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Dealing with Pakistan Peoples’ Poverty

The current floods have exposed our society, institutions, and infrastructure

People need sympathetic, supportive, and sustainable help for respectable living.

Fatima Muhammad Qassim Mirjat

The economic conditions for our region remained unstable during the last many decades. Countries in our region are continuously facing natural and artificial disasters. The interference of non-state stakeholders in the region has weakened our social fabric. Social values and norms of society are also changing as the influence of the capitalist mindset increases.

The current floods have exposed our society, institutions, and infrastructure, which are badly shaken and shattered. People need sympathetic, supportive, and sustainable help for respectable living. The need for the local government is felt everywhere as it can play the main supporting operations such as disasters due to roots in the society. The politico-executive nexus is creating hindrances in crisis-hit areas for fair distribution of food, clothes, tents, medicine, and other items of daily use. The capitalist mindset trickled down from cities to citizens, and everyone around the aid institutions considered it a business opportunity. People are buying things of daily use from the Market not because they need them but only to earn a profit when people need them.

Primarily, the capitalist mindset has no ethical rules or humane considerations; the only characteristics of such a mindset are that one must be senseless enough to store everything from cheap tablets for the fever to wheat flour for ‘Chapatis’ whenever these are at high demand. The intention is to get maximum profit by selling at the highest price. The capitalist mindset is spread at all levels of society, from top Businessmen to small Businessmen, and they act similarly. Even in small towns, they have started storing vegetables, fruits, rice, oil, and other daily items for the right time when these have a significant price rise.

Although farmers who cultivate wheat, rice, sugarcane, cotton and various fruits do not benefit from their hard-earned products, an individual with cold storage purchases these items at low prices and stores them for months to earn a significant profit, there is little or no regulations to stop such profiteering. All this is done by our Muslim brothers who accepted Islam without forceful conversion, believed in helping others, and spent a lot of money spreading charity.

Children - Thar - Pinterest
Poverty in Thar Desert – Photo Courtesy: Pinterest

The capitalist mindset is tearing the fabric of our social institutions, which we inherited with various values for centuries and became traditions in our part of the world. The media is continuously changing our lifestyle, and there is no space for elders to speak up against dramas that are becoming mental poison for our families. Glamour and Fashion are becoming our tradition, and brands are burying our traditional dresses. The poor is pushed by children to purchase all such items at the highest cost to match in a society where feeling other pain is no more pain. The class culture was removed when Islam was introduced, getting rigid societal roots. One who cares for others is considered weak, an idiot, and of an expired mindset. The lies and lust have been given new names under communication skills and marketing. The louder one shouts, the wider his message is received. Body language is considered engaging, even if the speech is spiritless.

The only survival in such circumstances is education, which is also getting expensive, and many classes exist for kids in various schools. One can say that a person’s class is determined by the type and name of the school in which one is enrolled. The self-created culture in schools distracts our youth from our values and culture, but no one cares because the same system is producing pupils who will be our masters under international masters who have woven a web of standards in every discipline to divert us from religious and cultural lifestyles. But even then, the only way left for the poor is to become an expert in some discipline to earn a respectable livelihood for themselves and their family. To become an expert, one has to achieve all those milestones experts achieve during the literary travelogue. It is only possible when one is determined to move forward with full dedication and believes in one’s abilities to achieve the targets. Becoming an expert requires a consistent and dedicated effort when all circumstances push down to become a part of the lowest tier of the professions. It is an act of courage to take the right steps in the right direction when all stakeholders are against the individual in all aspects. Once an opportunity arrives, the abilities will appear like a morning breeze, and all pain taken during the academic journey is converted into the pleasant feelings of self-achievement, and one considers himself a self-explorer.

It all starts with school and college education to university level and beyond. All major sources of information should be explored dynamically for self-improvement. The journey seems to be difficult at first, but it is the only way to address the Pakistan People’s Poverty.

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The author is doing a Ph.D. in Education at Islamabad.

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