CAUSES OF POVERTY IN PAKISTAN

The causes of poverty in Pakistan can be analyzed by studying them under the four groups

SYED ALAMDAR ALI
Hailey College of Banking and Finance Lahore

Aug 20 - 26, 2007

POOR GOVERNANCE: Pakistan is a country that has always been subject to poor governance. The democratic government structure in the country has never been proven a successful governing path. It is evident from the fact that although Pakistan has remained under military dictatorship for a period of almost 32 years since independence but the most developing eras have always been driven by the military leaders. The most recent purely democratic era in the country remained for a period of eleven years that was characterized with four general elections and nine governments. All of those governments were terminated with the charges of corruption nepotism etc. Till the end of 1990's governance emerged as the biggest concern for development in the country. Corruption and political instability resulted in gloomy investment climate, lesser attention towards the masses, and severe undermining of the state of institutions and the rule of law.

ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN: The 1990's era is also characterized with slow economic growth. The overall economic growth never went up more than 3% in real terms. Whatever was the growth the dilemma mounted because it was also no pro-poor. The growth in capital intensive industries like power etc., was more than the growth in labor intensive industries like retail, wholesale, construction and service industries.

SOCIAL CAUSES: The long lasting poverty is more a social dilemma compared with the economic. The main social causes of poverty in Pakistan have proven to be:

* The ineffective land tenure system that in reality as advisor to the landlords as how to serve consolidate their holding by keep them in the name of their workers;

* The structure of the society also helps improve the spread of poverty. The powerful landlords always exercise their will while making any decision in the villages. Most of such decisions are against the small landlord which hampers their production abilities and invites poverty among them;

* There is also no arrangement of human resource development anywhere in the country. The farmers and the small business owners do not know how to effectively use their resources and their own personal abilities to maximize their results. The government has also not shown serious concerns over these issues. After a major portion the country's resources spent on defence and debt services the country is left with only a meager resources to be spent on human resource development. A major portion of those resources too is spent of administrative expenditures.

ENVIRONMENTAL POVERTY: Pakistan is also subject to environmental poverty. The dirty water borne diseases are about 17% whilst 47% of the people living in the rural areas do not have access to the clean water. Such diseases in fact cause 30% of the hospital cases and 60% of infant mortality cases.