51% of Pakistanis deprived of basic education, health

Published: February 23, 2011
The country’s overall HDI ranking is now 125 among 169 nations. DESIGN: ANAM HALEEM

The country’s overall HDI ranking is now 125 among 169 nations. DESIGN: ANAM HALEEM

ISLAMABAD: Over half of Pakistanis are deprived of basic education and health facilities and live below a respectable standard of living, reveals a United Nations report.

According to the United Nations Human Development Report 2010, launched on Tuesday, as many as 51 per cent of the population is living in multidimensional poverty and 54 per cent is suffering from intense deprivation. Another 11.8 per cent of the population is at the risk of multidimensional poverty.

The statistics have been measured by the Multidimensional Poverty Index which includes indicators of health, education, sanitation and living standards.

The UN has also described Pakistan as a country facing major civil war and one with a bad, if not the worst, human rights violations record.

Pakistan’s overall ranking in terms of the Human Development Index (HDI) fell by two notches and stood at 125 among 169 nations. Earlier, Pakistan’s position was 123. This means that Pakistan is now just two notches from a group of nations with low human development. Life expectancy in Pakistan at the time of birth is now 67.2 years, which is 15 years less than Norway, the top human development country.

Of the deprived population, about three out of ten people are suffering from lack of health facilities, five out of ten lack access to education and at least four out of ten have abysmal standards of living.

The report did not include any number on account of national poverty line because the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government, under political compulsion, has not endorsed the latest poverty figures of 17.2 per cent. This figure is based on a survey done in 2007-08, while the Panel of Economists, stationed in the Planning Commission, has estimated up to 40 per cent poverty in Pakistan.

In the category of sustainability and vulnerability, four per cent of Pakistanis are living in degraded land, one of 10 people do not have access to water and nearly six out of 10 live without proper sanitation facilities.

In terms of gender inequality, Pakistan scored 112 among 139 countries. On account of level of satisfaction with freedom of choice, three out of 10 people in Pakistan are satisfied while only four out of ten women are satisfied. In terms of human rights violation, Pakistan was just one point below the countries with the worst human rights record. It scored four out of five (one being the least human rights violations). One out of ten people reported that they had faced a situation involving bribes, while only 15 per cent voice their opinion before public officials.

Published in The Express Tribune, February  23rd, 2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (8)

  • SA
    Feb 23, 2011 - 9:07AM

    Now THIS is what we need to worry about!!Recommend

  • abdul sami
    Feb 23, 2011 - 10:49AM

    Even those that do get an education some of them get it from a madrassa where they are only fed a steady diet of hate & intolerance .They are brainwashed from childhood into thinking they are superior to women,that people who aren’t muslims are somehow inferior or not as good as them.
    These factories of suicide bombers need to be regulated as the saudi,iranian & other middle east countries fund these dens of hate to further their own hate filled ideology & the results we pakistanis have to suffer.Recommend

  • usman
    Feb 23, 2011 - 3:03PM

    One out of ten people reported that they had faced a situation involving bribes,the Pakistan in which i live the rate is 10 out of ten,not one.Recommend

  • Arsalan J. Sheikh
    Feb 23, 2011 - 3:32PM

    Some perspective is necessary to understand these figures. I remember reading stats in school from the 80’s that Pakistan’s life-expectancy was 40 years.

    So if it is 67 years today, that means a lot of progress has been made. So what if it is 15 years less than Norway. We have to compare our numbers today with what they used to be. Not what they are in Europe.

    I wish there was a way for journalists to make money other than by making everything alarming and sensationalist.Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    Feb 23, 2011 - 4:00PM

    By the time this government completes her term this dreadful percentage would be 60 percent
    then what action would UN take to rectify it? We have had enough of Military Governments and
    Parliamentary Governments both have been utter failures and both have produced corruption and nepotism resulting in incompetency. We need a complete overhaul of our system to ensure
    that no big or small bigots are anywhere around the administrative and educational institutions to negatively influence the progressive thinking of our youth. Unfortunately governments since decades have shown false figures and when confronted by independent agencies have denied
    and shown contempt towards such agencies and have made no effort to rectify. Once again we
    have to decide whether we need to maintain our feudal system and suffer or do away and let
    sanity and progress truimph. Recommend

  • Aliya
    Feb 24, 2011 - 11:16AM

    We as a Pakistani are very fortunate because the majority of our population is comprised of young generation but on the other hand we are very unfortunate because a majority among this young generation is unaware about the importance of education in eliminating civil war from our country.Recommend

  • Faisal
    Feb 24, 2011 - 2:22PM

    @Arsalan J. Sheikh

    “life-expectancy was 40 years”, now where did u read that?Recommend

  • Arsalan J. Sheikh
    Feb 28, 2011 - 5:25PM


    Read it in a geography class in about class 8 ( around 1991 ). Can’t recall which book it was exactly, since it’s been a while :-)Recommend

More in Pakistan