40% Pakistanis live in poverty

Published: June 21, 2016
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Balochistan fares the worst among the provinces: MPI report PHOTO: APP

Balochistan fares the worst among the provinces: MPI report PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: Four out of 10 Pakistanis are living in acute poverty with the population of Balochistan faring the worst among the provinces, according to Pakistan’s first-ever official report on multidimensional poverty.

The report unveiled by Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Monday in Islamabad details the country’s official Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which shows a sharp decline with national poverty rates falling from 55 % to 39% from 2004 to 2015.

Northern Punjab, urban Sindh people more prosperous than rest of country: report

Rather than income and wealth alone, the MPI uses broader measures to determine poverty based on access to healthcare, education and the overall standard of living, thus giving a more detailed understanding of poverty.

The report states 38.8% of Pakistan’s population lives in poverty. A majority of the rural population (54.6%) lives in acute poverty while this ratio is only 9.4% in urban areas, emphasising the need to make rural-centric economic policies.

Among the provinces, multidimensional poverty is the highest in Balochistan and the lowest in Punjab.

If regions are also included, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) has the highest poverty rate, where three out of every four persons (73.7%) are poor.

Fata is followed by Balochistan (71.2%) and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), where half of the population (49.2%) suffers from acute poverty and deprivation.

In Sindh, 43.1% population is extremely poor due to lack of education, health facilities and poor living standards. In Gilgit-Baltistan, 43.2% people are poor while in Punjab, three out of ten (31.4%) and in AJK four out of 10 (25%) persons are poor.

Except K-P, where the poverty level remained almost the same over a period of two years, in the other three provinces the acute poverty level declined from 2012-13 to 2014-15.

The planning minister said poverty came down largely because of the growth in the informal economy. “It is unfortunate that many millions are still left behind,” he said while commenting on the findings of the report.

He acknowledged the development was not about numbers but about people. “No matter how good numbers look, such development only caters to the need of the elite and the powerful,” Iqbal said.

Dar highlights govt’s role in uplifting poverty

Four of the five poorest districts are in Balochistan, where poverty level is alarmingly high. The poorest district is Kila Abdullah with 97% poor population, followed by Harnai 94.2%, Barkhan 93.6%, Sherani 90.6% and Kohistan in K-P with 95.8% poor people.

In Sindh, Tharparkar has been declared the poorest district with 87% population living under the poverty line followed by Umerkot 84.7%, Tando Muhammad Khan 78.4% and Badin and Kashmore where almost 75% of the population is poor.

In Punjab, Muzaffargarh (64.8%) and Rajanpur (64.4%) are the poorest districts, followed by DG Khan 63.7% and Bahawalpur 53%. All these districts are part of southern Punjab, which has been neglected by successive governments over the years.

The more alarming indicator is the intensity of poverty, as each poor person lacks access to half of the indicators selected for measuring poverty. The MPI findings show 60.6% of Pakistan’s population does not have access to cooking fuel, 48.5% do not complete schooling, almost four out of every 10 people (39%) do not have any assets and over 38% of the population lives in a one-room shelter. About one-third population does not have access to health facilities.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2016.

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Reader Comments (39)

  • Malatesh
    Jun 21, 2016 - 8:35AM

    Only 40%… ???
    Priority of Pakistan is Kashmir and to enter into NSG.
    They still think that once they get Kashmir then there will not be any poor left in Pakistan.. Recommend

  • whatever
    Jun 21, 2016 - 9:07AM

    “we will eat grass but will make bomb”. Its an eyewash for all Pakistanis who are worried over Indian poverty and their toilets than their own. 40% poverty is then when from many decades there is no counting of population in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Tp
    Jun 21, 2016 - 9:25AM

    Should an impoverished nation that cannot feed half its population have nukes? I don’t think so.Recommend

  • Sunil
    Jun 21, 2016 - 9:32AM

    Hate of Hindus and India, means you spend so much money on defence ($9 billion per year or more) to fight the “enemy. India has a defense budget of $50 billion and growing. Please carry on.Recommend

  • Rajesh
    Jun 21, 2016 - 9:43AM

    So sad actually my heart goes for poor be it any part of world. For that matter Asia & Africa are born poor, & stii government of different countries should take appropriate steps to eradicate poverty at the earliest. Recommend

