Offbeat: poverty survey unearths secret marriages, Islamabad gets plastic road

Ehsaas programme officials finally find a solution
Dec 04, 2021

A poverty alleviation survey in Pakistan has revealed several secret marriages of men and women living below the poverty line. The findings left officials confused over who should get the aid money: the ‘official wives’ of poor men or their secret second wives.

The problem stemmed from the fact that each family tree in Pakistan begins with a male head of the family and the poverty aid is being distributed among families, not individuals.

The results of the survey were revealed at a Senate panel meeting by Dr Sania Nisthar, the special assistant to the PM on poverty alleviation. She heads the Ehsaas programme that provides monthly stipend handouts to about 15 million families with each family getting Rs12,000 per month.

Since a man could only head one family, people with secret wives were a problem. The aid money could go to only one of their wives.

Nishtar said when the issue of secret wives surfaced officials finally arrived at one logical conclusion. They decided not to take the lid off from the secret marriages. The stipends were issued to the officially declared wives, Nishtar told the penal.

Apparently, a secret second wife is always at disadvantage even in a poverty alleviation programme.

The challenges posed by poverty have not kept the government from working on environmental issues. The federal capital Islamabad is getting an environmental-friendly plastic road.

Authorities have decided to turn a one-kilometre stretch of Ataturk Avenue into a plastic road. The stretch is being built using recycled plastic and the one-kilometre stretch will take as much as 70 tons of recycled plastic.

This is the second plastic road in the federal capital. Islamabad authorities have previously constructed a 300 meter stretch of plastic road at the F9 Park.

Plastic roads are believed to be more durable and less expensive. Unlike the traditional tar coal roads, they are not prone to damage from water.

After the experiment at Ataturk Avenue, the government plans to build more plastic roads.

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