment to uplift the underprivileged strata of the society during these trying times.

About 100 of the leading foreign investors actively participated in support of the government’s effort to fight the pandemic.

OICCI President Haroon Rashid said there has been a noticeable increase in sustainable CSR activities over the last few years. “OICCI members have adopted the best CSR and sustainability practices, largely in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) to meet the growing needs of the society.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 26, 2021 at 5:27pm

Some honey collectors believe the best quality honey comes from Karoonjahr Hills, Nagar Parkar, Tharparkar district. Because there are several herbal plants, which bees are fond of, and are rich in nutrition and useful for herbal medicines.

Akhtar Hussain, a daily wager, working in an agriculture field prefers to collect honey during the season starting from March, April, May and June or September-October. During the season, he travels daily towards tree groves and fruit orchards in search of beehives and collect little honey in bottles that he can later sell for money.

In his understanding, he gets merely Rs300-400 daily for his work in agriculture fields during normal days, while honey hunting can earn him Rs2000—3000 daily, depending on the availability of beehives.

The authenticity of its purity can be measured from the low rates, as greedy lot sells a liter bottle of adulterated honey for Rs700—800/litre only, by mixing sugar or other materials in it, compared to prices of original, available at Rs2000—3000 per liter.

Hussain said, “Obviously, everybody wants to keep this valuable natural treat homes to use for curing ailments or self-consumption, but most of the people cannot afford it in these days”.

Selling honey is the source of livelihood for several people in villages, who collect it from different areas hanging on trees and bushes.

When the spring/plant flowering season starts, these people adopt this practice for a few months to earn a little extra for their families by selling honey to direct customers or shops in the local market.

Veteran honey collectors residing near the forest villages recall the blissful days of the past when they used to collect more honeydew for sale and keep little at homes for family members. But now, they say, neither is there left any forest cover, nor are there as many beehives as they used to be in the bygone golden days to attract collectors.

Depleting forests, rangelands, groves, increasing use of chemical input to agriculture crops and persistent water scarcity in the river and canals have together contributed to the disappearance of beehives and caused the biodiversity to shrink.

Wherever the river flows, providing water to irrigation channels for agriculture crops, flowering seasons of fruits and vegetables always attract honeybees to extract nectar from flowers.

In present day situation, raw honey is the most precious product in market, because the refined honey coming from bee farms have dominated the entire markets.

From the reports gathered from different ecological zones in Sindh province of Pakistan, The News has learned the areas have different kinds of honey having different flavours and qualities depending on to variety of crops, flowers, fruits and herbal plants, wherefrom these bees collect nectar.

Obviously, the riverine forests have been cleaned for agriculture purposes, leaving a small patch of trees to remind its glorious past. The farmers and herders residing in the villages situated on both the sides of the river seem lucky always to collect honey for their own consumption or spare little for sale.

Ali Gul Khoso from a village near Unarpur town, once a prosperous market of forest products in Jamshoro district, said, “During these days somebody may see more beehives after flowering season in the area, but only a few people can understand that beginning of spring season is the breeding time for honeybees”. “Thus, traditional honey collectors, being aware, cannot disturb beehives and let the bees to thrive on the fresh nectar from flowers.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 3, 2021 at 6:08pm

#Karachi-based Denim-Maker Artistic Milliners Makes $370M Investment in #Hydropower Projects in #Pakistan demonstrating commitment to sustainability. It will also include the development of wind and solar projects, as well as an operational #wind farm.

Karachi, Pakistan-based denim manufacturer Artistic Milliners further demonstrated its commitment to sustainability with a $370 million investment in two run of river hydropower projects.

Artistic Milliners’ hydropower plants, Hydro I and Artistic Hydro II, will contribute a combined 521 GWh per year. According to Italian energy company ERG SpA, that’s enough energy to meet the demand of more than 133,000 homes. Both plants are located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, with Artistic I Hydro pulling from the Panjkora River and Artistic II Hydro pulling from the Ushu River.

The project will also include the development of wind and solar projects, as well as an operational wind farm.

Regulatory authorities are currently processing generation licenses and tariffs needed for the projects, and commercial operation is slated to begin by December 2027.