  • Anum
    Jun 21, 2016 - 9:49AM

    Even Bangladesh is economically way ahead of Pak,
    Bangladesh’s forex reserves, growth rate and exports are higher than Pak’s forex reserves, growth rate and exportsRecommend

  • Parvez
    Jun 21, 2016 - 9:57AM

    ……but our Prime Minister has the distinction of being amongst the few heads of government mentioned in the Panama Leaks……but then who cares certainly not him.Recommend

  • Rehmat Ali
    Jun 21, 2016 - 10:01AM

    The current political and electoral system failed in Pakistan.Same people get elected again and again.After the death of Qaide Azam,the mafia who hijacked Pakistan still behind all policies making.The time has come to get rid of this mafia.No change no future ! Politicians and diapers must be changed and for the same reason.Recommend

  • F Khan
    Jun 21, 2016 - 10:08AM

    Poverty, population explosion, joblessness, terror, religious extremism,illiteracy and poor health facilities are our real problems and not panama-gate.Recommend

  • raw is war
    Jun 21, 2016 - 10:22AM

    Musharraf famously “reduced” poverty from 36% to 20% in four years. So those reports are just humbug. 40% poverty means Pakistan is the poorest nation on earth.Recommend

  • Shuaib
    Jun 21, 2016 - 10:40AM

    @whatever: @Malatesh: I think Pakistanis and Indians both should worry about themselves. Pakistan is developing at a good rate and India at a fast rate. We need to tackle certain issues such as poverty together.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jun 21, 2016 - 10:43AM

    @F Khan:
    Panama-gate translates to corruption and its a very real problem. The question is, is it a chicken and egg one. Does corruption precipate most, if not all, of the other problems and issues you’ve rightfully cited, or is corruption part and parcel of the overall dire state of affairs ?Recommend

  • Prada
    Jun 21, 2016 - 10:56AM

    @raw is war:
    Just like Mr.Dar’s 4.7% GDP growth. Anything is possible in Pakistan as long as you have a mostly illiterate population. Recommend

  • Woz ahmed
    Jun 21, 2016 - 11:26AM

    When India was last surveyed for the MPI in 2005 the figure was 53%.

    Pakistan in 2012 was 44%.

    Considering this is access to health and education , clean water etc, I suspect the figures are on the low side.Recommend

  • Anjum
    Jun 21, 2016 - 11:46AM

    And we are spending more than 20 million over renovation of PM washroom.Recommend

  • MindYourOwnBusiness
    Jun 21, 2016 - 12:12PM

    @malatesh, sunil, rajesh: Still doubly better than India with ninety percent dalet shudder and minorities being subjugated by pandet and bunya, buddyRecommend

  • SAFMA much?
    Jun 21, 2016 - 12:15PM

    And to prove your point you had to dig out an indians photo, ET?

    You make it hard for anyone to take you seriously.Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Jun 21, 2016 - 12:28PM

    A major part of teh problem will resolved if we reduce population on both sides of the subcontinent . Production of Multiple babies has become the function of only the low classes. Upper and mid classes are now having just 2 or 1 baby thanx to edu / awareness. Recommend

  • Reader
    Jun 21, 2016 - 12:44PM

    This is an eye opener for the policy makers. Our democratic system has failed usRecommend

  • Akber
    Jun 21, 2016 - 12:48PM

    Pakistan 54.6% rural population and 38.8% population over all living under poverty, India with 90% of its rural population 77% population over all living under poverty, and whats on agenda Nuclear suppliers group.

    someone need to slap rulers of both countries to wake up from their sleep of ignorance and prioritize poverty elevation as foremost the only job they elected for. Recommend

  • Sunil Sinha
    Jun 21, 2016 - 1:05PM

    PM Nawaz Sharif over a month is in London, at the cost of tax payers money, COAS Raheel is on trip to Germany.Recommend

  • Myrna Minkoff
    Jun 21, 2016 - 1:16PM

    @SAFMA much – Indian because dark skinned? The whole of Pakistan has dark skinned people. Stop being racist.Recommend

  • Usman
    Jun 21, 2016 - 1:46PM

    Just look at the smile on that kid’s face, grateful, happy and loving. It’s heartbreaking. How can we spend a single day without thinking about these kids in our own country? The poverty rate is a shame on our conscience. Recommend

