Inequality in Pakistan is deep-rooted and structural. Some individuals have thousands of acres of land and thousands in the same vicinity have no landholdings at all. Monthly tuition fee of a student enrolled in an elite schools is three times more than the salary of same school’s security guard.Renowned economist Dr. Kaiser Bengali expressed these views while speaking at the launch event of a report titled ‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’. Released by global charity Oxfam, the report reveals how the global economy enables a wealthy elite to accumulate vast fortunes while billions of people are struggling to survive on poverty pay. Organized by Oxfam in collaboration with Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) and Indus Consortium, the launch was held in a public policy forum at PMAS-AAUR.
Vice chancellor of PMAS-AAUR, Prof. Dr. Sarwat N. Mirza said that we spend just two percent of our GDP on Education. “Inequality can’t be reduced unless we increase this spending to four percent at least. Students from rural areas of Pakistan can’t compete with urban students due to lack of opportunities and low income levels. Speaking on the occasion, Oxfam’s Country Director Mohammed Qazilbash said, “We do not have authenticated data to measure the actual level of income and wealth inequality in Pakistan and how in recent years the fortunes of rich have increased.
According to Oxfam’s report women workers often find themselves off at the bottom of the heap. Across the world, women consistently earn less than men and are usually in the lowest paid and least secure forms of work. By comparison, 9 out of 10 billionaires are men. “Pervasive gender inequality manifested in different dimensions in Pakistan, which means that women’s work is devalued and they end up working in low paid job and bear the undue burden of unpaid care work. 87 percent of female employees in Pakistan earned less than minimum wage,” Qazilbash elaborated.