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.