According to the International Hydropower Association, renewable hydropower is a clean and low-cost source of electricity generation and responsible water management. Specifically, run-of-river hydropower channels flowing water from a river to spin a turbine. This form of energy uses water flow that is regulated by the facility for a continuous supply of electricity. It’s currently a significant energy source in Pakistan, representing around 25 percent of capacity and 21 percent of generation.

This investment is part of Artistic Milliner’s overall commitment to the land in which it operates. At the end of last year, Artistic Milliners launched the Milliner Cotton Initiative, a call for visibility and women empowerment throughout the cotton supply chain. It also encompasses capacity building for ginners and promotes practices for mitigating extortion throughout the Rahim Yar Khan district of Punjab, Pakistan.

Artistic Milliners is also the first and only Pakistan-based company to abide by the United Nations’ 1.5°C-compliant business model to help mitigate the climate crisis. It has aggressive sustainability targets in place to reach net zero emission by 2025.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 4, 2021 at 7:13am

Shanghai Electric's Ongoing Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts Receive Award from All-Pakistan Chinese Enterprises' Association

Shanghai Electric (the "Company") (SEHK: 02727, SSE: 601727), the world's leading manufacturer and supplier of electric power generation equipment, industrial equipment and integration services, has received the Annual Corporate Social Responsibility Award from the Karachi branch of the All-Pakistan Chinese Enterprises' Association (APCEA). The award recognizes the Company's contribution to the social development of the region in 2020, and its active commitment to CSR.

"We are truly honored to receive this recognition from the APCEA. Shanghai Electric will continue to promote the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the future and strive to ensure the smooth construction and operation of the Thar Block-1 Integrated Mining-Power project. At the same time, we remain steadfastly committed to promoting the advancement of Pakistan's energy projects, in order to benefit more people in the local community," said Meng Donghai, CEO of Thar Coal Block-1 Power Generation Company.

The Thar Block-1 Integrated Mining-Power project ("the Project") was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic last year, which in turn affected the local community in Mithi City and the wider Sindh Province. As the project developer, Shanghai Electric swiftly responded when the Pakistani government implemented lockdown measures in March 2020, working closely with the Sindh Government to assist locals during the challenging period.

In April, the Company donated essential supplies to Pakistan's 441 Infantry Brigade to ensure the safety of the army. Shanghai Electric also donated supplies to Mithi City, and distributed protective materials, grain and oil to help local teams address food and clothing shortages in impoverished villages. Later in July, Thar Coal Block-1 Power Generation Company together with the Sino Sindh Resources Company on behalf of Shanghai Electric donated 6 million rupees to Sindh Province to found Corona Virus Emergency Fund, which aims to help the local government and community tackle the epidemic challenges.

At the same time, the Project is trying to overcome numerous difficulties and accelerated implementation, whilst ensuring compliance with pandemic prevention and control measures. The entry and opening of the main plant's steel structure was completed in July 2020, laying a solid foundation for the on-time completion of subsequent project nodes.

The national lockdown and travel restriction slowed down the construction progress of the project at the height of the pandemic in Pakistan last year. To swiftly respond to the emergency, Shanghai Electric arranged charter flights to dispatch engineers and workers to accelerate the project progress, alongside 4 tonnes of personal protective equipment, essential supplies, office supplies and emergency medicine also to on-site employees.

Over the past year, Shanghai Electric has made continuous efforts to promote local employment in Sindh Province. As of January 2021, the Project had more than 5,000 employees working on the site - over 75% of whom are local staff. Shanghai Electric organized dedicated pre-job training to help workers improve their working skills, and brought senior Chinese technicians on board to pass on their skills, knowledge and experience to locally hired workers. In October 2020, the power company held a soldering competition to encourage local welders to demonstrate their professional expertise in the spirit of pursuing perfection.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 21, 2021 at 8:06am

Remarkable development with miraculous achievement and boon for Thar - Pakistan Today

The government of Pakistan has taken indispensable initiatives to covert Thar as a major economic zone for the major foreign direct investment and projection economic and industrial activities. It is mandatory to mention that the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) is fervently engaged in coal mining and its power generation plants have been successfully adding 660 Mega Walt(MW) coal-generated energy in the national grid. whereas 1320 MW will be added to the national grid by Sino Sindh Resource Private Limited ( SSRL). There are two under construction power plants of Thal Nova and Hubco Thar Energy limited of 330 MW each and they will also add their power to the national grid by 2020. Hence, it won’t be incorrect to assume that Thar will change Pakistan.