  • F Khan
    Jun 21, 2016 - 1:48PM

    @Haji Atiya: Yes, corruption is an issue in all developing and under developed countries but it is not THE show stopper for growth. Let me give an example of India, it has the biggest world black economy and has massive corruption, but it is still the fastest growing economy at the moment.With respect I would disagree with you that corruption is the main issue in our growth.In fact there are studies that little governmental corruption in developing countries enhances GDP.I think in our country opposition is using corruption as a political stick to beat the propaganda drum to muster support against the government.Recommend

  • N.S
    Jun 21, 2016 - 1:55PM

    Why ET is using an Indian child image, may be it is easy to get it through Google search, type poverty on Google and mostly Indians image appears…Recommend

  • Atheist
    Jun 21, 2016 - 1:58PM

    @MindYourOwnBusiness: still minorities are very safe as compared to most of the ummah countries and they are not migrating out of fear.Recommend

  • brar
    Jun 21, 2016 - 2:05PM

    @MindYourOwnBusiness: 25% reservation for dalits in Government jobs and also Medical and Engineering colleges, 25% officers in IAS,IPS,IRS which you call superior services, reservation in Member Parliament and Member state legislatures,I am jutt and my son if want to become a doctor will have hard competition but an SC with pass marks will get admission, they enjoy reservation in promotion also where a junior becomes boss due this. There are no one can denie but we even can not call them achhoot because you may be in jail for six months. Google how many SC and STs are in IAS,IPS and allied services you will know the facts.Recommend

  • Jun 21, 2016 - 2:11PM

    No,poverty can not exists in Pakistan, As per their great conception poverty only exists in India not in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Jun 21, 2016 - 2:13PM

    @Akber:
    Can you provide some reliable reference links to prove your point about India’s poverty.Recommend

  • Jun 21, 2016 - 2:27PM

    This report should lead our Federal govt. and ppl like Ahsan Iqbal should increase federal investment which they are doing already and try to encourage private investment as well. The provincial govt. of Balochistan and the sardars have made sure localppl don’t get any benefit. More business exposure and investment required. Plus building up of educational infrastructure but by the federal. Don’t trust the corrupt provincial setup of any help.Recommend

  • SAFMA much?
    Jun 21, 2016 - 2:45PM

    @marna finkoff: Since when has being factual become racist? More likely it’s your feeble attempt to scare me into silence. There’s no racism in Islam but I don’t expect you to know that.

    And by the way, it’s not just Indian but the kind of half African race you find in their tribal areas. I’m an anthropologist, so please feel free to not embarrass yourself anymore.Recommend

  • Anuj
    Jun 21, 2016 - 3:50PM

    @Akber I think India has double the nukes of what Pak has got. Afterall you’re not the only one to fudge figures. Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Jun 21, 2016 - 4:09PM

    @Nitin
    [email protected]: Can you provide some reliable reference links to prove your point about India’s poverty.*

    His backside, because that’s where he pulled his statistics out fromRecommend

  • IBN E ASHFAQUE
    Jun 21, 2016 - 5:45PM

    All the green districts where poverty is the minimum is in PUNJAB……..PML (N) all the way………I love it…….Recommend

  • Rahul
    Jun 21, 2016 - 5:52PM

    Islamabad and Rawalpindi both doing well. Pakistan’s ruling class know how to look after their own!Recommend

  • Reeba
    Jun 21, 2016 - 10:26PM

    In 2014, a report by the Indian government Planning Commission estimated that 363 million Indians, making up 29.5% of the total population, were living below the poverty line in 2011-12. The report, by the Rangarajan Expert Group, also estimates that the India poverty ratio fell from 38.2% to 29.5% tween 2009-10 and 2011-12, lifting 91.6 million individuals out of poverty.Recommend

  • Jun 22, 2016 - 1:15AM

    Well India’s poverty rate is 12.4% in 2016Recommend

  • sid
    Jun 22, 2016 - 7:12AM

    @Nitin:
    No one says that here. Poverty is a common challenge. To have more poor in India doesn’t satisfy or solve any problem in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav
    Jun 22, 2016 - 10:42AM

    @SAFMA much?:
    Its a Pakistani kid. See that grass blade on the face??? Its the same one that Bhutto said you would eat in your thousand year of fight with India.Recommend

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