30m people living below poverty line
ISLAMABAD – More than 30 million people in Pakistan are living below poverty line and earn less than Rs670 per month, former federal minister Dr Attiya Inayatullah said.
She was speaking to a group of development experts at an international workshop organized by Plan Pakistan in connection with child rights strategic planning in Pakistan. Ms Inayatullah said poverty together with non-availability of health care and educational facilities was the most serious issue in Pakistan, and to alleviate poverty “we need to take matching holistic actions”.
There was a need to focus on economic problems of common man rather than the overall economic condition of the country. This would lead to human development, she added. Pakistan cannot accomplish great achievements in the field of human development until all social sector organizations adopted a participatory approach and focused on issues collectively because all these issues were interconnected.
The workshop was aimed at identifying child rights issues and chalking out a strategic plan to counter problems being faced by children in Pakistan. More than 50 development professionals from the United States, Thailand, Vietnam, the Netherlands, Germany, Nepal, Argentina and Pakistan participated in the workshop.
Representatives of Rozan, Family Planning Association of Pakistan, Action aid, Sungi Development Foundation, Save the Children and a large number of social sector experts were also present on the occasion.
Dr Purnima Chattopadhayay-Dutt, country director Plan Pakistan, observed that human development was the area where government, civil society organizations and communities in Pakistan needed to put concerted efforts for the betterment of the children and mothers.
This was only possible through networking because we could not bring much changes while working in isolation, she added. Dr Mushtaq A. Khan, a social sector macro planner, while discussing the quality of life indicators, identified female education as an area where Pakistan was badly lagging behind compared to other South Asian countries.
“In our country, 52 million people are illiterate out of which 30 million are females,” he said. Talking about health situation in Pakistan, he said about 600,000 children died annually due to vaccine preventable diseases and almost 30,000 women died every year as a result of pregnancy-related complications.
The participants discussed various issues encountered by children in Pakistan with special reference to health, education, environment and emotional wellbeing of the children.
They observed that children were the future and by addressing inadequacies in primary and secondary health care services “we could improve living conditions of our children”.
They stressed the need for child-friendly planning at all levels of public and private sector initiatives. For the betterment of children, there was dire need to empower people at grass-roots level, they said.