Poor dying elite getting richer
The ruling party always getting votes by raising the slogan of “Roti, Kapra aur Makan” (food, clothing and shelter) have snatched everything from people and pushed them towards hunger. Poverty is not only the scarcity of resources, but is set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the people by the rich ruling elite. The poor, who are majority, live in slums. They have limited access to food. Many people say they eat only once a day and sometimes have nothing for days on end. For many malnutrition is the result of lack of financial means to purchase enough food.
Pakistan’s poor have been stung by a doubling/ trippling of the prices of many staple foods and utility bills since 2008. The rise is attributed to a 30 per cent slide in the value of the rupee against the US dollar, artificial shortages created by commodity speculators, and the withdrawal of government subsidies under pressure of IMF. PPP Government is fond of telling us what a wonderful, happy, prosperous nation we are. The only thing that matches their love of country is the remarkable indifference they show toward the people who live in it. To their ears the anguished cries of the poor sound like the peevish whines of malcontents. They denounce as “bleeding hearts” those of us who criticize existing conditions, who show some concern for our fellow citizens. But the dirty truth is that there exists a startling amount of hardship, abuse, affliction, illness, violence, and pathology in this country. The uncontrollable rise in food prices is clearly an outcome of the economic policies of the PPP Government which have been framed to fit into the neo-liberal paradigm. The Government has intervened at every step to create corporate monopolies in the food system-form steel to domestic production, trade to food process, to liberalized imports to export oriented agriculture and to corporate retail, with the bitter outcome we are experiencing today.
Pakistan is not be rated as the most corrupt country in the world as far as the figures go but corrupt practices exist here in Pakistan like any other most corrupt place in Africa. Corruption in our government is a common multiplier with a numeric value close to zero. When you multiply it with any program no matter how enormous in its undertaking and potential impact, the net output is close to zero. Corruption in government departments is so much deep-rooted that a common concept prevails that the system doesn’t let honest people to work peacefully. There is a lack of responsibility due to which wealthy people and those in power are sure that they can’t be held responsible for their deeds. So they keep on looting the national treasures and find ways to legalize their black-money. Many corrupt people don’t even bother to do that. Pakistanis like you and me need to know that the amounts that we are relinquishing in not getting the subsidy is going to people who really need them, not just to political party affiliates. Government is borrowing so politicians and bureaucrats can keep spending money on luxuries. Corruption in every aspect of government operation is on a rise and there is no one to stop this from happening. People are dying out there, whether it’s their spirits being crushed by poor education, illiteracy, poverty, homelessness, or incarceration, or their bodies being killed by abortion, poor health, drug and alcohol addiction, or murder in the streets. Yes, times are hard for everyone, but we are witnessing the disintegration of a once strong, proud and resilient people.
Inflation hovered at alarming scale i.e. around 25 per cent from mid-2008 to early 2009 after the current regime came in, came down to some extent at the end of 2009, but is still over 14 per cent, the highest in the region. The World Bank says Pakistan has imported higher inflation from international commodity prices. The government acknowledges rise in poverty half heartedly. The ‘Millennium Development Goals’ that were developed a decade back to achieve poverty reduction, to which Pakistan had committed at the UN, could not see light of the day in practice. Admittedly more than six decades post independence and being once counted as one of the surplus producers of food grains, it is very unfortunate and shocking; hunger deaths still happening in Pakistan and poverty is alarmingly increasing. To my fellow citizens, nations have to face many challenges on their path of becoming great. I agree the people have been left with nothing, only what we see them wearing yet we should not be desperate because God didn’t intend for people to live that way! It’s too easy to blame nature. Human-made forces are making people increasingly vulnerable to nature’s vagaries. Food is always available for those who can afford it - starvation during hard times hits only the poorest. We should do believe in God. However, I am convinced nothing will change if we ourselves are not going to change. We pray for a leader to rescue us from the deep pits of our miseries but we stay rigid to our destructively cunning habits. Many times suffering generally turns people to God and inspires them to plead with Him for forgiveness and to repent and ask God to save them. Given the situation we should collectively pray forgiveness from Allah Almighty with clean heart, but unfortunately we fail to eradicate the evil within us but pray to get rid of the evils of outer world.
God also desires that we should work ourselves for our uplift and we should not depend upon prayers alone. It is a matter of disgrace that we Pakistanis have not been able to do anything to improve the situation. We repeatedly elect the same crooks, corrupt, and hypocrates to rule us and then expect change. It’s time we should remember that God will not change the fate of our nation, if we fail to take care of our own change”! To enter into a change process, all groups within us need to struggle to improve our institutions and systems.