The word poverty derived from Latin word “pauper” means “poor”. Poverty refers to the condition of not having the means to afford basic human needs such as clean water, nutrition, health care, clothing and shelter. Poverty is the condition of having fewer resources or less income than others within a society or country, or compared to worldwide averages. Poverty is one of the major social problems which Pakistan is facing. It is one of the most important and sensitive issue not only for Pakistan but for the whole world. Poverty can cause other social problems like theft, bribe, corruption, lawlessness, injustice etc.
It is the fundamental duty and responsibility of the country to fulfill the basic needs of its people. Basic needs of man comprises of shelter, food and clothing. When these needs are not fulfilled they bring about problems termed as socio-economic problems. Pakistan has also been suffering from these problems. The real issue is not the presence of these problems in the society. But the extent to which they are being paid attention and solved. When these problems are not met timely the results in the form of deviant behavior, drug abuse, smuggling, corruption, poverty, illiteracy and many other social evils will occur.
Poverty Condition in Pakistan
Islamic Republic of Pakistan was established in 1947, a country of 170 million people, full of natural resources and more than 60 years of independence but still not respected in the world community. In less than 30 years of independence, it’s one wing gets separated (Bangladesh). Remaining part till today is living on IMF, World Bank and foreign donations. Majority of the population is living in rural areas without basic necessities of life. It is a country where financial gap between rich and poor is widening day by day. From the last 10 years, extremism is increasing. What ever happens in the world it is almost understood even before investigations that it will have a link with Pakistan. Almost every kind of problem exists in Pakistan, including electricity load-shedding, bad economy, less educational facilities, less hospitals, inflation and no pure water in many parts. These problems exist in Pakistan right from its independence.
It is rightly said that poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere. Nearly 60 per cent of the population of Pakistan lives in villages. According to an analysis, poverty has increased roughly from 30% to 40% during the past decade. It means that 40 per cent of the country’s population is earning their livelihood below the poverty line. In such condition people are depressed of their basic necessities of life. Proper education and medicine are becoming distant from them. They are forced to think of their survival only of due to poverty and unemployment, parents instead of sending their children to schools, prefer child labor for them. They make them do so to support their family and use them as earning hands from the early age.
A situation in which a person or household lacks the resources necessary to be able to consume a certain minimum basket of goods. The basket consists either of food, clothing, housing and other essentials (moderate poverty) or of food alone (extreme poverty).The most common method used to define poverty is income-based. According Jean Guenon
“He is poor who doesn’t have enough; he is poorer who cannot get enough”. Poverty Line
“A person is considered poor if his or her income level falls below some minimum level necessary to meet basic needs. This minimum level is usually called the poverty.”
Causes of Poverty in Pakistan
1. Government Policies
Government is not well aware of present conditions of country. The policies of government are based on the suggestions of officials which do not have awareness about the problems of a common man. After implementation of the policies do not get effective result. After the failure of one policy, government does not consider its failure and announces another policy without studying the aftermaths of last one. Heavy taxes and unemployment crushes the people and they are forced to live below poverty line. The suitable medical facilities are not provided to people and they are forced to get treatment for private clinics which are too costly.
2. Poor Governance
Governance is a people to people movement. It is a vibrant interaction between people, between structures, processes that support the exercise of legitimate authority in provision of sound leadership, direction, oversight, and control of an entity in order to ensure that its intention and purpose is achieved, and that there is proper accounting for the conduct of its affairs, the use of its resources, and the results of its actions. Poor governance is resulting to huge loss in economic growth in Pakistan. And not only that, it also affects the human resources, the human ingenuity and the personality of the citizens. Poor governance and corruption deter investment, waste national resources and forebode allocation and increase insecurity. Owing to poor governance, the government is losing control over law and order situation. Suicide attacks, target killing, robbery and other crimes have become norm of the day. And government seems helpless in this regard.
