Recently published ‘Clustered Deprivation’ report by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) has disclosed alarming statistics on poverty in Pakistan. According to the report 58.7 million Pakistanis are living below the poverty line in Pakistan and Baluchistan is the most poverty stricken province. Meanwhile growing extremism and deadly terrorist attacks have deteriorated the security environment thus hindering economic growth and social development in the country.

On the other hand political elite and policy makers, particularly in Punjab and Sindh are busy in celebrating festivals and setting unprecedented records while wasting precious resources, which could have been diverted for poverty reduction in the country. Abject poverty and lack of economic opportunities, is one of the major drivers of growing extremism as youngsters are being recruited by the violence-prone organization.

Hence, need of the hour is to develop policies to redress the incidence of poverty in the country. Pakistan is a country endowed with rich resources and large manpower, thus it has the potential to overcome all challenges, provided right policies could be adopted. All provincial and national governments should formulate policies aimed at reducing incidence of poverty at the earliest. It will not only improve socio-economic indicators but will also contribute to peace-building process. Now is the time to act before it is too late!

KHUSHBOO AHMAD,

Islamabad, April 10.