‘Poor in society continues to suffer’
The last available official estimates for poverty released by the Government of Pakistan are more than 6 years old. According to these estimates, the proportion of people living below the calorie-based-income poverty line was 22.3 percent in 2005. This measure of poverty may be misleading as it ignores multiple deprivations suffered by the poor. In broader terms, poverty is a denial of opportunities the opportunity to have access to good quality education and health-care facilities and the opportunity to earn a decent living. It is the inequality in opportunity for poor people to develop their potential that is deemed more unfair than the inequality in income alone.
The report reveals the latest estimates for the Poverty of Opportunity Index (POPI), pioneered and developed by Dr. Mahbub-ul-Haq in 1998 for Pakistan and a few other select South Asian countries. The POPI goes beyond what is captured by traditional measures of poverty to include poverty of opportunity in health and education, in addition to income poverty. In recent years, the United Nations and the World Bank have also developed indicators such as the Multidimensional Poverty Index and the Human Opportunity Index that aim to capture the multiple deprivations suffered by the poor across the world.