Poverty in Pakistan continues to be a source of distress for the country. The rise in poverty is a global phenomenon and developing countries like Pakistan seem to be the worst victims. Recession in the U.S and the European Union has pushed countries into higher levels of poverty and there seems to be no solution to this problem. According to the latest World Bank Reports Pakistan is ranked at number 43 in the list of countries most exposed to poverty.
In view of the Human Development Index about 63 % of the people in the country earn less than $2 per day and around 23 % live on under $1 per day. Unequal distribution of income in Pakistan is a major underlying cause of poverty in the country. About 10 % of the total population earns 27% of the total income of the country. Another World Bank report highlights the fact that 37.4% of the children in Pakistan below the age of five are underfed. Pakistan Planning Commission has revealed that the poverty rate in Pakistan has increased by 14 % in the previous three years. In recent times there has been a decrease in government spending for the society's welfare which has reduced the standard of living for the people in the country. The high rates of inflation and the unavailability of consumer products does no good to pull the country out of this misery.
Apart from the financial dimensions of poverty there are various other facets which make a person poor. For instance in Pakistan there is poverty of opportunity. Women in Pakistan have lesser opportunities to work in the labour market than men therefore women suffer from poverty more than men in the country do. This view is supported by the fact that the participation rate of women in Pakistan's labour market is just 13.7 % in contrast to men who have a participation rate of 70.4%.
There are various causes of poverty but the major reason for poverty in Pakistan is lack of governance. When people do not have confidence in a country's government they are not willing to invest in such an economy. Reduced investment means lesser employment opportunities which directly results in poverty. Poor governance has also caused a decrease in the efficiency of provision of social services that has not allowed any improvements in human development to take place. Moreover, the decrease in the GDP growth rate is a vital source for rise in the poverty levels. Poverty also depends on the structure on which a society is based. In Pakistan, the land ownership is highly unequally distributed between the rural populations which create an income gap within the rural sector.
Although rising poverty levels in Pakistan is an alarming situation, it is not something which can not be curtailed. The politicians need to stop fighting over their position in the government and should concentrate on solving the issues surrounding the country amongst which poverty is one. There is a need for considerable effort to increase jobs and employment opportunities for the people. The government should focus on investing in developing infrastructure which would automatically create jobs in the country. Other than that efforts should be made to improve the law and order situation in the country so that there is reinstatement of business activities so that poverty could be reduced.