Poverty in Pakistan, Essay Example

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Essay

Pakistan is not the only country that is faced with the threat of extremism but it often gets more attention due to its geographical location. The extremism has also been on the rise due to wars in which Pakistan has been a forced participant such as Russian invasion of Afghanistan as well as the on-going U.S. war on terrorism in Afghanistan. But another major culprit behind the rise of extremism has been high poverty rate.

There are several factors that contribute towards high poverty rates in Pakistan. One of the factors is limited participation of women in the workforce due to gender stereotypes, family responsibilities, and cultural restrictions on women mobility. It is estimated that women participation rate in the labor force is merely 13.7 percent as compared to men’s 70.4 percent (Ahmad). Lack of women participation reduces the family income and it is particularly hard on women who bear most of the responsibility of raising their children. Another factor is poor healthcare system. One research report found that as much as 65 percent of the poor people in Pakistan suffer from ill health. Poor health means lower labor productivity and, thus, lower average income for the poor population. The third factor is poor market structures which often lead to exploitation of poor workers. It is estimated that 14 percent of poor peasants work at a wage that is less than half the market wage rate (Hussain). When poverty is widespread, it makes it easier for fundamentalist religious elements to recruit individuals who have lost hope and have grievances against the state.

Thus, one of the most effective tools against extremism is to take concrete steps to reduce poverty rate in Pakistan. This could be done in a number of way such as making education more accessible and affordable to poor people, tackling corruption in the public sector, improving markets’ functioning, and controlling inflation.

References

Ahmad, Shakeel. Causes of poverty in Pakistan. 29 September 2012 <http://www.pakistanherald.com/Article.aspx?chk=1&art_id=1545>.

Hussain, Akmal. The question of poverty reduction in Pakistan. February 2007. 29 September 2012 <http://www.thedailystar.net/forum/2007/february/pakistan.htm>.

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