The Situation of Poverty in Pakistan

“In a well-governed country, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a poorly governed country, wealth is something to be ashamed of. ” (Chinese proverb)

Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, 60% of its inhabitants are under the age of thirty. Political instability, the disparity between the sexes, the increase in inequalities and the disastrous effects of climate change are some of the greatest challenges facing the country.

Poverty in Pakistan is one of the hot topics. According to a study of 2016, “about 39 percent of Pakistan’s population lives below the poverty line” (World Bank). It means more than a third of the total population or, in other words, around 70 million of 180 million people live below the poverty line. History shows that there was a decreasing rate of poverty in the seventies and eighties. However, since 1990 until today poverty is on the rise. This phenomenon has been called the poverty pump.

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Pakistan ranks 147 out of a total of 187 countries in the UN Human Development Index. Which estimates that half of Pakistanis live in poverty. The main causes of poverty in Pakistan are the destabilization of democracy, rampant corruption, the rapidly growing population, the unfortunate state of the education sector, the ineffective management of natural resources, feudalism, uncontrolled inflation, etc. Along with these national factors there are some international factors that have added fuel to the fire, like the global financial crisis, the increase in the price of oil, the global food crisis, etc.

“Poverty is like a punishment for a crime you did not commit.” (Eli Khamarov)


  1. Child Labour – Child-Workers in Pakistan

The first and the most immediate effect of poverty in Pakistani society is that people will not send their children to schools. Since we know that “THE CHILD IS THE FATHER OF TOMORROW”. If our child is wasted in this way, not only our society but the country will face problems in the future. Today in Pakistan, around 4 million children in the age group of 5-14 are working (Federal Bureau of Statistics). It is poverty that forces them to work in the formative years in very risky places, that is, underground mines, work with live electrical cables of more than 50 V, cement industry, processing and manufacture of tobacco, etc.

  1. Deviation from Moral and Religious Values

“No man can worship God or love his neighbour on an empty stomach.” (Woodrow- T. Wilson)

From the above quote, we can very easily understand what people are doing in the state of Poverty. Poverty in Pakistan has made people care less about moral or religious values. What is good for them is what meets their needs. A large percentage of the population commits various crimes just because they are not able to earn a living in the right way.

  1. Crime and Violence

Crime and violence are the direct effect of poverty in Pakistan. The most common form of trafficking in persons is prostitution (violence), which is largely driven by poverty. According to a survey, most poor men violate their wives for income. They force their female family members to earn something even by selling their bodies. Street crime is also the last effect of poverty in Pakistan.

  1. Health Problems

The poor suffer from many diseases. They do not have enough resources for their treatment. The lack of government healthcare facilities forces the poor not to get treated. A poor family earning only to afford their food cannot spend on medical treatments if a family member is ill. The poor do not get treatment just because they cannot afford it. This is the reason why Pakistan ranks 135 out of 194 countries in the Life expectancy index at birth. In Pakistan, the life expectancy rate is very low, that is, 65 years. While in countries like Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Switzerland, Iceland, etc. it is more than 80 years old.

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  1. Substandard Life

By looking at the above factors, one can easily understand that the overall effect of poverty on the Pakistani society is a life below standard. All over the world extreme poverty occurs in areas where poor health and lack of education prevent people from getting productive jobs, where environmental resources have been decimated or damaged, and where corruption, conflicts and bad governments waste public resources and discourage private investment. All these factors create a cycle of a substandard life. Poverty in Pakistan and the current situation can be related to these reasons.

As a result, the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in Pakistan lack access to essential services and are denied their rights. However, Shifa Foundation recognizes that there are opportunities in the country to achieve social justice, lasting peace and sustainable development. We work so that the Pakistani population can claim their rights and, thus, contribute to creating a just future free of poverty in their country.

Shifa Foundation has been working in Pakistan since 1991 to ensure that its entire population has the possibility to exercise their rights and have access to basic services and economic resources.

Shifa Foundation works hand in hand with local partners, and collaborate with academic institutions, the private sector, and the government in order to improve livelihoods through healthcare services, food and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene. The organization provides humanitarian aid, works to create safer and disaster prepared communities and works for education of the society. The organization is also striving towards Gender Based Violence and encourages underprivileged communities to acquire total social and economic autonomy. Shifa Foundation works for the betterment of people with the help of its generous donors. Donate to Shifa Foundation to alleviate poverty in Pakistan.

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