It is meritorious to mention that Sindh Government has taken praiseworthy and remarkable initiatives to facilitate and encourage the investment and industrialisation in the Tharparkar district with vivid infrastructural development such as a widespread network of well-constructed roads, construction of the 42 small dams, water carrier pipelines, dam for the reservoir of rainwater in Tharparkar district, establishment of the Mai Bhakhtawar airport, Establishment of NED University Campus, schools by Engro with the collaboration of TCF and the start of the state of the art institutions of heart diseases the institute of Cardiovascular Diseases( NICVD) and several other projects.

The Sindh government has made a remarkable initiative on constructing 42 small dams in Thar. The construction of 23 dams has successfully completed and inaugurated by Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah and he showed an eager interest in the completion of the remaining 11 small dams will be completed by 2022. The initiative of the construction of small dams will not only provide fresh drinking water to 87 villages but will irrigate 85000 acres of land. At present constructed 23 dams have immensely contributed to the irrigation of the hundred acres of land with bumper crops of wheat, Onions, Garlic, Oats, Gawaar, and other crops which is indeed a miraculous achievement of the Sindh government for the prosperity of the People that was the vision of Mohtrama Shaheed  Banzeer Bhutto and Bilawal Bhutto which coming to happen as an undeniable reality.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 26, 2021 at 1:58pm

#Pakistan to get $1.3 billion #WorldBank loan for social safety net (#EhsaasKafaalat), #infrastructure & governance. Projects include 35 small rainwater-fed #groundwater recharge #dams in #Sindh: #Karachi, Jamshoro, Thatta, Dadu, & Tharparkar. #water

Pakistan has reached an agreement with World Bank to work on seven projects worth $1.3 billion aimed at improving social protection, infrastructure, and governance, a statement from the Ministry of Economic Affairs said Friday.

Minister for Economic Affairs, Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar witnessed the signing ceremony of seven project agreements at the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

"This financing will support the government’s initiatives in Social Protection, Disaster and Climate Risk Management, Improving Infrastructure for Resilience, Agriculture and Food Security, Human Capital Development and Governance Sectors," the statement said.

The agreement includes the Crisis-Resilient Social Protection Programme (CRISP) worth $600 million. The objective of the programme is to support the development of a more adaptive social protection system that will contribute to future crisis-resilience among poor and vulnerable households in the country.

"The programme is focused on the key initiatives being undertaken by Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) under the Ehaas Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programmes," the statement said.

The second project worth $200 million is the Locust Emergency and Food Security Project that will introduce a set of customised activities — such as conducting locust surveillance and controlling operations, rehabilitating livelihoods of affected rural communities and farmers — to effectively address the desert locust outbreak.

The third project worth $200 million is the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Human Capital Investment Project.

It aims to improve the availability, utilisation, and quality of primary healthcare services and elementary education services in four districts — Peshawar, Nowshera Haripur, and Swabi — of KP that have been hosting refugees.

The Sindh Resilience Project worth $200 Million — the fourth project — is to mitigate flood and drought risks in selected areas and strengthen Sindh’s capacity to manage natural disasters and public health emergencies.

"The project will support the establishment of the Sindh Emergency Service, including the development of six divisional headquarters operational facilities, provision of equipment, and training of personnel," it said.

It will also support the construction of 35 small rainwater-fed recharge dams in drought-prone regions of Sindh including Karachi, Jamshoro, Thatta, Dadu, and Nagarparker in Tharparkar districts.

The fifth project and sixth projects, Balochistan Livelihood and Entrepreneurship, and Balochistan Human Capital Investment Projects, worth $86 million aim to promote employment opportunities for rural communities; achieve sustainability of enterprises, and improve utilisation of quality health and education services in the province.

