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 WIDENNING GAP BETWEEN RICH & POOR IN PAKISTAN

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MAJOR(R)KHALID NASR
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Age : 67
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Registration date : 2008-03-02

PostSubject: WIDENNING GAP BETWEEN RICH & POOR IN PAKISTAN   Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:53 am

Poverty News Blog
News and links about the struggle of the poor around the world.
Half the world -- nearly three billion people -- live on less than two dollars a day.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Gap Widens Between Rich and Poor in Pakistan
from The OHMY News

Despite government boasts, poverty is increasing

Muhammad Jamil Bhatti (jamil)

Instead of a reduction in poverty, the gap between rich and poor has been widening fast in Pakistan. It is very depressing for common people that their welfare is being ignored by authorities and concerned departments.

"In Pakistan, 30 to 35 percent of the population is living on one dollar a day," reported the World Bank. For these people, it is very hard to provide three square meals a day for family members.

According to a recent report by the government of Pakistan, in 2006, the top 20 percent of income earners earned more than the other 80 percent combined.

The common people have started to believe that their well-being is not a high priority for the government, which seems more interested in protecting the strategic interests of the United States and multi-national companies.

It is also a reality that most policies are against the poor.

In 2000, the government signed the Millennium Declaration, along with other developing and poor countries, agreeing to change its policies for the welfare of the poor. Goal No.1 was to eliminate poverty and hunger. But after seven years, the fact is that more and more people are falling below the poverty line every day.

"Economic developments have mostly benefited the very rich and the professionals. The main beneficiaries have still been the very rich, the upper middle classes and some sections of the highly educated, which are able to get jobs in banks and mobile phone companies," the economists reported.

Pakistan society has been divided into three main groups, urban, semi-urban and villagers.

Only 10 to 15 cities can be called urban. Islamabad is no more than a showpiece for foreign consumption.

More than 70 percent of the total population lives in villages, yet they are never considered in any policy other than for producing food. Few hospitals are available in rural areas. According to one report, there is one doctor for every 3,000 Pakistanis.

More interesting are the residential partitions within cities, which are also divided into three categories: posh or elite areas where every feature of life is available in a super form; middle class areas where facilities have been provided but not cared for; and poor areas where nothing is available except hunger and poverty.

I have visited areas that being called developed by the government but the realities I observed are different. The majority of villagers live a wretched life. In almost every house, you may find someone who is unable to get proper medical treatment. Unemployed youth have led to an increase in crime. In villages, and even in cities, the theft of electricity is a common occurrence.

Justice, poverty, health, education, unemployment and inflation are central problems in Pakistani society. The day-to-day increase in the number of homeless people is another big problem. They are often found to be involved in street crimes in the big cities.

Poor people, even whole families at a time, are attempting suicide. To fulfill essential needs people are being compelled to sale their organs. Kidneys sales have increased at an alarming level.

Ejaz Ahmad, 35, recently sold one of his kidneys for 60,000 rupees (US$1000). When I asked him why, he replied that his wife was ill and needed an operation. But he still did not have sufficient money to buy medicines and to bear all the hospital expenses.

There is long list of such people now living with one kidney.

The government has accepted in its annual report that more than 64 percent of the population is dissatisfied with basic health services. Over 40 percent consider schooling substandard.

Still, the government boasts repeatedly about its "good governance." Many civil society and nongovernmental organizations are busy promoting this good governance as a catch phrase.

If government does not take special and long lasting steps to eliminate this wave of poverty, it will prove very dangerous for society.
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