Corruption has become a major threat to Pakistani society because of four important reasons. First, the image of Pakistan has enormously suffered in the past few decades or so as the corrupt practices while awarding contracts, the launching of foreign funded projects and money laundering done by high level officials earned a bad name for the country. In 1996, transparency international, a Berlin based civil society organization, rated Pakistan as the second most corrupt country in the world. The report of TI was a source of great shame for Pakistan, it not only shattered the country’s image but also discouraged foreign donors to support Pakistan in its developmental projects. When the culture of greed resulting into taking commission from foreign companies and agencies deepened, the trust and confidence of the world diminished. According to TI’s national corruption perception NCP Survey 2010 there occured widespread corruption in Pakistan from 195 billion rupees in 2009 to 223 billion rupees in 2010.
Some of the most corrupt institutions and areas in Pakistan identified by TI are: police, power sector, land administration, communications, education, local government, judiciary, health, taxation and custom. According to TI’s survey, there has taken place manifold increase in corruption in the present government than the previous one. Now not a single individual, whether he is foreign or national, is willing to invest his capital in such type of corrupt country.
Pakistan is poorly faced with the problem of unemployment. The existing unemployment rate is 15%. Thousands of young doctors, engineers and other educated people are out of job. There are no opportunities for youth to utilize their capabilities or abilities in right direction. Pakistan is facing the problem of brain drain due to unemployment because we are unable to utilize their precious hands in the progress of the country. The most horrible part is that it is rising every year it will show to be risky for the economy of Pakistan. It has negative impact on society. It creates frustration and revengeful attitude. It leads to an increase in the incidences of crimes.
Pakistan is facing the dragon of overpopulation. The growth rate of Pakistan is very high and is among the highest in the world. Since 1947, the population has become more than triple. Pakistan is almost touching 180 million marks. Population expansion has been a real issue of concern for all governments. With limited resources it is very difficult to control the growing population. There is a great economic disparity among the people. Poor are committing suicides out of hunger while rich are busy in buildingup more and more wealth. These social problems directly affect the masses. The massively increasing population has almost outstripped the resources in production, facilities and in job opportunities.
Education sector plays a very vital role in the progress of any country. Unfortunately, the condition of education sector in Pakistan is very miserable. The lack of quality education in our country is unable of dealing with the challenges of the 21st century. Due to poverty people are unable to afford quality education for their children. In addition, government’s negligence is frustrating the situation further. Owing to low investment, government run schools are poor of basic facilities like proper classrooms, water and sanitation facilities, electricity. Private sector is doing an admirable job in this regard. But the money making objective of this sector, education has been beyond poor’s reach. The primary completion rate in Pakistan given by UNESCO is 33.8 % in females and 47% in males, which shows that people in the 6th largest country of the world are unable to get the basic education.
Remedies to Overcome Poverty in Pakistan
Policies regarding poverty reduction Marshaled by different government could not calculate the desire results. Crudely speaking, this is the gravest problem being faced by Pakistani nation, if not handled with diligent care and implicit faith, will swell and devour the entire mechanism of the state. For a welfare state to get stronger, policies as regards development of poor
strata should be the top of the checklist’s behold a time when we shall be steadily hauling our downtrodden economy towards heights, provided that we chalk out such policies that not only project the welfare of effected spots but also transpose their outlook .I propose following measures for extermination of this menace
1. Promote industrialization
2. Replacement of the traditional agricultural equipment with new scientific equipments in order to increase the yield. 3. Establishment of justice and equality
4. Equal distribution of resources
5. Merit should be the upshot strategy in all walks of life
6. Elimination of discriminatory policies
7. Controlling of inflation and other economic indicators and regulators. 8. Developing investment friendly environment
9. Giving more feasibilities and concessions to the foreign investors 10. Dumping extremism and feudalism
11. Establishing more and more technical institute in order to get people well skilled. 12. Prevalence of education
13. Provision of job opportunities
14. Division of agricultural lands among tenants
Leadership has got central importance here; with proper planning and good government policies the problem can be solved. All they need to do is to appoint competent and wall qualified economists to help them tackle this issue and obviously their sincerity for its solution cannot be ignored as well. A country economy is the backbone of its country with its solution when it is saved many problems will automatically. Alone leadership is not enough for its solution. People of Pakistan have too got responsibility with equal share. People need to cooperate fully with government and should be sincere with their own country and put all their energies for eradication of poverty.