Punjab government’s petite Christmas grant just not enough for province’s swollen Christian population.
According to details, as Christmas 2015 inches close, Punjab government announced a Christmas grant of 30 million Rupees. The provincial government has sanctioned this grant to be distributed to the Christian community in Punjab. However, this announcement has met with strong criticism from Christians as the claim that Punjab’s Christian population has enlarged since 1998 to a great extent. Seeing that Punjab government still considers’ the stats of 1998 census valid and has apportioned a petite grant, Christians are reacting strongly claiming that only a few Christians will be benefited by this grant.
According to the official notification, this pay-out will be made according to the census of 1998. In this regard, the Finance Department has issued a summary of this year’s Christmas grant. The Finance Department’s summary states that a total of 5,000 Rupees will be given 6,000 Christian families across Punjab. After this announcement, the Christian community of Punjab has expressed strong resentment over the fact that the provincial government had allocated a meagre amount for them.
While speaking in this regard, Riaz Anjum- Chairman of Pakistan Christian Movement (PCM) said that a small amount of Rs 5,000 per family is simply insufficient if you bear in mind that there has been a significant rise in inflation levels in the last few years.
Riaz Anjum further stated that the disbursement of amount according to the census of 1998 is “severe injustice to the Christian community and a violation of their rights.” He said that the Punjab government was intentionally not airing the actual figures pertaining to current Christian population in Punjab. He further alleges that Punjab government is doing so out of fear that Punjab’s Christian community would begin seeking its due rights.
Additionally, Shunila Ruth from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Member of Punjab Assembly on the minority seat said that 5,000 Rupees per family is not enough the amount should be increased to at least 10,000 Rupees per family. She added that there have been instances that the amount announced for Christmas; was actually disbursed around Easter. What is more, the about 400 deserving Christian families in Lahore did not receive the money of the announced grant.
PTI’s Asif Sohail Khokhar, who recently got elected from Youhanabad said that the Christian population of Youhanabad alone was over 200,000. “The government’s claim that there were only 350,000 Christians in the whole city is ridiculous. The government must ensure to disburse the amount before Christmas.”