Founding Editor: Shafqat Munir   

Feeding the hungry is their aim in life 

20 Oktober 2010 12:02:05

Feeding the hungry is their aim in life

Sohail Rashid

RAWALPINDI, October 19, 2010: The distribution of free food at any other place in twin cities could be something new, but at the Qadimi Mardan Hotel it has been continuing for 40 years with the help of well-off people who come there and pay for one-time meal for the poor who could not afford it otherwise.

People passing through the Jamia Masjid Road cannot ignore long queues of the poor, including men, women and children, waiting for their turn to get free food being distributed at the Qadimi Mardan Hotel.

“This has been going on for nearly 40 years since the time when a man, after offering his prayers at the Jamia Masjid, had offered free lunch to the labourers sitting near the mosque at our restaurant. Other people started following him and now not a single day passes without someone offering free food to the poor”, hotel manager Imran Qayyum Khawaja told INFN. He said that free food is distributed at lunch and dinner times as at least two or three people are always there to pay for the food for distribution among the poor.

Poor people, especially labourers working on daily wages, avail the facility every day.

“I earn less than Rs150 every day no matter how hard I try. I cannot afford two-time meal from the hotel for myself, so I often come to this place for having free food which helps me in saving money for my family back home”, said Pervaiz Khan, a labourer with an overgrown beard.

“I have been eating food from this ‘lungar’ for last two years. I cannot afford to pay 50 to 60 rupees for one-time meal in a hotel”, said Haleem Ahmad, another labourer. “May Allah give more resources to those who are providing us with food every day”, he prayed.

People, who give money for the ‘lungar’, have a word of praise for the management of Qadimi Mardan Hotel.

A trader, who was there to give money for free distribution of food, said: “Though there are many other ways for giving charity, but whenever I want to do so I prefer this ‘lungar’ as it offers fast and smooth delivery of food to the poor”.

Amazingly, there are two restaurants on the same road with the same name and the managements of both claim that they are the original one. Both say that they were the first to adopt the name of Qadimi Mardan Hotel.

Which one is original and which one is fake may be a serious matter for hotel owners, but not for those who are getting free food from these two points.

According to the Development Index (HDI), 60.3% of Pakistan’s population lives on under $2 a day and some 22.6% live under $1 a day.

The distribution of wealth in Pakistan is highly uneven, with 10% of the population earning 27.6% of income. According to the United Nations Human Development Report, Pakistan’s human development indicators, especially those for women, fall significantly below those of countries with comparable levels of per-capita income. Pakistan also has a higher infant mortality rate (88 per 1,000) than the South Asian average (83 per 1,000).