The gap between rich and the poor is widening. While all seems to be going in the right direction in reality the situation is alarming. Good Friday incident at Eissa Nagri, Shadbagh, Lahore in which a mother killed her two children and then committed suicide sent shock waves in the society. Kiran missed the Good Friday service in order to end her agony of living in poverty and also to put to an end her strained relations with her husband who is from Karachi. They often quarrelled as he did not earn enough and had trouble meeting her demands especially for Easter.

She went to her uncle’s house and told him that she will later join them at church. After they had gone to church she first killed her 5-year-old son Matthew and then her 4-month-old daughter Emaan. Then she hanged herself from the ceiling fan. The cold-blooded murder of children by none else than mother shows the decline our society is inching towards.

According to the Multidimensional Poverty Index issued by the government nearly 40 percent of Pakistanis live in poverty. The state has failed to ensure that benefits of so called development trickle down to the lowest level in society. People live in poverty and hardly are able to make their both ends meet. They do multiple jobs and do their best to survive but the survival becomes difficult in the face of facts like there is no price control and basic amenities are difficult to get. The necessities have become luxuries.

On average a person working as salesman in a shop or doing some odd job earns between Rs 8,000 to Rs 14,000. How is it possible for the head of the family to run the kitchen when basic food items are beyond his reach? Almost all the vegetables are around or above Rs 100 per Kg. Then pulses are all above Rs 100 per Kg. Mutton is Rs 800 per Kg while beef is available for Rs 350 to Rs 400 per Kg. Milk is available for Rs 90 or above per litre. Every essential food item is becoming beyond the buying power of common man. No consumer rights organizations are raising voice against what is happening. The apathy of the state and society is criminal. There is no master plan to deal with the issues that common man has to face. Meagre salaries, joblessness and price hike are issues that rarely come under discussion on media. There are no protests on these issues by civil society that comes out in streets to register protests issues that do not concern a common man.

This is not the first incident of its kind. There have been many such gory incidents. Such incidents are not community specific. Whether it the Christians, Muslims or Hindus the people at the lower rung of the society face the same issues and are desperate. The society have all but forgotten about the have-nots. With meagre salaries how will the social system improve? The government itself has fixed minimum wage for unskilled labour at Rs 13,000. Can any government functionary explain how can a family survive with such a meagre amount of money? While the government boasts of the progress Pakistan has made in the last four years and other political parties talk about how they will change the fate of country there is no talk about the necessities of life that have become luxuries for the common people.

Tax defaulters of billions of rupees can get away while those involved in corruption worth billions get permission for medical treatment abroad. But can the common man ask a bank for some short loan at low mark up to celebrate an occasion like Easter or Eid. Perhaps it is an impossible task. It is high time government and society on the whole started on a practical approach to help people living in poverty. Poverty alleviation is possible if done earnestly.