The final and seventh project, the Supporting Institutional Interventions for Management of Refugees Project, worth $50 million, aims to improve organisational and institutional capacity for managing refugees and host communities.

Secretary Ministry of Economic Affairs Noor Ahmed signed the financing agreements on behalf of the federal government, while representatives of Sindh, KP, and Balochistan signed their respective project agreements online.

World Bank's Country Director Najy Benhassine signed the agreements on behalf of the World Bank. The country director assured his institution's continuous financial and technical support to Pakistan in a bid to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the country.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 4, 2021 at 8:50pm
ḳhudā ne aaj tak us qaum kī hālat nahīñ badlī
na ho jis ko ḳhayāl aap apnī hālat ke badalne kā
It's better to light a candle than curse darkness!
#Pakistan #selfhelp #volunteering #philanthropy
Comment by Riaz Haq on April 10, 2021 at 10:59am

Pakistan: Philanthropists, charities help poor during Ramadan

Despite a surge in coronavirus cases and rising inflation, grocery stores and supermarkets in Karachi, the country’s commercial capital, are overcrowded with customers ahead of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Neatly wrapped packets and boxes of lentils, flour, rice, cooking oil, tea, spices, beverages, and other food items are arranged in shelves at a sprawling supermarket in the city’s eastern district.

Citizens are buying more than the usual not only to cope with the extra consumption, but to distribute among the less fortunate, or those who have been unemployed due to an economic slowdown aided by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The downturn has particularly impacted those below poverty line – nearly 25% of Pakistan’s 210 million population.

“Ramadan is the perfect time to help others,” Mohammad Younus, a customer, told Anadolu agency while maneuvering through a crowded corridor with an overstuffed trolley.

Yunus is one of the millions of Pakistanis who distribute rations, alms, and clothing to the less fortunate in Ramadan, when devotees abstain from food and drink from dawn to sunset.

“This time, the poor need and deserve more. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs over the past year due to COVID-19 as businesses have been hit hard,” he said. “I’ve been distributing rations to 15-20 people on the eve of Ramadan for years, but this year I plan to double the figure … we are duty-bound to provide them relief during the holy month.”

There are similar scenes in Judia Bazar, one of the city’s largest and oldest wholesale markets.

“We have bought double the rations compared to the previous year due to the rising demand,” Mohammad Yusuf, a businessman who runs a small charity in New Karachi Town, told Anadolu Agency.

This has given some hope to traders for a slight improvement in otherwise sluggish business activity. “We expect more sales this time,” Anas Sultan, a grocery wholesaler, told Anadolu Agency, adding that they relaxed credit deadlines for small retailers “as they were in trouble.”

– Zakat

Most Pakistanis prefer to pay their zakat – the obligatory Muslim charity tax – during Ramadan, expecting more rewards from God.

Zakat, which is “purifying” one’s earnings or savings, is one of Islam’s five pillars. Any Muslim who owns a certain amount of money, gold, silver, or other assets is bound to pay 2.5% of his or her excess annual wealth to the needy.

In Pakistan it is mandated and collected by the government. Apart from helping the less fortunate, zakat also assists charities run their operations throughout the year.

These organizations help stem the economic burden on low-income groups.

Al-Khidmat Foundation, which also runs a countrywide chain of charity hospitals, including a modern facility in the southern desert area of Thar, plans to provide rations to 500,000 people across the country during Ramadan.

“Our focus is on the remote areas and people who have been affected by COVID-19,” Abdul Shakoor, the foundation’s president, told Anadolu Agency. He shared that 10% of his organization’s annual budget is met through zakat.

The foundation is also carrying out several projects, mainly for the provision of clean water in collaboration with Turkey’s state-run aid agency – Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).

“Charity is hardwired in the blood of Pakistanis. Almost every Pakistani, in one way or the other donates something,” Shakoor said.

The Saylani Welfare Trust also plans providing 100,000 ration bags to the underprivileged in Karachi during the month, according to Amjad Chamriya, an official who deals with the charity’s ration distribution process.

The charity says it will also serve Iftar (sunset meal to break the fast) to around 250,000 people.


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