While a minority, born with a silver spoon living in their palatial havelis, luxurious farm houses and bungalows, can talk about the problems being faced by the country such as fake degrees, terrorism, the presidency and target killings on their dinner tables, with generators on standby and water tankers at their disposal, there are millions in this ‘land of the pure’ who survive on one meal per day and it is nearly impossible for them to make both ends meet no matter how hard they try.
They are the deprived class, peasants or the masses that are being continuously exploited by the waderas, chaudrys and seths to work on their farms, factories or houses for ages, that too on meager or no salaries at all.
A recent study sponsored by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation titled ‘The state of food security in Pakistan’ and carried out by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with World Food Programme narrates that Pakistan is a country where 48 per cent of the population is under extreme food insecurity and these figures have doubled between 2003-2009 along with a 14 per cent drop in the food secure districts. Furthermore it hints that soon people belonging to the better off areas in terms of food security would also find it difficult to afford food, reason being the gradual decline in their purchasing power. According to the study Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tops the charts with the highest percentage of people in the poor food consumption category, followed by Balochistan and Fata.
Poverty is a fact. And with the lapse of each year, poverty figures continue to haunt further. But Pakistanis don’t deserve to live in hunger and staggering inequity.
The situation is so bad that parents have started to ponder on the lines of either educating or feeding their children. Some have even left their children at the disposal of madrassas so that they could at least have two meals a day without even caring that there are chances that their children might be brainwashed. All this would only lead to a generation which can’t synchronize with the society around it and recent cases of parents poisoning or selling their own children are alarming signs that something needs to be done. Can any sane person, after all this desperation, gauge where we are headed?
With millions being denied the right to food we can’t expect intellect or intellectuals to flourish but we can close our eyes and be sure of harvesting a crop of fanatics who will not only be attracted towards outlawed outfits whose aim is to destabilize Pakistan, but also be up in arms to lynch, arson and ransack whatever comes in their pursuit to eliminate the disparity and inequity around them.