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The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and Fate of Balochistan

By: Zeeshan Nasir

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is marked every year on the 17th October around the globe to intensify awareness about the eradication of extreme poverty, the present world is mired in.

Poverty has many faces, be it a starving child in Lahore or Turbat or whether it be a struggling single mother crying in a market as her children die of starvation. The examples of paupers exist every in corner of the world where a large number of innocent lives are lost.

I am not wrong to mention that extreme poverty has exacerbated ongoing crimes in the society. The people who are pauper find it tough to survive in the hostile environment of the world where they suffer and die because of being deprived of four times of meal.

Studies prove that not a single day passes without the death of a human due to excessive poverty.

Experts term poverty the parent of revolution and crime, for all the wrongdoings and dilemmas, a society goes through, are the results of poverty. 

A recent study displays the rampant outbreak of poverty in the provinces of Pakistan. Every third person is caught in the “poor” bracket. The estimation shows 58.7 million people out of total population of Pakistan is living below the poverty line.

More than half of the remote population of Balochistan is mired in acute poverty.

The study ranks Sindh, the second with 33 per cent, 32 per cent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 19 per cent in Punjab. The study identifies the 20 poorest districts of the country,16 of which are located in the most deprived province of the country, Balochistan whilst 4 are in KPk. Consequently, the gap between the more privileged and the more backward has increased with time.

However, the Balochistan province still remains away from the train of progress.

Being native to the poorest province of the country whose progress nonetheless is a dream come true,I always ponder about the plight of those Baloch children who sleep without food which is to be ensured by the state in an Islamic democracy like Pakistan, for Islam emphasis the establishment of a welfare state, where all the denizens are ensured their basic rights,i.e, the right to freedom of speech and expression and even food and water which are two necessary elements of life.

A recent study of UN ranked Balochistan province, the poorest province of the world.

Undoubtedly, Balochistan province is deemed to be the backbone of the country, providing most of the natural resources of the country but unluckily the province is the most impoverished one.

Notwithstanding, the Balochistan province is in the spotlight these days because of the new projects based on the CPEC but some citizens die of poverty silently while others are denied participation, and democracy for them yet remains an illusion.

On the other hand, the local people of Gwadar have the first right to receive benefits of CPEC projects which is being denied and we can witness a large number of Gwadri locals holding buckets and die because of the scarcity of water.

The federal and provincial governments should ensure that the people of the area are given top priority in employment opportunities created by the CPEC.

Poverty, without no doubt, results in ongoing dilemmas like abductions, robbing and stealing, drug addiction and other crime related issues. These poor people go for everything to get four times of meal and sometimes are even exposed to drug addiction and become a constant threat to the society.

Some wise said, “When men and women, boys and girls, are denied the right to education, the right to own land, the access to basic services like healthcare and clean water, a fair price for the crops they grow, a fair wage for the work they do, or the right to be part of making decisions that affect them, the result is poverty.”

The first resource the people of Balochistan are looking for is the space from where they can speak and be heard. This is the most essential prerequisite to progress.

To curb extreme poverty in Balochistan, the present government should be committed to tapping the vast natural resources of the province and use them for poverty alleviation in the province.

It is imperative the government must take concrete steps and measures to overcome the acute poverty since this reflects in social, political and, quite often, ethnic tensions, in revolts and in militancy.

 Published in The Balochistan Point on October 16, 2018

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