Significance of poverty

It’s the poor whose allocated funds in the budget are ultimately embezzled

Ali Hassan Bangwar April 14, 2024
The writer is a freelancer based in Kandhkot, Sindh. He can be reached at


Though the title might appear oxymoronical, given the prevalent sense of worthlessness for and among the poor, the systematic creation of disadvantaged segments of society holds invaluable scope and immeasurable benefits in many parts of the world. In other words, poverty isn’t always and necessarily an issue to be resolved; it often serves as an opportunity to add to and capitalise on. Had poverty been inclusively harmful, it wouldn’t have existed anywhere in the world. That is, if the poor didn’t serve any purpose at all, they wouldn’t have even been created. Had poverty been a bad thing for the ruling elite, they wouldn’t have allowed it to exist in our societies.

Notwithstanding its negative connotations for laymen and compassionate souls, poverty serves both as an end to elitist, ceaseless greed toward materialism and as a means to their sustainability, megalomania and theft. This is because poverty makes people ignorant of their rights as humans and easy prey to parasitic exploitation. It’s these poor people’s rights — blood, bones and bodies — that rulers thrive on. It’s these well-crafted policy differentials that divide humans into haves or have-nots, or, in the terms of the rulers, humans and subhuman.

For most societies across the globe, poverty might be an issue to be resolved; it serves as a lucrative opportunity for stakeholders in our part of the world. This is precisely why our leadership often focuses on perpetuating it rather than addressing it altogether. This is manifested, among many other things, in the promulgation of policies that ultimately create more impoverished individuals rather than lifting them to self-sufficiency. The recent World Bank prediction of 100 million people sliding below the poverty line might be a cause for concern for you, but it’s something worth celebrating for our ruling elite. For they would get an opportunity to increase the number of begging bowls from their traditional count to add to their plundered wealth. This growth in poverty is the outcome of hybrid settings’ decade-long sincere efforts in general and the past two years in particular.

Poverty is a well-thought-out scheme in Pakistan; the leadership in all hues is conscious of the fact that addressing the same would end up collapsing their ill-earned palaces of power and prestige. That is, the economic self-sufficiency of the public would not only educate them about their rights but also enlighten them to question their kleptocratic practices, if not resist them altogether.

It’s the poor who sustain the kleptocracy of the ruthless bureaucracy in the name of public service. Without the poor, upon whom would the civil, military bureaucracy test its bestiality? Without the poor, whom would the media deceive to increase their wealth? It’s the poverty and subsequent ignorance that the stratocracy cloaked in democracy has been lording on for over a quarter of a century. It’s the poor through whom the barbaric clutches of the feudal system in the country are sustained. It’s the poor who fund the palaces and the children’s education of pirs and feudals in the country. Had there been no poverty, the parasitic people associated with NGOs and INGOs would have been struggling in poverty. It’s poor men’s needs that make them easy prey for the rich to cash in on and thrive.

It’s the poor whose allocated funds in the budget are ultimately embezzled. Had there been no poor, they wouldn’t get a chance to engulf the public exchequer. It’s the poor whose name our leadership uses to beg. Had there been no poor, the traditional clergy, exploiting their emotions through divine threat or promise, would have ultimately starved. It’s the poor whose votes are bought at peanut prices by the ruthless ruling elite. Had there been no poor, the parasitic elite would have starved in the streets. Had there been no poor in our country, the beneficiaries of poverty would not be living in it.

Far from being an issue, poverty serves as a solution to the socio-political and economic greed of the stakeholders. Without the poor, the sun of megalomaniac military, parasitic politicians and pirs, cunning clergy, crony capitalists, pharaonic feudals and barbaric bureaucracy would have long been eclipsed.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2024.

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