ANKARA: Federal Minister and Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Madame Farzana Raja along with a high level delegation met here with senior management of 10 top level Turkish NGOs working in different sectors like health, education and social development. Presidents and members of Board of directors of various umbrella organizations representing multiple NGOs were also present. 

Ms Farzana Raja briefed the officials in detail about various initiatives of BISP and urged for an increased cooperation between Pakistan and Turkey in social sector. The NGOs displayed keen interest in the working of BISP especially Vocational and Technical Training initiative and were appreciative of the success of the Programme. Meeting was followed by a long Q & A session in which participant showed their keenness in the operational working of BISP. There was a willingness to help flood affected beneficiaries of the BISP and various ways and means in this regard were discussed. Many NGOs expressed desire of collaborating with BISP and channelizing their assistance through BISP. Madame Farzana Raja pledged full support of BISP and Government of Pakistan for this venture.  

In a meeting with Mr Faik Yavuz, Vice President of Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) at Ankara, Madame Farzana Raja urged the business community of Turkey to help vulnerable sections of society. She said "We should move from global village of inequalities to the universal family of equalities". She referred to corporate social responsibility and said businessmen and investors should share the burden of providing social services and ensure welfare of people in their area of operations. Benazir Bhutto lived for the people of Pakistan and she sacrificed her life their cause. She believed in women empowerment and BISP is reflective of present Government’s commitment to her vision. She quoted Turkish President who in a meeting with her also termed BISP as best tribute to Benazir Bhutto Shaheed’s legacy. She said no country could achieve equitable economic development unless and until the poor sections of society are also focused. Vice President TOBB while appreciating BISP welcomed the proposal of partnership with Pakistan in the vocational and technical training sector initiative of BISP. He also briefed Federal Minister about "Gul Train" which is a project that could gear up economic activities in our region. The project is a result of the efforts of President Zardari and President Abdullah Gul. Madame Farzana Raja took keen interest in GUL train project and suggested various measures for effective and efficient implementation of the project as it will help in improving the socio-economic condition of the region.

In Istanbul, Chairperson BISP along with the delegation met Mr. Omer Cihad Vardan, President of the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (MUSIAD) and the senior management. President MUSIAD was deeply impressed by BISP’s Poverty Survey and the extent of databank of BISP. President MUSIAD promised to share the information about BISP with the members of his association so that the platform of BISP could be used to help deprived segments of society in Pakistan. During the meeting Madame Farzana Raja’s proposal of hiring BISP trained labor force in projects of MUSIAD in Pakistan and abroad was also discussed. Secretary BISP Mr Sher Khan and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Turkey Mr. Haroon Shaukat also accompanied Chairperson BISP in these meetings. ENDS

Photo caption: Heads of leading Turkish NGOs in a a group photo with Chairperson of BISP Ms Farzana Raja meeting with heads of leading Turkish NGOs at Ankara.